I want to switch gears to modeling for a moment. This career has, of course, helped in various ways, from the economical to the platform it has given you to share your story. But are there aspects about modeling, the practice, that has helped you through the trauma?
I love this question because of the uniqueness. Modeling is most definitely a form of art because you’re contributing to work that is beautiful. After coming from an ugly past, I've thoroughly enjoyed being able to almost escape at times through this art form. But I do have to say that it's only been short-term help. Again, pretty is an inside job.
What is your favorite part about modeling?
I've loved meeting amazing people throughout my years, and I’m thankful for the doors it has opened for people to not just see my pictures, but hear my voice and my heart.
You say that you often feel like a fraud in this industry. How do you overcome this imposter syndrome, something many of us deal with?
I did feel fraudulent for a while there, but fraudulent within myself. I was constantly covering up so much that I didn't actually get to know who I was! I knew what I looked like, but I didn't know me. I sought therapy, and I took a pause on modeling for a while to really get me together. For one year, I stopped wearing weave, cut out all chemicals from my hair, didn't wear make-up, didn't date and really focused on the much-needed uncovering process. This allowed me to discover MelRo, and, though she wasn't perfect, I liked who I found. I vowed to no longer be a representative of me, but actually ME.
I love that. What is your advice to young people who feel trapped in the foster care system, who feel like they will never break from the physical or mental chains and lead fulfilled and successful lives?
My advice is this: Remember that there has never been a storm that lasted forever. In other words, where you are is not where you're always going to be, so please do not lose hope. Try your best to ask to be connected to mentors that will help you get to where you want to be. Make a vision board, and put all your dreams and goals down where you can plainly see them. That way, on the days you hurt, you'll be reminded of where you want to go – and if you just hold on, you can get there. Know that your past, or current state, does not have to dictate your future. You can and will turn it around, but only if you want to.