I do not like the term self-made. To use it as a Believer is essentially blasphemous. I am fully aware that my looks, my talents, my personality, and any other attributes I possess are gifts from God. Not only does He continue to bless me, He continues to pour favor into my life. You can have the greatest work ethic, the prettiest face, and know some pretty important people, but favor will take you places that nothing and no one else can.
The opportunities I’ve had in two short years of modeling/ a few months of acting are unreal. I sometimes direct all of my focus towards what I want to accomplish, that I don’t take the time to truly process all that I have. I came into this game as an adult with no experience, no portfolio, no reel, no connections, and no money. I started from the bottom using faith and determination as my fuel. I took notice very early on that my “what you see is what you get” demeanor mixed with my tenacity appealed to people in an industry full of superficial talent.
At 5’5″ (and NOT a runway model) I’ve walked in #NYFW, I’ve modeled for one of the leading cosmetic companies in the world (Make Up For Ever) as well as the Make Up For Ever Academy, and have worked with networks such as MTV, USA, and icons like Spike Lee. Not to mention I’m on the radar of my dream clients L’Oreal and Olay UK.
For me, the best part about having wild dreams is knowing that I am built to turn them into a reality. This time last year I was in no position to be booked for certain clients, let alone set foot in their castings. Yet, here I am, progressing and experiencing monumental moments. I’m not a top model (yet). I’m not raking in thousands every week (yet). But I know that despite the odds set against me, favor has got my back every step of the way. To GOD be the glory.
I started modeling two years ago at age 23 (incidentally, it was the summertime). I was completely ignorant to the industry. I only knew what the general public knew, and even that “knowledge” is made up of myths and misconceptions. I received mixed reviews from people that knew me both personally and in passing when I made it known that this was what I wanted to do.
All of my life I’ve been told I should model, but I ignored those suggestions because MOST of my life had been devoted to soccer. Those closest to me generally described me as an athlete and a tomboy, and they were right for doing so. I had no concern for the latest fashion trends, makeup, or cover-spreads. I didn’t even know #NYFW happened twice a year. But what I DID know, is that the feeling I got on set was equivalent to the feeling I got when I first fell in love with soccer; it was equivalent to the feeling I got when I first started writing poetry at age 10. I had to pursue it… It just felt right.
I decided I wanted to model in the Spring of 2016. I had an epiphany during one of my lectures at Rutgers, and it verified that I was not created to lead an average life. I want to express myself creatively, full-time. I told myself that I would become an established model, poet, and performing artist. I told myself that I would labor and lay the foundation for a future that would eventually consist of financial freedom, and me doing what I actually love while getting compensated for it. (Imagine that).
As I approach my 26th birthday (Nov. 2), I look back at my short modeling career with pride. I’ve grown SO MUCH since my first shoot, I’ve cultivated great working relationships, and every day I dedicate my time and energy towards the #levelup. Shooting for Make Up For Ever has been my most significant booking thus far, but I cannot wait to see what God has in store for my future!
This past spring I attended the casting for Season 2 of She’s Gotta Have It, and much to my surprise, Spike signaled for me to come over to him as I was making my rounds in registration. He asked me what my name was, and told me to get tanner because the season was going to take place during the summer. I laughed and asked “So, when do you need me to get tan by?” He replied “Don’t rush it, just make sure your melanin really shows through.”
I walked away humored, but mainly in awe. I had just been (un)officially casted by the director/producer himself. And not only that, Spike was super nice! He shook my hand and hugged me, and was overall just a really cool dude. I was flattered and excited to be a part of his body of work; I didn’t care that it wasn’t for a principal role. I was anticipating getting my shoot dates right after we had spoken.
Unfortunately, I got into a car accident shortly after that. For those who haven’t seen my previous post regarding it, I almost lost my life; my car was totaled. I couldn’t kick it poolside or lay out on the beach because my wounds needed to heal. THEN, life did what life does, and I was asked to shoot for SGHI not even a week after my accident took place. I rejected the booking, and was crushed. I thought I wouldn’t get the chance to work with Spike again.
Less than 2 months later, I worked with him – twice! And not only that, I was able to chop it up with him at the Levi’s × Spike Lee event in SoHo last week. This picture captured him looking at my scars from the crash. We talked about my lack of a tan, we talked about who I am and what I do, we mutually agreed that I’m better off alive, and I spoke some things into existence. I’m grateful for good men like Spike, and I’m thankful for these moments. Being a creative has blessed me in so many ways. I cherish every single occasion that I can connect with amazing people who love life with their whole he(art).
It is sooooo weird/humbling/flattering to see your work reposted, publicized, or put on display. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this shot by Jeff Butler is featured in The Motor House’s current gallery. The stars were clearly aligned because I was already set to head to Baltimore hours after I found out, and fortunately had the time to visit!
A few months ago I worked with Jeff and make up artist Dana Rhone, and we ended up shooting two killer looks. Dana’s ability to seamlessly bring his intricate visions to life is incredible, as well as Jeff’s efficiency and fluidity in capturing the perfect shots. They enabled me to add two different concepts to my portfolio that gave it a much needed boost and really helped to diversify my evolving collection. We all gained new flicks, but most importantly we established a solid working relationship rooted in respect, admiration, and love.
Baltimore will always hold a special place in my heart; particularly The Motor House. It’s gratifying to know that art is limitless as far as where it goes and who it touches. And to think that this is only the beginning! To Jeff and Dana, thank you for selecting me as your muse. To Motor House, thanks for all of the posi vibes and serving as a home away from home. Until next time guys. I love you!
To my fellow bloggers, be sure to check out The Motor House on Instagram, and to visit their website as well!
After my car accident, I was scheduled to shoot background on two different TV shows, one of which I was handpicked for by the producer himself. When I had to call the casting company and withdraw from my bookings, I was crushed. My left forearm bore gruesome wounds, and my left thumb went from being heavily blistered and discolored to literally shedding its skin. There was no way I could be on set for any type of job because my arm and hand had to heal in order for makeup to be applied, and even photoshop couldn’t save me.
I am pleased to say that one month and 14 days after almost losing my life, I booked my first job back, which doubles as my first background role too! I had the opportunity to shoot the pilot episode for a show that will be airing on the USA Network. Many thanks to Grant Wilfley Casting for bringing me on board and making this possible. I met some amazing people, learned a lot, and fake partied my day away!
In closing, when I stopped stressing and started focusing on what was/is most important (my recovery), everything started falling into place. Never doubt God’s will for your life! He ALWAYS does what is right, even if we feel contrary. I had to remind myself that a set back in our eyes is a set up in His. #BeStillAndKnow
It’s easier this way.
I’ll keep you in the dark for as long as I can,
but it will be your fault when I finally pull the trigger.
I could talk to you about things,
but I would just be reiterating what you already know.
I want to do everything but say goodbye,
but “everything” always comes back to bite me in the end.
We are take it or leave it.
We are all or nothing.
Always were. Always will be.
My life has changed drastically over the past month. I’ve wanted to write about it for so long, but I couldn’t find the right words to say. I still can’t. Writers block is the worst, especially when I find solace in sorting out my thoughts via poetry, or simply jotting down what I feel to help make sense of what is going on in my life.
I realized that sometimes it isn’t about writing the next best piece that perfectly captures the current drama. Sometimes it isn’t about nailing a blog post that reaches the masses. I am finally becoming okay with not knowing how to feel, as well as not knowing how to write about it. How do you guys cope with life when you can’t put what’s going on into words?