I’m the black Bettie Page.
Ask my Mom. This shoot almost didn’t happen. When I first visualized the concept and inspiration it did not include me as the model. For years I’ve enjoyed working behind the scenes with Sadiddy. It’s not that I hate showing my face, I prefer my words to inspire you. But it turns out that you are also inspired by my physical presence (I’m very grateful by the way).
“You know I will have to do this yourself, right?”
This thought popped in my head one day as I desperately searched online for another pretty face. I fought the notion for several weeks. When I ran it past my Mom, she didn’t even blink. Neither did my girl Misha. Meanwhile, I’m like “HELLO I’M NOT A MODEL!!”, but I knew I had to get this dream out of my head. I had to deliver and not make any excuses. Besides, I knew exactly how the shoot should look and feel. I talked myself into it, but the days leading up to it I panicked. What if I can’t pull this off?? I whined. I complained. I bitched.
You have to understand, I respect the artistry of modeling, photography, makeup, and hair. I’m a writer and not any of the things I just mentioned. And let’s not forget I’m not a size 4!
So finally it’s the day of the shoot. I’m with my mom and I feel so much dread, as if I’m going to an execution and not a photo shoot. “Ok get over it,”, my Mom stated simply. And I did. I went to the shoot and took the pictures despite how awkward I felt. I had to remember that it wasn’t for me, it was for the countless women I want to inspire. I want to show you that taking risks means loving yourself to the max and trusting your instincts. By doing this you can never truly lose in life.
I’m not going to front, I still get really really shy looking at these pictures. I know I’m beautiful and I’m proud of every curve and “imperfection” my body has. This shoot challenged me to be bold and unapologetic. So please know if I can conquer my fears and put myself out there in a new way so can you. Trust me, the world is waiting on you.
Creative Direction: LaMisha Readus
Hair and Makeup: Arereal Strickland
Photography: Danny Black Photography
Stylist: Adrienne Gadling