It’s been a while since I wrote about what’s been up with my participation in Nike Toronto’s community-building creative initiative FMFounders. So much has happened within this family of artists, designers, and creatives. I can’t share some things just yet but I’m happy to be able to share this. Recently Nike enlisted dear friend and photographer Nilly and I to spearhead an experience for all the others based on our skills in visual media. Keep reading to see tons of pics and see more about our photo session / family reunion.
On July 11th, Alessia Cara turned 20-years-old. But instead of making herself the focus, she gave us a gift. She released the music video for her third single “Scars To Your Beautiful” on Cosmopolitan.com. And in an instant, the world met a handful of individuals that while different in appearance, share similar stories of triumph over differences. And I was one of those people.
If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know that right now I’m in Miami. What I haven’t mentioned yet is that right before I left, I was working on a special project for Toronto West Queen West boutique Smoke + Ash.
It came about in the most organic way. A follower of mine on Instagram (hey, hun!) tagged me in a post S + A put up calling for a model to “Be [Their] Beyoncé”. Without even knowing what that meant, a day or two later I sent them an email and a few days later I was meeting with the store owner, Jaya, and the rest of the production team. Soon after Jaya told me they had chosen me to be the lead in this secret project celebrating their one year anniversary.
You’ve heard the song a hundred times by now. You’ve seen the behind-the-scenes snapchats and preview pics. But what you don’t know is that just out of the range of the camera’s fogged up lens, I was standing there on the set of Rihanna’s “Work” music video featuring Drake.
If you follow me on Instagram then by now you know that I was given an amazing opportunity to walk the runway this season at Toronto Fashion Week. This is one of the coolest things I’ve been able to do and I really wanted to share that with you guys in a meaningful way so buckle up and enjoy my detailed firsthand account of my trip into Hayley Elsaesser’s “Carnival of Curiosity”.
It all started on Instagram, as many creative endeavors in my life do. Fashion designer Hayley Elsaesser and I both follow each other on IG and about three weeks ago I saw a post of hers announcing a casting she was holding. About a week prior the Spring/Summer 2016 Toronto Fashion Week calendar had been revealed and she was again announced to be presenting a collection on the runway, this time set for Tuesday, October 20th. The little gears in my head started turning as I read the phrase “No height requirement”. ‘I should give this a try,’ I thought.
On Tuesday, October 6th I arrived at her newly opened retail space in Toronto’s Bayview Village Shopping Mall. Hayley greeted me warmly and handed me a look to try on. I quickly put on a blue sleeveless top with a pink crystal ball print and slim cut metallic fuchsia leather pants. She asked me to walk for her across the length of the retail space. I thought back to the one time, several years ago, I had received a runway lesson from a former model. I was nervous but decided to give it my best shot as she recorded my attempt. “Let’s try one more look,” she said, handing me another wardrobe option. This time I slipped into a leather-textured dress with a metallic rainbow finish. Its fitted bodice and flared skirt ending above the knees made me feel like a walking burst of color. Again I made my best attempt at a runway walk. When it was all done I thanked her for her time and she seemed like she was interested in having me in her show.
“Do you remember where we first met?” Cameron Wilson asked me in the midst of our photoshoot. I thought about it for a moment. I knew we had gotten acquainted through Instagram but where had we met in person? I remembered him spotting me a few weeks prior on the patio of this little restaurant on West Queen West. “Java House?” I replied, unsure of my answer. “No, three years ago at the Coco and Breezy pop up shop at Jacflash,” he said. “Wow! Really?” I exclaimed, surprised he remembered me from our chance encounter in 2012 when NYC eyewear designers and twin sisters Coco and Breezy held their event at a now defunct fashion boutique. I couldn’t believe I had crossed paths that long ago with one of the co-founders of Toronto streetwear brand and internet darling, Untitled & Co.