Fashion & commercial Model Bethany Chasteen started her aspirations of modeling in her home state of Virginia, much like many models, with a local modeling agency that aided in her initial comp card development as well as gaining her publishing in the Chesapeake magazine, but moved to New York in 2016 upon graduation to take the full step into her modeling ambitions. Bethany reflects on her beginnings in Virginia saying, "In VA people said I was only pretty, and I wasn't tall enough or slim enough to be a (real) model", however since her step into the New York high fashion scene this models check list has done nothing but grow from accomplishment to accomplishment, with noted moments as being a presenting face for the 2019 MTV VMAs.
During our stroll through the newly built Hudson Yard we asked Bethany,
Q: What was your favorite runway show so far that you walked, and your favorite Editorial so far ?
A : Kith and bronx and banco were probably my favorite shows to walk, but me presenting awards at the VMAs this year was a highlight for me. But Cosmo in South Africa was probably my favorite shoot so far.
As our conversation progressed we asked Bethany about the growing frequency in models traveling to South Africa, "they want us more for their editorials there. like Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan" speaking to the demand and popularity for more black models to feature in the international editorials. Something that seems to be of slow mainstream progress state side.
Q: In your opinion what would you like to see the industry do to push the inclusivity aspect further ?
A: One thing ive noticed is ALoT more brands are feeling the push to include more black models in their brand ads, because the people are expecting and demanding it now. I remember one hair brand that reached out to me to work with them, and they had a lot of models my color, and I even asked if they also featured darker skin models as well. When they mentioned that they do, but I looked and scrolled almost their entire page before seeing only a single picture of a darker skin model...it's okay to feature multiple shades of black models.
Along side modeling we also spoke with Bethany in regards her Sickle Cell, and her initiative to create and spread awareness on the condition and it's effects.
" There are a few other people, and models, I've seen who also have Sickle cell and are working on things. I want to create my own organization, but I would love to work with them as well for the cause".
With sickle cell disease, red blood cells reshape into a sickle like shape. The cells die early, leaving a shortage of healthy red blood cells (sickle cell anemia), and can block blood flow causing pain (sickle cell crisis).
Bethany gave us insight into the days and times where it can interfere with work, saying she is unable to get out of bed from the extreme pain, and has to cancel shoots, but mentioned that it could be much worse and she doesn't suffer as much as others with the same issue and disease. We look forward to sharing her life and story and keeping up with Bethany on her future endeavors both with modeling and her newely developing awareness Organization.