There is quite a story behind this shoot. We were up early ... and started shooting at 4am. The team that pulled it off should receive credit and all the love and gratitude I can muster. They are all truly amazing. The Photographer was non other than Krystal Hills. The Make-Up Artist was Crystal Chism Accessories Stylist: Aisha Simone Molden the Shoot Coordinator was LaToya Shavers of United Enterprises and the Art Director / Test Shoot Coordinator was non other than Porsha Strong.
I told A LOT of secrets in my interview with Big Moe with Curvz Magazine. We've come a long way and there is still quite some ways to go ... I'm still so very Excited about the future just in case you missed the Q & A session here it is below:
Big Moe: How long have you been modeling?
RYD: My first official photo-shoot was September 2012 My first official runway show booking and paid gig came shortly after
Big Moe: What inspired you to become a model and how did you get your start?
RYD: I love sports and I loved playing sports coming up. After sustaining several critical injuries it was decided that it would be best that I hang up my sneakers and softball cleats. To help bring things into perspective I have a metal plate and 8 screws in my right ankle. I have had over 10 injections in both of my knees over 400 injections in my neck and spine as a result of a car accident where I broke my neck – my adenoid process, the spine of my third vertebra, both clavicles, both scapula’s, severely bruised my left lung, broke 6 ribs, skinned my left arm raw etc… Modeling became a way for me to express the multiple facets of who I am – it gave me the same rush when making a defensive stop, a double play and sliding home. I wish I would have started when I was younger.
To be honest its something that I always wanted to do but was never really encouraged or supported by my parents. After I got older I was encouraged by people to try – a close friend of mine (more like a big brother) had a clothing company and he needed me to shoot some garments for him to send off to investors. After that experience another close friend of mine Siobhan Bunn after watching me do a lot of work with another firm in Dallas encouraged me to find other ways to express myself that made me happy and fulfilled. Something just for me – she was so kind as to help me secure a couple of runway shows and even go with me to a photo-shoot. She really helped to make the difference.
Big Moe: What do you enjoy most about modeling?
RYD: This may sound cliché but I love just about everything about it - its is NOT easy and I tend to be my own worst critic but its amazing to see and hear about the end product of photo-shoots, sales and inspiration because you modeled a product.
Big Moe: What are some of the most challenging things about being a model?
RYD: I think one of the most challenging things is building and protecting your brand – first as a business then as a model. Presenting, Projecting and Protecting yourself as a Professional can be delicate dance often in our industry done on a slippery slope. LOL Especially when trying to work with individuals who aren’t always mindful of your brand and image – or when companies/individuals don’t think your skill sets and time is worthy of payment or timely payment – or you’re not properly cited and credited for your work and images/likeness.
Big Moe: Who are some of your favorite photographers that you had worked with?
RYD: They are quite a few, off of the top of my head I would have to say my two recent favorites have been Bode Helm and Krystal Hills (Krystal Rene Photography)
Big Moe: What are some of your goals as a model?
RYD: Good question. Long term I would say – 1) To be the name and face behind some of the greatest brands 2) to be a highly sought after, highly compensated international plus size supermodel I want to leave a mighty legacy and be noted for being Epic on and off the set/runway.
Big Moe: What are some of your interests outside of modeling?
RYD: I have to say that I have come to love Pageantry. I still love sports and working out. I like to volunteer in my spare time with various charities. I love to travel and have random adventures with friends – it makes for the best time. If you haven’t had the chance yet … you should party with me LOL Its an experience. My birthday is a lifestyle lol. I actually like to cook too – I can throw down … I love books – I like to read and share the gift of literacy with children. When you don’t find me doing any of the above I like to tinker around my house (i.e., cover chairs, hang curtains) and hang out with my Dad and Uncles on the Davis Family Farm.
Big Moe: Who are some of your favorite models?
RYD: What a question - Where do I begin …. Grace Jones, Beverly Johnson, Oprah, Tyra Branks, Kimora Lee Simmons, Liya Kebede, Naomi Campbell, Alek Wek, Gisele Bundchen and Kathy Ireland are my top 10. In no particular order. Big Moe: Which would you prefer runway or photo shoot and why?
RYD: That’s a difficult question. I love them both equally. I love the rush and speed of the runway and I love the artistic freedom and time being on set for a photo-shoot.
Big Moe: What do you do to prepare for a photo shoot or a runway show?
RYD: What they don’t tell you is that you are always preparing for a runway show and photo shoot. When you sign on to be in this industry you take no days off – even when you are not being booked. You are always doing time in the mirror to work on your facial expressions and poses. You are looking for ways to take classes to work with Masters in the industry so that you can be your best – it can also include learning how to apply makeup, do your own hair, how to fix and style clothes etc…. you are always working and always working to be your best self. This also includes working out – even though I am a plus size model I still workout and I try to watch what I eat. All these things make a difference on how your body responds to stress, your stamina on the runway and on sets and overall how you look and feel. Sometimes I get called for an opportunity a day or two out – sometimes they are planned weeks or months in advance. I try to make sure that I study magazines and ads, practice self-care and get some sleep (which is my biggest challenge). The key takeaway is “if you stay ready then you don’t have to get ready.”
Big Moe: What was your most memorable modeling moment?
RYD: There have been a few. I think the most recent has been being selected as one of the 12 model search winners for the Ashley Stewart Love Your Curves Tour in Dallas, Texas. I almost didn’t go and then it was a journey getting there. I was the second to last person to walk. Then I learned it was quite a journey for people to find and get ahold of me to let me know that I selected. Being selected came during a difficult time and was just the encouraging boost that I needed.
Big Moe: So what is next for you?
RYD: I thought I was done but this will officially be the last time that I compete in a pageant at this level. This year I am actually going back to Nationals competing under the Miss Plus America Pageant System – I am Miss Loan Star Plus America. Your prayers, support and sponsorship is greatly appreciated. Over the last year I have also been working on a Luxury Sock, Undergarments and T-Shirt line. I am most excited about the socks – these patterns and fabrics are unlike anything that I’ve seen what’s so unique about them is that they are made for people with longer and larger legs. Inspired of course by my own Plus journey and my Athletic family members and clients. Stay tuned into my websites for additional information. Big Moe: What advice would you give to someone looking to get into the modeling industry?
RYD: First, do you research and that starts with yourself. Really evaluate if this is something that you want to pursue because its just that – a pursuit. It will take time and an investment of resources and it will cause for you to be resourceful. Even in the mist of adversity and rejection it demands for you to be gracious. You’ll come to know that you represent so much more than yourself and to be mindless is selfish and a disgrace to the Grace of God that has allowed for us to make it thus far.
Second, I would suggest really taking the time to invest in a quality photo-shoot and some digitals. This is key to be taken seriously and to be booked. Often times that means you will need a team and often time that means that it comes at a price. Eventually you will be want to be respected and paid in full for your time and talents be prepared to pay other professionals for their time talents and expertise.
Third, I would suggest that you just get started. Go on as many casting calls as possible. Submit your photos to as many contest, brands and agencies as possible and when you feel like they’re just aren’t any opportunities for you then go out and create some opportunities. When you are most frustrated and tired that’s when it will count the most. This is an endurance race – keep going, keep progressing and stay humble.
Big Moe: What was the best piece of advice you’ve were given as a model?
RYD: “Model Up” – It was told to me by Chris … one of the first photographers that I ever shot with – he told me that I had it and if I wanted it I just needed to become it and do it. He looked at me and said “Model Up” and he picked up the camera and he started to shoot again.
Big Moe: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you or any shout outs?
RYD: It so easy for us to become distracted and angry by people and life circumstances – I’ve learned that God will either give you or allow for you to experience exactly what is necessary to make you better. We have a choice to transcend circumstances and rise above what ever you feel the mess is and receive and share an even greater message. Work to overcome the distractions – whatever and whoever they may be - if there is something that you want make strides towards that something each and every day. Express your passions and your purpose every single day … soon enough you will see profits and the fruit of your labor. Be encouraged and continue to press forward…Reach your maximum potential and help other people around you do the same.
Praise is a way of Life so of course I want to “Shout Out” God (lol Shout out to YOU #ThanksDaddy), My Church Family (the Historic Mt. Gilead Baptist Church located in Downtown Fort Worth), My Parents (Kathy Maria Hopkins-Davis and Lynn Deil Davis), My extended Family, My National Pageant Director and former and current pageant coaches Mrs. Nanette Watts and Mr. Issac Birdlong. All of the Many Hands that raised me and the countless number of people that have encouraged me, supported me and sponsored me.
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the people that made sure I was notified when I was selected for opportunities. Also would like to shout out and thank all of the people and teams that made sure that I had an opportunity and those powers that be that gave me an opportunity to do something that I love. Thank you to all the people that had the courage to go before me and lay such a mighty foundation. Thank you to those persons that have actually taken the time to stand up for me when I was in unfair situations. Thank YOU for thinking of me and featuring me on your cover and to all of the readers and the “likers” on facebook and “double tappers” on instagram and the “retweeters” on twitter – Together I know we make the difference and will change the world for the better.
P.P.S. Thank you in advance for sharing this post - Also let me know about your next event and exciting opportunity and leave your comments and questions below. I just may answer your question in my next post. I'm also available for consultations to help get your #ModelLife or special event started.