CA: How did you get into modeling?
SL: Tyra Banks and Top Model was always a huge inspiration to me. I wanted to eventually be on that show. I really started around 18 doing College Fashion shows. I used to beg my mom to take me to different agencies to get more into the industry and ultimately get signed. I started from there and I am still going right now.
CA: For how long have you been modeling?
SL: For about 6 years. In my younger years before 18, I needed to go to shoots with my mother (needed a legal guardian present) so it was on and off really. Once I reached 18, I was able to attend more shows/shoots/events to continue networking in the modeling world.
CA: Which models do you idolize?
SL: Chanel Iman and Kimora Lee. I loved how they started young and continue stay consistent with the modeling. I always wanted to start young and not wait until I was 21 to start the process.
CA: Where do you want to take your career?
SL: I would love to reach a position to be able to mentor models. Women who have a body type similar to mine. It is difficult being a more curvy woman when the industry wants skinny women for shoots and shows. I don’t want them to be discouraged by the difficulties the industry presents. I have been there and i would like to provide them the opportunities that I didn’t have.
CA: How do you feel you can help the next generation when body imagery in fashion is so fixed?
SL: I have been told I should be a video model. I do not see myself as a woman who needs to be half naked and twerking in videos. I want to be treated similarly to women of smaller proportions. One time an agency reached out to me and they loved my look. Unfortunately, my measurements in the hips was four inches too much and they decided against it. It can be very frustrating because I love my body the way it is right now.
I don’t feel the need to lose weight to fit something unrealistic. I want to see more women like me on magazines. It is painful to see only one type of women on magazines on the covers and in these shoots. I want to be able to change that.
CA: How do you choose shoots/shows to do?
SL: I do a lot of research. A lot. I research the photographers and shows in which I might be working with before hand. I need to be inspired by the work of who I’m shooting with because you cant just shoot with anyone, I have an image. If I don’t feel the energy or their work will benefit my portfolio, I will probably not work with them. I don’t want to waste my time. In regards to shows, I look for something which represents something positive. I have high standards for myself and I enjoy working with good people to help me out in regards to my career.
CA: I am guessing you wouldn’t work with a Terry Richardson type?
SL: I would not feel comfortable working with him at all. However, If given the opportunity, I would take the appropriate steps to ensure a safe photo shoot.
CA: How would you describe working with the photographer?
SL: To have a good relationship with a photographer you should discuss the idea/concept before the shoot occurs. This allows everyone to come into it with a unified plan on how to execute this shoot in reality. It also makes the shoot run smoothly to create a better product. If you are not on the same page with your photographer, you might not create exactly what you wanted visually.
CA: Do you have a favorite shoots? Why?
SL: The first was this book cover shoot I did recently where I was forced to be outside of your comfort zone. I was embodying another person to express for this book. Great experience and I was compensated for it.
I did another shoot recently when I was coming out of my comfort zone. In most shoots, I’m usually covered up. I rarely wear bathing suits or transparent clothing because I get nervous that because of my body, it will give the wrong idea . I like doing shoots which are tasteful, classy and fun but I also want to show that I am versatile.
CA: What is fun and rewarding about modeling?
SL: I have so much fun taking photos and I love being in front of the camera. I do a lot of gigs pro bono for the love. To build my portfolio and seeing the progression of my career. I get to do what I am passionate about and that is rewarding in itself for me.
CA: Do you get to travel a lot for your work? If so what’s your favorite city that you have visited?
SL: As of right now I don’t travel for work but I am willing to. Since I find my own work, I make sure it is in an area easily accessible. I was able to go to a video shoot for a music video in Atlantic City. Everything was paid for and it was a great experience. I think I would have added that for one of my favorite shoots (chuckles) in the earlier question.
CA: Outside of modeling, what are your interests?
SL: I run. I spend a lot of my time running and studying for MCATs (I want to be a pediatrician in the future). I do andrology research conducting experiments with the cells of rats as well as fruit flies . I also volunteer a lot with kids in my free time at a center for children with certain disabilities. I enjoy building the connection with the kids and I definitely love taking time out too be with them.
CA: What is your workout plan?
SL: As I said before I am very interested in running. In the fall semester, I am apart of the cross country team at my school. I do some runs at night on campus. In addition to that, I do a lot of abs/core exercises. I have all of this equipment because it is important to have a flat stomach. My diet is very healthy and detox to keep my body clean. Water is prevalent on my day to day basis.
CA: Favorite thing about yourself physically?
SL: My favorite thing is my smile. I am always smiling and I feel like it is one of my best assets. I feel it makes me more personable and charming.
CA: What is your ethnicity?
SL: I am African American and my family is from Guyana. I am not 15% Indian or Asian like those other girls. 100% Carribean.
CA: How do you describe your style?
SL: Classy and unique. I don’t have to wear jewelry unless it is necessary. I keep it simple and I think it is very sexy. Heels, jeans, and a shirt or a nice black dress works for what I try to do with my look.
CA: Which fashion magazines, websites, blogs, and catalogs do you visit most often?
SL: Essence is a favorite of mine because it showcases women I want to be like. I think the other magazines I don’t have a strong connection too.
CA: Where do you generally shop?
SL: H&M and Zara are my favorite stores. I feel like if I walk past either one, I will always go inside. Definitely where I go to get pieces to my wardrobe.
CA: Who is your male celebrity crush?
SL: Morris Chestnut and Tyson Beckford (oh lord jesus)
CA: Who is your female celebrity crush?
SL: Gabrielle Union. I love her personality and her acting. I honestly love everything about her and watch all of her movies when I get the chance. Of course, Tyra Banks who I mentioned before as my inspiration is a crush of mine as well.
CA: What do you want your work/portfolio to be remembered for?
SL: It has been a struggle for me to get into modeling. I want to be a role model for girls with similar body types as me who can’t find gigs or get signed to agencies due to their body. The model industry is usually 0 to 4. 10 to 16 is plus size. What about size 6 and 8? I want to create a place for models between those sizes. I feel like the size 6 and 8 are overlooked and it is difficult to get placed in shoots or signed to agencies. Unless it is urban modeling. I feel like it forces us to do things we are not interested in doing just to be noticed by other industry people. I want to fix that problem and show we don’t have to be video models to showcase our beauty.