#ModelOfTheMonth : iyanna
It's #ModelMonday ! Since we are in a new month that means we have a new #ModelOfTheMonth. I am proud to present to some and introduce to others Iyanna! She is not only a great model but she is a true artist in many senses of the word. Below is my interview with Iyanna, a 24-year-old queen based out of Miami, FL. Follow her on social media + look over her work throughout this interview!
Name: iyanna James-Stephenson
Location: Miami but a woman of the world
Facebook: Iyanna The Model
What Inspired You To Start Modeling?
My mother always recognized my sisters and me as beautiful children that people would awe at. She tried to get us into modeling as adolescents but it was very hard to put the time and energy into the profession being a single mother of three. When I went off to college, I decided I wanted to take it more seriously. That led me to pursue it on a professional level several years after.
Who Is Your Idol (Or Idols) In Modeling?
I barely idolize anyone, but I draw inspiration from almost every black model who I see represented in artistic creative shoots or mass media, especially those with an Eclectic or edgy style. Of course, I receive inspired poses, lessons, and looks from amazing African Diasporic idols like Grace Jones, Alek Wek, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, and Slick Woods.
Is Your Drive/Passion The Same As When You Started Modeling? Why Or Why Not?
My drive has definitely changed and I think much of it has to do with growing my confidence as a model. When I first began modeling, it was not the easiest to see an abundance of personal, internal intrinsic value within myself. Many times, models, as well as people viewing models, sees value only in so far as the model is making money from popular designers; where the question of if they are worthy is being sourced only from a white and Eurocentric standard. I have grown my confidence to know my value whether I make it on the cover of Vogue Magazine or not. My passion has grown as I have developed my drive to go harder because I own that space to push myself. My possibilities do not start or end with one area to flourish, my possibilities are endless.
What Are Your Goals For Modeling (Agency signing? Starting your own agency? Other?) And Have You Reached Any Of Them?
My goals for modeling are to creatively direct shoots that I will get paid top dollar for; this would allow me to live off of my art while controlling my story and my expression. One of my main goals is to collaborate with artists, designers, stylists, and photographers who I love and admire. I also would like to be a designated Cover Girl, on the cover of Vogue via any country, and walk as an angel in a Victoria Secret Fashion Show. I want to be in multiple shows in Miami Fashion Week, Miami Swim Week, New York Fashion Week, Harlem Fashion Week, Philadelphia Fashion Week, Seoul Fashion Week, and model in major runway shows in London, Paris, and Milan. I would like to possibly sign with an agency that actively advocates for black models in New York City and eventually create an agency of black models in Miami.
What Was Your Best Modeling Experience/Memory?
I have a lot of great modeling memories. One of the most amazing was when I was hired as an independent model for a wedding studio in Cheongdahm, Seoul, South Korea. I was finishing up my year in Changwon at the time and took a train up to Seoul. The photographer scheduled my hair and makeup session from a local Korean beauty company not far from the studio. I woke up very early in the morning to go get makeup done, which was one of the most special, pampering experiences I had ever received. Afterwards, I was transported with the makeup artists to set up at the studio. I was unaware that they were hired for the whole production day as well but they stayed, set up and touched up my face throughout the entirety of the photo shoot. Once I got to the studio, there was a sponsored bridal company who provided three wedding dresses for me to model, all of which were unconventional and super gorgeous! The whole team stared at me in awe, catered to my every need, and gave me so many words of positivity and encouragement that I felt like a celebrity. The photos were stunning and the production, as well as the process, was absolutely amazing.
What Was Your Worst Modeling Experience/Memory?
I have a couple of bad ones. One was taking photos with amateur photographers when I first started to pursue modeling and I opened an account on Model Mayhem. There, I came across a couple of men who took photos of women just to get close to them. They didn't have any artistic talent or vision and I have been creeped out by a couple of male photographers who made me feel uncomfortable because they showed me too much sexual attention when it was unnecessary.
What Do You Hope To Leave As Your Legacy?
I hope to leave authenticity, realness, eccentricity, innovation, and dynamic living as my legacy. To push my image of not only a model but also as a renaissance woman; challenging the notion of "just a pretty face."
What Other Outlets Have You branched Into From Modeling?
I have not branched into anything from modeling but I have involved myself in other things besides modeling. This includes writing, dancing, acting, organizing community projects, hosting and producing events, promoting, and creating a conscious connection.
If You Could Sum Up Your Modeling Experience In Three Words, What Would They Be?
Unfathomable, still progressing
What's A Quote You Live By?
I would rather display a philosophy which is: There is just as much reason to sulk, be anxious, sad, unhappy, ungrateful, and pessimistic as there is to be the opposite. One of those choices literally creates a negative physical reaction and induces a series of bad experiences. If there is enough reason to frown as there is to smile and you'll be better because of it, then live your life in light. Live your life in positivity. Live your life in beauty and optimism. You can only be better because of that. Peace only comes from happiness.