When did you first fall in love with the idea of modeling and when did you believe you could begin a professional career with it?
I first fell in love with the idea of modeling when I was in college (Elizabeth City State University). It is funny because I actually never thought about modeling until someone else saw something in me (just from playing around). Before then I was told quite a bit I should but I never gave it any thought until I was in a friend of mines dorm (his name is Traonte) and we were joking around. I started walking and he kept telling me, with all seriousness, that I should model, that I have a walk and that I should join thee modeling troupe, Vike Nu. I played it off however, I decided to attend the tryouts and I made it. Fast Forward to my first performance, I was nervous wreck before the show. I got extremely silent and I was shaking but, when I hit the stage something took over body. I genuinely didn’t feel like myself. I couldn’t see anything but I could hear everything, the claps, the screams, my name being yelled through the crowd and that is exactly when I knew I could do this for real.
As far as modeling professionally, I did not believe I could begin a journey as such until within the last year. Covid really forced me to simply think and reflect. I was steadily praying to God for something that I can do that I will enjoy, use to inspire, and bring in more income. I was having multiple conversations with my best friend about what is it that we can possibly do and then it dawned on me one day…..DUH! MODELING. That is something I was passionate about, I enjoyed every minute of it and I did it WELL! So, I decided to get back into it and pursue it on a different level than before.
How do you navigate Social Media and the societal pressures of the modeling industry as a model in 2021?
When it comes to the pressure of maintaining oneself in any light, you only have two options; lose yourself trying to conform to social media and the pressure of the modeling industry or use it as fuel and inspiration to maintain your individuality. It’s genuinely all about your mental and emotional state. In order to successfully navigate social media and the societal pressures of the modeling industry you are required to have thick skin and possess the ability to remain who you are in your uniqueness. For me personally, I build myself on not taking anything personal because once you do that, you make yourself vulnerable to the pressures that are thrown your way. One of the best life lessons my dad ever taught me was “You either bring people up to where you are or they’ll bring you down where they are” and I plan to make sure I pride myself on just that and if no one is willing to accept me for me and my uniqueness….oh well!
What are three things that are a MUST that you carry with you on model calls?
My 3 must haves would be my heels (of course!), wipes and (got to really think about this only been to one casting call)
What does your dream collaboration / partnership look like? This could include brand sponsorship, spread in a magazine etc.
My dream collaboration would be a spread in VOGUE magazine. That is my FAVORITE magazine. In my opinion their editorials are like no other. The statements they make through fashion, the stories their photos tell. I always feel the essence of what is being captured in each photo.
How do you stay true to yourself and your image when there are so many influences in the fashion/ beauty industries?
I stay true to myself by being confident in my own creativity and I work through inspiration and not imitation. When I look at the many influencers in the fashion/beauty industries and their work, I respect their craft but, with a boundary. That boundary is simply loving their work enough to be inspired by it but composed enough to not want to imitate it or steal anyone’s creativity. Also, anything I may use as an inspiration, I definitely put my own spin on it to make it ME!
Tell us about your non-profit organization and what inspired you to create it?
So I am looking to start a non-profit entitled Blossom Girl, which will be an organization that empowers young girls to be exactly who and what they want to be in life while ignoring the societal standard of what a female should be or be-like. Blossom Girl will be about being comfortable with who you are and living your life in an unregretful manner. It will offer tools, knowledges and resources to young girls that will gear them up for what’s ahead.
The Inspiration behind Blossom Girl is myself. I feel that I am a Blossom Girl. One who once thought she wasn’t going to be successful because of the obstacles she faced after graduating college. One who once cared about what people thought. I went through depression and weight gain, feeling like I wasn’t going to make anything of myself. Everyone around me would often tell me they’re proud of me but, behind closed doors I didn’t feel that way about myself. I felt that because I was once a person who allowed myself to be vulnerable to societal pressures. Then one day, I just decided to get myself together; hold myself accountable for the things I could control and try not to stress about the things I could not. I want to give young girls opportunities and a safe haven that will allow them to go through life without having to conform or become vulnerable to what society says you should be.
What has been your favorite photoshoot thus far in your career? Tell us why, and walk us through what that day and the process looked like for you!
Well, I am just getting started so I’ve only had 1 photoshoot however, genuinely that one means everything to me and will always be special to me. It was very sentimental and near and dear to my heart because that photoshoot was me getting back to myself. It was me re recognizing who I am and what I am capable of, regaining my confidence.
The day of that photoshoot was a little stressful. Things tend to always go wrong before they go right. That day I broke a nail (which was my fault) so I had to go get it fixed, my nail tech was so busy I had to leave, get my makeup done and go back to the nail salon. So, now I’m running late and I’m stressing. I hadn’t had anything to eat and of course we get 5 minutes from Georgetown, DC and hit stand still traffic which puts me behind even more. Finally get there, I change my clothes (in my sisters truck). Shoutout to my sister and my best friend for guarding me! it’s hot, I’m rushing, they’re telling me to CALM DOWN! We finally start shooting, initially I am extremely tense and I am overthinking EVERYTHING! I know for a fact I got on the photographers nerves, I kept asking him does it look right, did we get it? (because I am a perfectionist). While I was changing into my second look, the photographer says he feels sick. So, we kept asking him if he wanted to just stop the shoot and be done for the day. He said no. I’m not going to go in detail but this man did what he had to do and got right back to the shoot. Shoutout to @saydrewittmedia! He could’ve canceled on me mid shoot but, instead he kept going, he was EXTREMELY patient with me, his vision and direction was supreme. I really am grateful.
What is a quote or song you live by that inspires you daily? What advice can you give young women entering the fashion industry?
I have a couple of quotes and songs I live by ,that get my through each day but to share one of each; One is the scripture Philippians 4:13- I Can Do All Things Through Christ That Strengthens me. That is my favorite scripture. I say that scripture before I do anything such as photoshoot, job interview, just anything. A song that inspires me is Tasha Cobbs- Confidence. It reminds me of who I am and whose I am. I listen to that song every single morning to get my day started.
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