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I'm a very weird yet interestingly fun person. Laughter is a must for me, so I do it quite a bit. Horror films, serial killer documentaries, and forensics are all so much fun for me. So I'm a very happy person that enjoys pretty morbid things. I believe I'm unique in many ways and one being that I potential in almost every aspect of entertainment (dancing, singing, modelling, acting, etc.).
Yolanda, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Model?
My passion is entertainment. I live, breathe, eat, drink and sleep entertainment. I love everything about it, and I see a future for me in entertainment whether it be Modeling, acting, singing, comedy, etc. I aspire to be beyond great in my craft to the point that I can be of great assistance to people younger than me that are dealing with negativity in the industry. When I say negativity, I mean the things that can break you down. I want to be the person who can be looked at and make them say " I can push through this". I started modelling basically because family always said how they thought I would be so good at it. At family gatherings, they would always say how photogenic I was and things like that. I told my parents that I wanted to go for it and I did.
Who is your inspiration in life Yolanda? How do you keep inspired?
My inspiration would have to be my family and friends. They never allow me to give up, no matter how down I may be on myself. They're honestly my support system. The way that I keep myself inspired is by working hard and thinking of them. Thinking of them makes me think of all the shopping sprees they deserve and free time to just enjoy life once I get to where I'm destined to be.
We all make mistakes Yolanda; we wish we could take back. Please tell us about time being a Model; you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
A lot of people always tell me that I shouldn't regret this because of how young I was when this occurred, but I know it could've been handled differently. I went for my first meeting with an agency when I was about 12. By the end of the meeting with the agency, I was told that I didn't have a look to be a model. That broke me down to the point that I didn't attempt to do anything with modelling again till high school. I let that one critic break my spirit to the point that I stopped doing what I loved and turned out to be great at. I think it's always a mistake to doubt yourself and to let anyone bring you down. There will always be a million No's before the Yes's come full throttle, so DON'T GIVE UP!
Yolanda, when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Model, how do you go about prioritising your clients’ needs?
I always write everything down in my notes of my iPhone as well as the dates. That way I'm always able to know what I'm doing and when I'm doing it. I also make sure to keep everything out and in the open for my clients. My availability has to be known so there won't be any surprises for my clients. Surprises are never good for business.
Please tell us, Yolanda, about a time you had to be very strategic to meet all your top priorities as a Model?
There are always times that you'll never forget and this was one of them. I barely got any sleep and didn't get to eat anything other than half of the sandwich that I packed for a "Just in case" moment. I had a casting call and a shoot back to back (like literally 30 minutes after the other). That meant I had to change and take a couple of bites of my sandwich in the Uber on my way to the shoot. The shoot lasted 4 hours and then I got called last minute for a group beach shoot. My portfolio can always use more building up, so I did it. My strategy was cramming everything I had to do, even though I was exhausted. I felt accomplished at the end of the day and crashed as soon as I got home.
Yolanda, please give us an example of a time when you were able to persuade someone to see things your way at work successfully.
Photoshoots can be a breeze sometimes and other times not so much. I found myself at a photo shoot for two models, and I ended up being the only one there. The photographer was freaking out because his whole concept was pretty much demolished at this point. I told him that I'd stay longer than I was asked to give off both personas. I ended up being three different wigs and had a great time. The pictures came out great.
Yolanda, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Model. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you just want to share with everyone. What is it and why?
My proudest professional accomplishment as a model was walking in my first runway show in Chicago. I was so nervous during the audition, but when I got the callback, I was so happy. My walk was horrible at first then I improved so much, and by show time, I KILLED IT!!! I gave it all that I had ever been as nervous as I was. It was a big stepping stone for me because being in front of the camera is one thing but runway a whole other ball game.
Yolanda, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
I have a friend who wanted to start modelling and asked me for some help. She wanted me to direct her shoot. I came up with so many ideas, from her hair to the background for the shoot. It came out so great, and I felt so accomplished. I got to wear a different hat for the day, and it worked out great.
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Model?
I would tell them to take all the criticism you can get because it builds character. Criticism comes in two forms: positive or negative. Both are helpful. Positive criticism allows you to get better in the areas you lack in, and negative criticism allows you to build strength. Don't let anyone make you want to give up on what you feel/know you're destined to do. Keep your composure during everything you endure(Professionalism is extremely important) and know that it will make you better no matter what. Lastly, be the best you could be.
Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state what type of collaboration you are looking for?
I would love to work with designers, photographers, and other models on fashion, abstract and projects in general.
Kwabena Kumi @kwabenakumiphotography & @Nickfstop