Yesterday was NUTS! But in all the right ways.
A friend ask me to round up some models for a photoshoot. This wasn’t that uncommon of a request. Afterall, I try to stay involved in the Pacific Islander community (Heiva San Diego, PIFA, ect..) and sometimes photographers or organizations ask me for models with that Island girl look or even those whose looks scream EXOTIC. You know. Long hair, curvy thighs, smile like the sunrise, bla, bla. It just so happens that a lot of my friends have that look so sometimes all it takes is a few texts and I have a whole lineup for a photoshoot or fashion show. But this time was different. I opened my phone, read the text, and felt a little numb as I deciphered the words that felt like a foreign language. ” A couple of hundred photographers…ooh and by the way, we want you to be one of the models.” Hm. Maybe auto text is being evil as usual?
” Are you sure you want me to be a model? ” For 200+ photographers!! But no, it wasn’t auto-text’s evil tendencies. They really did want me. This was either going to be magical or tragic.
I tried not to think about the amount of people who would be staring at me like an object and instead about the cause. Photo 360 San Diego is a collaboration event with the San Diego school districts for aspiring professional photographers. I liked thinking about that. Imagining teenagers with sweaty hands clutching their cameras like it was the Holy Grail, looking straight into my eyes through the lens that they must have cleaned every time they picked it up like a loving caress.
Then it was Wednesday. I showed up at San Diego City College at 7am with my models in tow, our faces clean of makeup with that its-too-damn-early-in-the-AM grudge in our eyes. It didn’t take us long to wake up though because from the get go we were in it to have fun. I was led into a room with other models, make-up artist and hair stylist, and Fashion Designer extraordinaire Ugochi Iwuaba. Speaking of fashion; THE CLOTHES! OMG.OMG.OMG. When I saw the clothes they had set aside for us I was an equal amount of thrilled and terrified. Terrified that I wouldn’t fit in ANYTHING ( or if I did, the possibilities of what one slight bend would mean- PPPFFFT. Rip right down the middle! ..oops) and excited that I was given the opportunity to wear such fly pieces while photographed by the masses. Because let me tell you. When I am dressed to the nines, my makeup done, hairs did, and I’m looking HOT AS HELL FIRE, well then that’s exactly how I’m going to feel inside. FIRE. That outside layers you throw on, they aren’t just garments. They’re infinite. A shield, a collaboration of your creativity, the expression of your soul, simplicity, cleanliness, they keep you warm, they can accentuate your ever curve, they can hide your every curve, clothes can outline your character and beliefs by the colors and schemes you wear. Or maybe they can be just as good as a burlap sack. NOT! clothes can be everything and when I look good on the outside I feel good on the inside. That’s why when Madame Ugochi pulled out a tight sand colored skirt that went a little past my knees and a vivid green and orange open shoulder top with sleeves that hid my arms in all the right places( Thank God!) I was sailing on cloud nine. If that isn’t an occasion to be HAPPY about then I don’t know what is. I felt like a DIVA, like a dream. Madame Ugochi’s pieces were just so flyyyyyy. Think African Queen meets socialite or as she says “Luxury fashion with an Afro twist.” Yeah.. I felt BAD! and I don’t mean that in a about to rob the bank way nor a Debbie Downer. Ha! No. I slipped on my Steve Madden Nude stilettos and took a peek in the mirror. Superwomen, you ain’t got nothing on me.
My Hair was put up in a Fauxhawk by the ever so creative stylist and studio owner Sy Calac (@esoterichair Eso Hair Salon-16160 Highway 76, set 303, Pauma Valley, CA). It only took him about 15 minutes for the master piece that had once been my hair and was now the embodiment of DRAMATIC. I loved it. Every single strand of it! For makeup I was done by the every so beautiful and lovely Stephanie (INSTA personal- @Flyystephj Makeup- @stephjstyles). She hooked me up with a matte black lip which I was nervous about in the beginning but by the end of the day had crazy thoughts that involved a sharpie and the words longer lasting. Talent on talent on talent.
Then I made my appearance. My first shoot was with another model, Ivan S. Harris ( @Ishthesocialjournalist @ivansharris) which was interesting…but above all HILARIOUS. We were instructed to play the couple scene. Thankfully the layers of makeup I wore had duel purpose: Make my skin look radiant and hide how red I must have been. We went back and forth from corny prom poses to there is no world without you poses. Very intense and very relaxed..All under the scrutiny of young photographers. Their giggles made me giggle.
The highlight of the day:
The interactions between model and photographer. They weren’t use to posing people and giving directions to models but they were trying and the reason why I appreciate that so much was because when I was their age..I didn’t. I didn’t try to do anything. I just cruised by on autopilot letting life come at me full speed. Didn’t make an effort, neither did I know what I wanted to do. There were so many things I could have done if only I had tried and that makes a huge difference in whether a person’s satisfied in life and if they find happiness(yes, sometimes you have to go after it). So the ultimate shoutout goes to the aspiring photographers and anyone else who’s making an effort for a more meaningful life; Some who will try and some who will try even harder. May the force be with you;)