Happy Monday and welcome to July! As promised we have another #ModelOfTheMonth featuring a model who dances to her own beat. I know not every model is going to be a 5'11" slim runway model so I wanted to give every model inspiration by way of July's #ModelOfTheMonth Kennedylei. Currently, in Miami, Florida this 26-year-old isn't your typical model but has made it a passion all her own. Mixing it with her other talents and world travels she is truly a model who you can see possibilities through. Feel free to follow her on social media Instagram , SnapChat @kennedylei, Vimeo and her website after you check out her full story and photos below!
Was Modeling What You Always Wanted To Do? When You Were Younger Was This What You Aspired To Be?
Modeling was never on my radar as much as dancing and acting. I started as a professional dancer and from there realized how much modeling and dancing coincide. In order to promote my brand, I had to model. I've been taking in as much info and Inspo to understand modeling and become better for the past three years now! I've taken pose classes and relentlessly watch, or rather stalk, my favorite models and photographers on Insta to better understand the business.
I was never put in performing arts school or dance classes as a toddler so I made my own fun. I was a kid with a very vivid imagination, I remember playing with my dolls and acting as if I was in one of those lifetime movies having to escape the "bad guys." Or playing school with my niece and nephew; teaching them how to count and [say] the alphabet! Thinking back now, I was so indecisive. One day I wanted to be a teacher, the next an actress. My mom loved music, old school jams mostly, she'd blast music daily and dance around the house on her days off. I think growing up with the soulful sounds of Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and Al Green influenced me more than anything to have a career in the arts.
What Was Your First Modeling Experience?
My first modeling experience was in Shanghai in 2014. It was for a HardCandy PR group. I remember walking on set, they had an all white French bulldog with truckloads of candy. It was a very cool experience fun and high energy. I was doing action shots as well. It was challenging because there were so many elements for the shoot. The candy shot, the dog shot, the moving shot and the still shot. As my first modeling experience, I feel like I was thrown in the fire but I loved the challenge. I had great direction from the director and photographer, it was not bad for my first ever paid shoot as a model!!
How Long Have You Been Modeling?
I've been modeling for 3 years now, Yes, I'm a fresh in the game.
What Do You Think Your Defining Moment As A Model Will Be? (Seeing yourself on a billboard? Covering Vogue? Winning ANTM? Starting your own agency? Other?)
This year I am focused on modeling more than ever. I want to work on set with amazing and iconic people - hair, makeup and creative directors the whole shebang. A couple of defining moments would be working with Paper Mag, Nylon, Vanity Fair and DKNY, lol just to name a few things on my vision board. I feel like there are so many opportunities for models like myself with unique and distinct looks-- anything is possible!
What Was Your Best Modeling Experience/Memory?
My best modeling experience was working with Dua Lipa on her new music video for "New Rules". They were casting for girls, not necessarily dancers but models who can move. This was a great experience and opportunity to work alongside director Henry Scholfield. It was innovative, edgy and exactly the type of project I'm gearing towards in my modeling career this year. We walked on water, posed in piggyback and embodied flamingos. When I tell you it was one of the most cutting edge sets I've ever worked on! I can't wait to see the finished product!
What Was Your Worst Modeling Experience/Memory?
I did a shoot for a Miami swimsuit brand on the beach. It was one of the worst shoots I've eveeerrr done. Swimsuit models really have a hard job. Trying to look good in the swimsuit, in the ocean while the waves are going crazy and the sun beaming down on your face. All I remember is thinking to myself like please please let's get the perfect shot so I can stop getting beat up by the water! It was extremely unpleasant, maybe we choose the wrong day with high currents but I had
I Noticed That Outside Of Modeling You're An Acclaimed Dancer? How Do You Balance The Two?
I realized at the beginning of my dancing career that modeling was one of my interest as an artist. I took some time to only focus on dancing for the past few years. But now I'm diving into modeling as I spoke of earlier. I can't say it is an easy balance - but it's an exciting. Trying to work as a model and dancer simultaneously is a bit difficult especially for a perfectionist Virgo like myself. I get fixated on one thing and I want to perfect it so I'm still learning how to multi- task! Physically, training as a dancer builds a different physique than training as a model. Right now, I'm working on lifting less and toning more because I do have such a muscular foundation.I've found a new favorite workout--jump rope! It's a full body toning exercise. I'm working on making myself look taller, playing around with poses and consistently recreating myself! I'm not sure if there is a recipe for balancing the two, but I think what's most important is understanding and knowing your market and direction! Knowing I'm not a 5'11 fashion model I work on projects and shoots that portray my individual style and vibe!
Do You Think You'll Ever Stop Modeling In Favor Of Another Career?
I have so much to do and so much to learn.This is only the beginning for me, so I don't see myself stopping modeling at all. I'm so eager to move forward and to continue to learn how to make the best of both worlds with dancing and modeling.
How Do You Want To Define Yourself In And Out Of The Modeling World?
In and out of the modeling world I'd define myself as the new age of modeling but also a real life home girl. I think a lot of my supporters and followers dig me and my content because I'm personable and relatable. People connect with me on different levels, whether it's because we're from the same hometown or we've met in my travels! I try to connect with everyone I meet and even those I've never met on a real level. It's really hard to stay true to who you are, and in life, in general, that's my main objective. Continue to grow and develop as a person, artist and professional but also stay true to me.
How Do You Think You Would Be As A Person Today If You Never Got Into Modeling?
I think modeling enhances the person I am. I've learned so much about myself as a model. I've started taking better care of my skin and hair due to modeling and learning so much about makeup. What looks good on camera etc. I'm way more hands on with my modeling. I often develop my own shoot content, styling and makeup. I think if I never got into modeling I wouldn't have an outlet that allows me to discover and create beyond being a dancer. I enjoy being a creative artist in any spectrum of the industry and I'm so happy to have found a new passion for modeling that continues to change and challenge me.
Who Is Your Inspiration In The Modeling World?
I have a few modeling inspirations. I think what Rhianna has done with FentyPuma, is GENUIS. I ultimately look up to Tracee Ellis Ross, SlickWoods, Bella Hadid, and I'm currently obsessing over Vashtie!
What's Your Favorite Quote?
My favorite quote of all time is "Where there is no struggle there is no Strength." I've overcome many battles but its help me become the woman I am today. And I wouldn't trade it for the world!