Groovy x Black Steel

My motto when it comes to modeling is, “I work to create.”

What I mean is, whenever I book a job – and get to work for the amazing clients I’ve been able to work with- afterwards I’m looking into ways to create my own content. If you take a look at my portfolio Wilhelmina Portfolio, a majority of it features shoots I paid for myself, fueled by inspirations I came across. I love working , but I’m usually under the directives of a creative director. I can create with them, but only in a vacuum.

With this post, I’m going to give you a peek into my inspirations and thoughts for my latest shoot.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been really into Stevie Wonder’s album, “Hotter Than July”. Even though it came out 36 years ago, it’s brand new to me. Rocket Love and Lately, along with Master Jammin’ are my favorites. What struck me the most was the album cover.

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But the mood of the whole album, led me on a journey to find my groove. It led me in the direction of other artist like Teddy Pendergrass, and Prince. Listening to their music and researching their style during the period of the songs I was listening to weighed on me heavily going into this shoot.

With this shoot, I really wanted to find my lighting. Some models have such prominent features that lighting is not a problem for them, but for me, I found that some lighting makes me look they way I see myself in the mirror, and some is not so flattering, and others can over exaggerate. I wanted to really focus on that with this project. I looked up other models with my skin tone, and size, and I looked through as many pictures of them I could find and see how different lighting worked on them. I was inspired by supermodels, Orraine Barrett, Adonis Bosu, Armando Cabral, and Claudio Montiero.

 

As I looked over my book (which I do several times a week), I started to question, do I look expensive? Am I worth a $15k or $20k campaign? In my opinion, not from the pictures. So again, I did my research and figured who does book those campaigns, and whats the difference in their portfolio. (Now, before I go further, I don’t dictate my creations on the hopes it’ll land me a massive campaign. I’m realizing that comes through opportunities and mostly digitals. With that being said, campaigns do give me inspirations i.e. styling, lighting, props, etc.) I came across Lono Brazil’s book. His pictures just look expensive. Styling, locations, grooming, everything just looks awesome. He was a heavy influence on how I wanted to move and present myself with this shoot.

Finally, for styling, I wanted to keep it in-line with feeling expensive. Simple styling. Clean. Not a lot of colors, nothing contemporary. Classic pieces, that a five year old and a 55 year old could wear, and they would both look handsome. I was inspired by J. Crew, GAP and Todd Snyder’s respective campaigns. I love the styling from J. Crew. Head stylist, Gayle Spannaus does a great job for them. Then, I recently discovered, Todd Snyder. I love his simple pieces and the way he presents them in his latest campaign.

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After weeks of digesting, researching, reading, and listening to music, I was able to set up a shoot with Miami based photographers, Erick & Elliott. This is my third time collaborating with them, but only the first time on my own with own ideas (the first two times were test shoot through my agency, which I still paid for, but had very little creative control *rolls eyes*) I had the help of another person I’ve worked with before, Waina Chancy, as my stylist. We came together and created my latest creation, Groovy Black Steel.

 

Chaplin St., S.E., Washington, DC

093     I’m from the Chocolate City, also known as The Nation’s Capital. I was born and raised in Washington, D.C. Not Northern Virginia or Maryland, but Southeast, D.C. I went to Plummer Elementary, Sousa Middle School and Dunbar Senior High School. During my youth, crack cocaine was at an all-time high and we were ranked the #1 murderous place in America.

I am not proud of these accolades, but I am proud to have made it out and to see the transformation of the city. The only current shame I have is being a fan of the home football team. I am 202 through and through. Even to this day, almost 10 years since I’ve had a DC address, I still have a 202-area code on my cellphone. For this shoot, I was able to collaborate with Emmanuel Monsalve (@emmauelsmonsalve on IG) and even though we shot it in Miami, the grittiness reminded me of the back alleys I used to play in and the concrete jungle I came from.

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The Best After Bad

Like a lot of Breaking Bad fans, Ive been searching for something to supplant my tv entertainment fix. Luckily for me its football season and I enjoy Seinfeld and Friends re-runs on TBS. But here are a few of new favorite shows that will suffice until something shatters my cable world again.

 

American Horror Story

This is my most recent fixation. I started out as less than thrilled a couple years back when the show first premiered. I only used to watch it because it used to air before another show I enjoyed. But i recently caught up on season 2 on Netflix and of course i ran through it in about 48 hours. I look forward to catching up on the 3 season, currently airing every wednesday at 10 on FX

Mad Men

Don Draper was neck to neck with Walter White as my favorite anti-hero-hero until I lost track of Mad Men. This is another show I discovered on Netflix and ran through the first 4 seasons just to catch up. Now Im waiting and anticipating its return this year.

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Scandal

Like a lot of guys, this is my guilty pleasure. This was a show that i only watched because of my fiancee. At first, I was apprehensive because I enjoy a show with great script writing, not just sensation. Well I guess thats the cure for average script writing, great actors and a heavy dose of Scandal, pun intended.

The Walking Dead

AMC has produced some of the most groundbreaking television shows. Some may argue that HBO has a better line-up, and I can’t refute because I refuse to upgrade my cable to include HBO and Showtime programming. Breaking Bad, Mad Men and Walking Dead are all original programming which takes ordinary men and put them in extraordinary prediciments. The Dead has lost some of its luster but its still enough for me to sink my teeth into every Sunday.

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*I would add the League and Its Always Sunny but of course they had to move to FXX