January 18, 2019: First LA Update

Many people have been checking up on me these past several days asking how I’m adjusting, asking how I’m feeling, and asking what my next move is. My answers are redundant. I feel fine. In fact, I feel great. I came here to make art and to make money, so my tunnel vision is on lock. And as for my next move, the answer is simple: to level up. Same as always.

I think that when artists uproot to NY or to LA for a better market like I did, they tend to carry their insecurities and doubt with them. As I evolve in life in general, but especially as an artist, each day I affirm more and more that worrying is for the birds.

I saved, I prayed, I prepared. I cut down my departure date by 7 months. Why? Well, why not? I am unmarried with no kids, my debt and bills would’ve been the same no matter where I live, and my rent would be expensive no matter where I live, because as a model/actress I need to be where the money’s at, and the money is either in NY, LA, Miami, or overseas depending on what market you cater to.

When you pursue something, you have to recognize that what you’re after is for YOU, that’s it. So if what you’re after is for you and you alone, there’s no need to compare your path to someone else’s. There’s no need to compare your looks to someone else’s. There’s no need to compare your skills to someone else’s. Set goals, strategize ways to achieve them, work tirelessly, and stay in your lane. There are always going to be people you feel are overrated or less talented than you, but guess what, those people aren’t thinking about you at all; they’re too busy collecting their checks.

My main focuses as of now are to find my groove, and to move out of my AirBnB into something permanent. Although I want to shoot and start showing my face, I’m in no rush. Modeling agencies aren’t going anywhere. Potential clients aren’t going anywhere. I’m staying the course and looking at the bigger picture. I’m in this game for longevity, not likes, and I know that my future is going to be far greater than anything I could ever imagine… People have been asking me if I’m ready for LA, but I’m starting to wonder if LA is ready for me.

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January 6, 2019: From NJ to LA

38f160a9-1743-4b53-9e21-08d3a13b77a9Tomorrow I embark on the most significant chapter of my life thus far: relocating to LA after residing in NJ for the past 26 years. To many, the move would be too scary to partake in, but to me, it is an exciting and necessary opportunity to elevate as an artist and to come into my own.

These past two weeks have been emotional. I’ve had co-workers throw me goodbye gatherings, loved ones shower me with texts, phone calls, dinners, gifts, just to express how proud they are of me and to tell me how much they’ll miss me. I have been covered in countless prayers from my nuclear family and beyond. I am inexplicably thankful for the host of aunts, uncles, and cousins who have consecrated me and interceded on my behalf. And to my incredible pastor @iamdjyarborough, his amazing wife @ladyfreey, and my remarkable @HOWchurchnj family, I will miss y’all so much I can’t even begin to articulate it.

God has truly blessed me with some of thee DOPEST people. The belief that I could do anything I wanted to do and be anyone I wanted to be was instilled in me since my childhood. It was not only my faith in God and His love for me that fueled this mentality, but the love from my parents who poured into me daily. My circle has always stood by me and supported me and all of my endeavors: from writing poetry, to being a D1 recruit for soccer, to ending up a model and actress, my family and friends have always given me the space to simply be.

I also want to thank all of the amazing creatives I’ve worked with these past couple of years: the makeup artists, photographers, and stylists who not only encourage me, but inspire me, and bring substance to a superficial industry where authenticity is fleeting. I am grateful for every single one of you, as well as the art that we’ve made. I am claiming prosperity and abundance for our brands in 2019. And to the people who follow me who I do not know personally, I will ALWAYS appreciate your thoughtful DM’s, emails, and comments. Thank you a million times over. I love you all, and I will do everything in my power to continue to make you proud.

Babygirl

Let this be the last time that I look at you,
and the last time that my fingertips
trace the places
that yours used to roam.

I am grateful for every inch of our journey.
You were there for me through some of my most horrific moments.
You listened as I detailed the darkest parts of my pain,
and made sure that I would not allow
the abyss to swallow me whole.

You were the source of many smiles,
and the cause of many bloated bellies
from being wined and dined
all of those late nights in your home.

I’ll miss the laughter, and the singing,
and the dancing, and the cuddling.
I’ll miss the sweet splendor of how you
would sex me right to sleep,
just for me to wake up to the most delicate forehead kisses.

You were warmth, and humor, and savant, and style.
You were contradictory, and confusing, and hurtful, and proud.
You were so many things, which is why I felt so many things,
and learned to be kinder to myself
as I unraveled your grip around my heart.

You complicated my most magnificent love,
and I’ve finally forgiven you for it.
My resentment has dissolved,
and the desire to see and speak to you
has finally gone away.

I am now okay
with not having you in my life anymore.
And although our time has come to an end,
my love for you has not.
Thank you, for everything.
Forever, your babygirl.

Back… And trying to be better.

It’s been three months since I’ve posted to this blog. SO MUCH has changed since then. There’s been a lot of good, a lot of bad, and a lot of stuff stuck in between the two. I’ve felt invincible, and I’ve felt powerless. I’ve been excited, and I’ve been scared. I have mustered several months worth of events because I did not yet know how to channel all of my emotions into clear and concise entries… I still don’t.

My head holds incomplete ideas, dreams that are just moments away from becoming reality, and fragments of poems that will one day turn into masterpieces. I’ve been writing significantly less, and adequate sleep seems to be out of reach. And even though the New Year is approaching, it doesn’t feel like it.

I feel myself changing. I like it. I have been spending my spare time getting to know myself better: examining my flaws, my shortcomings, my anxiety, my doubts, and not-so-good patterns of behavior. I’ve excommunicated some people, and distanced myself from others. At such a significant and transitional time in my life, I have never been more in love with myself, and I have never been more trusting of God.

It’s ironic. I have dedicated more time to strategizing and planning for the next few weeks (more on that later), that I haven’t been communicating with God like I should. I often times find myself silently affirming that “God’s got me,” through all of this, without actually taking the time to express what I desire from Him in my prayers. I need to do better. I need to get back to thoroughly praying and conversing with God, and I need to get back into a reading and writing groove. It’s been so long since I’ve buried myself in a book and sharpened my words; I feel myself growing duller. I need mental stimulation and expansion.

I want to tell you guys so much. I want to talk about what happened after I broke up with my boyfriend this past spring, and how my heart has been punctured a million times over since then. I want to share more of the ugly, brutal, and confusing parts of my life; I need to get back to that. I guess I’ve been so busy trying to be who I’m becoming, that I lost touch with one of my main sources of creative expression: blogging. What’s crazy is that a blog is like a diary, and if anyone needs to chronicle their life, it’s me. I mean… How am I going to be able to write a novel based on my life if I’m struggling with posting about it? Better is coming. Just stay tuned.

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.

August 17, 2018: Make Up For Ever

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!

August 17, 2018: Spike Lee

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).