Q: How did you start modeling
And with your current experience how would you suggest other aspiring models begin and get into the industry of modeling
A: I moved to New York to model and was lucky enough to find a group of people who would do a test shoot with me. From there I used the photos from that to build a portfolio and visited/emailed every agency until I found one! I would suggest that other models build a portfolio with tests and solid digitals to get the interest of agencies!
Q: What's something you feel is important for black models to know working and aspiring in this industry of fashion and modeling that will differ from their white counterparts
A: The industry is seeing this really large diversity push which is very exciting. More and more we’re seeing natural hair and darker skin tones on really big runways! That being said, there is still adjusting to be done in terms of handling black hair and makeup sometimes. There’s always this fear when you step onto a set and have to ask yourself, “Will they know how to do my hair?” “Do they know how to match my shade?” I have 3c hair, so I can only imagine how much worse it is for girls with kinkier patterns. It can be really frustrating. On one hand, you don’t want to be seen as a “diva” because you spoke up about your makeup not matching. You don’t want to be known as “difficult” because you told someone how they were handling your hair was unacceptable. On the other hand, you’re about to be a part of something with a limitless audience, it’s important to look your best! There’s a way to say things that brings attention to your discomfort without being too aggressive. That balancing act is a saving grace.
Q: As a model of color what's your take on creative staff on shoots and sets, and do you have advice for other models based on your response and experiences?
A: Creative staff on shoots and on set should hire people who confidently know how to work with models of every color and hair texture. I think sometimes people say that they do because of ego, and as a result the execution falls flat. If your not actively making a case to be more inclusive (and make your subject feel more comfortable) then you shouldn't be working in this Industry".
Q: What's your goal an focus as a growing model
A: This question is such an existentialism trigger for me. This is my livelihood and my career and I stress about my trajectory every hour on the hour. I want to expand to international markets so that I can gain more exposure as a model. I just want to be a better more versatile me, because I want my work to show how reliable I am.
I’ve also always wanted to be a mental health advocate. It’s really important and I think the more people talk about it the less stigmatized it is. Ironically, I’m not quite ready for that yet so I’m working on it. There’s just a lot going on!
Q: What is something most people don't know that you would like them to know about you aside from modeling ?
A: I want to act really badly. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but it seemed really unrealistic. Additionally my self-esteem was criminally low. It still seems unrealistic but I don’t let “probability” dissuade as much. I take classes and I really enjoy getting that impulse out. I think I start a new hobby every single day just because I have so many ideas and they weigh very heavily on me. I write them all down and try to work towards two of them a day. It makes me feel like I know what I’m doing when I’m reality I don’t know.