VOLATILE MAGAZINE FEATURE
Please provide a brief intro on yourself and your brand name as a model.
Hi, my name is Mariama Diallo and I am an actress and model from Guinea, West Africa. I have been modeling for almost 8 years and have been blessed to grace campaigns with brands such as Savage Fenty by Rihanna and Marc Jacob Beauty. I have also had the privilege of being featured in magazines such as Vogue and NYLON. I am in the upcoming Disney film “Jungle Cruise” starring Dwayne Johnson which is set to come out this fall. I am based between Los Angeles & New York City but currently self-quarantining in Los Angeles.
What has been the immediate effect to your modeling career?
With regards to Film and Fashion, nearly everything has stopped. Nobody is physically shooting, which for a lot of us implies that our main source of income has also stopped. However, because of how social media has connected us, we are able to collaborate with brands in new ways. Even though no one is having physical shoots, I have seen numerous models teaming up with brands to uplift everybody during this time. It's been incredible and motivating to perceive how us creatives have been to connect during this time.
How do you see peer models in the U.S and internationally being affected, and are the effects the same?
What's going on presently is unquestionably felt everywhere throughout the world. It is important for us collectively to remain at home, stay safe, and do our part. I travel regularly for work therefore a great deal of my friends/peers are everywhere throughout the world. I have spoken with models from London to South Africa, and they've shared that a great deal has changed all things considered. I think the fundamental need currently is doing our part to remain at home and prevent the virus from further spreading.
What are some pointers you can give to fellow and younger models on how they may best be able to maximize their downtime to prepare for when things are back on track?
I think this is a great time for models, particularly new models, to research and learn more about the industry. I would advise them to study an agency signed model’s portfolios and work on their poses as well as angles. Additionally, multiple agencies are having model searches right now, so they should definitely go submit.
With a large portion of the world being online, it is the ideal time to put yourself there. I also understand that this time is hard for many individuals. It's important for models to prioritize their mental health and wellness. With all of the pressure on social media, I genuinely believe that it is essential to do what brings you peace during this time.
Do you think things will go back to normal business as usual or do you believe this may inspire " slow fashion " over fast fashion trends?
To be honest, I have no idea what is about to happen. With everything that has changed, it's difficult to anticipate what will occur in the up and coming months. I do know things will get better. Only time will tell what the long term impact will be.
What is your insight on how modeling agencies may be affected by this pandemic?
Social distancing has caused a lot of modeling agencies to readjust the way they pitch models to their clients. Everything changed so fast, which put pressure on agencies to think outside the box and find fun virtual approaches to make the connection. Multiple great new things have come because of these changes; ie live takeovers, workout sessions, partnerships and more. There's no way of knowing the long term impacts of this, but I have a feeling that the community formed will last beyond social distancing.
More personally, what has been one of your biggest struggles you have overcome working your way to where you are now in the industry?
The biggest battle I had to overcome was my fear. In Guinea, things are extremely different than they are in the states. My culture is strict and old fashioned; women marry at a younger age and modeling is definitely looked down upon. I was scared that my family would reject me and that by pursuing this career, I would be putting my mom and family's reputation on the line.
I couldn't let that stop me. I saw the art form in modeling/acting and knew that I could make an impact, showing my community that it is okay to pursue creative endeavors. Looking back eight years later, I have no regrets. This career has helped me take care of my mom as well as my family back home.
To get to where I am in my career, I had to learn early on to know myself and remain true to who I am. Acting and modeling has given me a platform to make a difference, this is only the beginning.