I want to see going forward, I want to see way more high end brands and brands that have been around a long time work with more diverse models and not just the same models
I would never say being a black girl hurts me, in any regard because I wouldn't change my skin color for ANYONE but I can't say for bookers....
I think New York Model Management just had so many models and girls on their board, I couldn't get the attention or focus, and alot of times I felt like I was in a box.
Georgia-born Epiphany Alayah Lee began her modeling career at the age of 16, and since has been a feature model for brands like Tom Ford and Apple with fashion photographer David Sims and stylist Carl Templer. But her rise as an industry model and continued rise hasn't been an easy road.
During our sit down with Epiphany she reflected on her early days as an aspiring model, being strung along throughout the city of New York from Atlanta to open calls disguised as top model agency meetings by her then aspiring model agent named Demanti, before catching the attention of her mother who decided enough was enough. Upon graduation from High School Epiphany decided to make the life changing decision to relocate to New York where she caught the attention and was signed by request Models.
I : How was your experience with Request models
E : my first agency in NY for a year an a half I didn't get anything, and it was easily the most toxic Agency I've ever been with, which is why they aren't around anymore. I've had Booker's tell me i'd never have a career in modeling, I wasn't tall enough, my name was too ethnic, a whole bunch of things to discourage me ".
Like most models, Epiphany spoke to us about her time and insight dealing with the personal insecurity and self-esteem battle from the industry.
"I would always compare my self to other girls - like if I was Skinner or if my hips were smaller I would get more opportunities, but even at my skinniest things still didn't change ".
From her bumpy and stiffled road at request Epiphany moved over to NYMM where her experience and work grew but her opportunities were a type cast of her potential and that Alayah was more appealing and a better sell to brands, than an ethnic name like Epiphany.
" I think New York Model Management just had so many models and girls on their board, I couldn't get the attention or focus, and alot of times I felt like I was in a box. I wanted to do more Editorials and fashion but I would be told I was too short or my hips were too big, but I'd see white girls with the same measurements get the same job or they would be placed on the board for jobs. So I actually stepped away from modeling for 2 years and just got signed with Silent this year(2019) - and they are completely different than past experiences. Everytime I'm there It's always love it's always positive and I get ALoT more focus and jobs like for Rebecca Taylor. "
I : What's your thoughts on opportunities for models of color going forward, what would you like to see ?
E : Opportunities I want to see going forward, I want to see way more high end brands and brands that have been around a long time work with more diverse models and not just the same models. Like Victoria Secret not having a show this year. Like why did rihanna HAVE to create a brand just to make everyone feel included. You telling me if you not a size 4 you can't be and feel sexy ? The world doesn't work that way
Among the littered past of powerful and eye opening lessons that many aspiring models can learn from Epiphany Alayah Lee has a promising future of opportunities as she currently is one of the Veri Shop feature AD faces throughout New York and currently is going through the process of writing and remastering a new single as a music artist.
I : Has being a model of color helped or hurt you in the industry
E : I would never say being a black girl hurts me, in any regard because I wouldn't change my skin color for ANYONE but I can't say for bookers.
You telling me I can't do something because brands aren't asking for it or asking for a "black model" ?
"I believe agencies will honestly be obsolete cause of apps and self booking Servies popping up. Cause the industry is changing Soo much people really just want to book the models and not Deal with the politics of the industry as much"