Resiliency: the ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.

As a model, a lot of times, family and friends and strangers alike, think that I got to this position by chance because of my good looks. Some think I’m doing it up spending thousands at clubs with beautiful models of the opposite gender. Obviously, some think I get paid way more than I get paid because they see me in GQ, or in a commercial. Nevertheless, I am blessed and in a position to actually travel the world, meet extraordinary people and provide for my family doing something I love. I enjoy going in to work every chance I get, but for every glamourous picture I took there were numerous obstacles I had to overcome.

Along with doubters, haters, sacrificing fried oreos or waking up at 5 am five days a week to workout, I’ve had to overcome many obstacles. I would like to share two of them.

January 2011

2011-01-14_04-33-43_629 It was a year after graduating from college. I was living at home with my mother, after 5 years of living on my own in college. It was about a week before my birthday, and I was moving to Miami a couple weeks later. So I decided to celebrate. Fast forward several hours to about 3 am in the morning. After a great night of drinking and partying with friends, somehow I run into the giant fist of a 6’6 325 pound offensive of lineman.

March 2014

20140325_191216_LLSLast March, my lady left me at home all alone. Instead of throwing a party, I decided to learn how to slice sweet potatoes. I took a trip to Target and purchased a mandolin. While idiotically trying to slice a hard, raw sweet potato, I accidentally sliced off a chunk of my right index finger all the way down to the tendon.

Five months after the five 5 stitches in my upper lip dissolved (and giving up fried food for 8 weeks) I signed with Wilhelmina Miami. After I received a skin graft, which was taken from my groin and placed on my index finger, my campaign for Perry Ellis was featured in ESPN the magazine, I shot a Sandals commercial in St. Lucia and was featured in a Grey Goose ad and a Jack Daniels ad.

These incidents in my life were very dark moments. I was sad. I was frustrated and I didn’t understand why it happened to me. I’ve had other moments of depression and doubt but every time I’ve had a choice; to stay down or to get up. Life will punch you in the mouth (in my case, literally). It’s up to stitch yourself up and return to form. It’s up to you to be resilient.

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