What was the inspiration and vision behind the shoot?
I consider myself an “artist” and I love to collaborate with other artists as often as I can. I have always wanted to produce a photo shoot with black women in a high fashion environment. I wanted to do something with the everyday woman and essentially put her on a page of Vogue.
What statement did you intent to make and what was the purpose and significance of the nudity?
I’m really not trying to make any statements. This is just something I wanted to do and I hope that other people enjoy it as much as I did. I wanted to do a nude photo shoot like this mainly because I have never seen one done this way with real women. We often talk about things being aspirational … I believe this shoot is something attainable. You don’t have to be a model to be beautiful.
What does the female body/nudity have to do with hair and the curlBOX brand? How do they correlate and coincide?
The curlBOX brand is a lifestyle brand centered around our crowns (our hair). It’s all about freedom with us.
What do you want your readers to take away from the images? How would you like the spread to be received?
I’m not really the kind of person that wants to dictate what you think about something that I’ve done. Yes, I’m human and whenever you are an “artist” and you put something from your imagination out to the public, you hope that they receive it the way that you dreamt it but that’s not always the case. Art is always interpreted differently by each person. I’ve struggled in the past with criticism but over time I have learned that what people think of a person or product (good or bad), has everything to do with the critic. I always say: Take compliments and criticism the same – lightly.
What would you say to critics that may say the nudity is unnecessary and objectifying women? How will you address negative feedback?
I don’t really have anything to say. I recently read a Kevin Hart interview and I think he nailed it: ”But, I’m such a grounded guy so, I understand where it comes from and I understand why it happens. The public’s job is to judge.”
What were your worries while planning the shoot?
I don’t really spend a lot of time worrying. I have worked in a fast-paced work environment for several years so I can do many things at once. It’s always my job to manage all of the moving pieces or manage those that have been hired to move pieces around. Working with various personalities and making sure everyone is happy (enough *lol*) and ON TIME is always the name of the game.
How did you chose the models, photographer, make-up artist and hair stylist?
I wanted the models to show a range of styles, bodies and beauty. I’m often intrigued by certain features on women of color. I am often blown away by striking facial composition or body proportion or sometimes its a simple as the energy a person has. I wanted to have all of those women shot by my all time favorite photographer, Itaysha Jordan.
When I started laying out my vision board about the look and feel of curlBOX I had researched tons of photos and I fell in love with a photography style. I found out that the photographer was Itaysha Jordan and we talked over the phone last Thanksgiving and then we met in person over dinner in New York earlier this year and then I told her about my idea for the nude shoot and then she just nailed it. Dante Blandshaw is one of her best friends and he’s just sick with hair period. Alexis is an awesome young makeup artist and she has amazing hair and we’ve shared her pic on instagram a ton so I couldn’t wait to have her be a part of this shoot.
Was it difficult to get folks to agree to do it?
Believe it or not, only one person said no to doing this.
Not only did you produce the shoot but you also served as one of the models. How did it feel posing nude? Did you have concerns about professionalism and perception being curlBOX’s CEO?
People are often insecure about the way that they look, naturally. While we used hair and makeup to make this a high fashion shoot, I wanted to show that this is what I look like. This is what WE look like. As the CEO, I am still an everyday woman that experiences many of the same issues that women of color experience. I don’t think there’s anything unprofessional about these beautiful photos.
During the shoot you made a very poignant and unapologetic statement about curlBOX being for black women. Can you elaborate on that? Also, from a marketing standpoint what kind of responses does that statement warrant?
I mentioned that in interviews I have been asked if this is a service for black women and I said that I have responded with the answer of YES. I’m not ashamed to say that I created his for women of color and my hope is that all women with curly hair can enjoy the experience. This is created with women of color in mind.
Any last words?
I had an absolute blast at the shoot and can’t wait for people to experience it!
All The Ladies In The Place With Style and Grace
I have to say, this was one of the best experiences of my life. I’m going to do a video about it soon. And I’ve got to give myself some credit. I have come a long way since I first opened up about my weight issues… and now here we are. Thank you all for being so supportive. I’ve gotten nothing but love.
Be kind to yourselves ladies. I am learning how to more and more everyday.