Carlton Collins (provided)

What inspired you to be a model?
Modeling gave me the confidence to step out my shell and helped me to be comfortable in my own skin. It was the one thing since the age of 13 that was a hobby of mine that kept me out of trouble — [that and] having a loving mother that made sure I felt good about myself. She always was saying, “You need to be in front of the camera, boy!” So, I blame her.

What has been the most challenging aspect of the modeling industry?
I would say the most challenging part of the modeling industry is feeling you have to be 100 percent perfect physically, feeling you have to look a certain way. I struggled with my body, beating myself up thinking what I have to offer isn’t good enough and having to face people judging you and picking you apart has been one of my major struggles and setbacks with pursuing modeling. This time around at almost the age of 26, I have grown a lot and am confident enough to express that and to not let that get in the way and just keep pushing and working for it, willing to take any destructive criticism and making it into something positive.

What keeps you motivated in such a competitive industry?
Honestly, I have been an inspiring model since the age of 13. And I have no shame to say that. This is just the very beginning for me believing in myself for once and not what others believe. There are millions of beautiful inspiring models out here going after the same thing. I had to know that I am unique and have a lot to offer. When you believe that and not worry what other people think of you and what someone else may have that you don’t, it keeps you motivated, wanting to continue to give the best of you possible.

What kind of preparation do you go through before a photo shoot?
I would say from any photo shoots I have done, I love to eat. But I make sure I try to eat clean as possible, drink plenty of water… I always make sure to take a breather, meditate, [and] get all my nerves out and tell myself I got this. I make sure that I just simply have fun with it. Just always make sure you are always giving your best shot.

What advice would you give someone who wants to be a model?
My advice to anyone that wants to be a model is to enjoy it and be passionate about it. Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back; just go for it. Always believe in yourself. Also, don’t believe if your a certain age it’s to late. It’s not. Yes, I wish at 17 or 18 I would have taken myself and dreams more seriously. But, sometimes you just need that time to grow and come into yourself. I see models and actors these days just getting noticed in their 30s. It’s never too late. It will happen for you when you are truly ready for it. [You] just have to work hard and keep God close always.

What other areas of the entertainment industry would you like to get more involved in and why?
I would love to get into acting. I learned at the age of 15 during my sophomore year that I loved just being able to be a completely different person, acting out all these different scenarios either it being comedy, which would be my favorite because I am naturally a silly person, but also all genres I would be interested in.

What do you feel it takes to become a successful model?
The number one thing I believe it takes to be successful in the modeling industry is being confident and being a boss about what you want, making sure you are taking care of yourself physically, staying in the gym, being fit, also taking care of yourself mentally, as well, to not let the no’s affect you and discourage you. But letting that push you even more, and allowing yourself to be around positive people that also believe in you.

Where would you like to see your career in the next five years?
I would honestly have to say it would be dope to be known [as] that guy that was just a regular dude that overcame his insecurities and made it happen, and to have inspired others to go for what they want. Known as a model and actor, and maybe other hidden talents I will come across in the next five years… We’ll see. I have always wanted to be on the cover of GQ magazine and Men’s Health, and be featured in a few hit shows like “Insecure.” So, if anybody knows Issa Rae, have her hit your boy up. A man can dream, right?

Yvette Caslin

I'm a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.