Kiara Shelia recently took out the time to have an interview with me on behalf of Pop Culture Spin. We discuss her background in modeling, what it’s like balancing work with school, advice for other young models, and more. She definitely speaks with an intelligent and thoughtful voice which you can see when reading the Q&A below.
Pop Culture Spin: Kiara, thank you for your time on this interview. To start, where did you grow up and is this the same place where you’re currently based?
Kiara: I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Williamsburg/Bushwick is where I spent most of my childhood. I’m currently based in Sorrento, Florida.
PCS: Your website states that you’re a “professional teen model.” At what age did you enter this line of work?
Kiara: I entered this line of work when I was 13. I had my very first photo shoot with the creative egg project located in Lower Manhattan.
PCS: Did you have support from family/friends along the way when you decided to first pursue modeling? Also, were any of them concerned about you as a young person entering a competitive/demanding field?
Kiara: Ever since I was young, I was always told that I should get into modeling from family members and family friends. My family always supported anything that I wanted to pursue. My dad was definitely a bit hesitant when I started modeling for the simple fact that he didn’t want me to be seen as something that I was not or make decisions that I would later regret in life. He wanted me to keep a positive image but most importantly just to be happy and content with myself. I’ve also been dancing Ballet since I was 8 years old. I’ve attended a performing arts school since the third grade where there was definitely a lot of competition. I’ve always been in a demanding environment with dance so when I decided to model the competitive field wasn’t much of a surprise to my family.
PCS: What advice can you give to young girls also hopeful of pursuing their modeling ambitions from an early age?
Kiara: One piece of advice I can give to young girls willing to pursue a modeling career is to be strong! There’s so many things that can break you down emotionally and you just can’t let that get to you. Especially when attempting to start your modeling career at a young age. There may be things that you won’t fully understand just yet having some sort of guidance is always good.
PCS: How do you manage juggling both a professional life and still being a student?
Kiara: Juggling both a professional life and still being a student is not easy at all. Education definitely comes first in my household however, sometimes there’s that once in a life time experience that you just have to take because it may never come again. Being based 30 minutes out of Orlando is a bit of a struggle for my modeling career because it’s hard to find work around here compared to being in New York City. There’s so many places that I want to travel to get myself out there in this industry but of course, school is my number one priority at this moment.
PCS: Would you say modeling has changed your life?
Kiara: Modeling has changed my life for the better. It’s something that I really enjoy doing and seeing the finished product of a photo shoot and how amazing things turn out is truly what I live for.
PCS: Is this a field you wish to pursue as you’re older as well and is it your primary long term focus?
Kiara: It is something I would love to continue to pursue however, I do want to have a backup plan. In case this doesn’t work out for me I want to have something that I can fall back on and make a living out of.
PCS: What kind of feedback have you received from others about your photo shoot work?
Kiara: I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from others about my photo shoot work. Nobody has ever came to me directly with negative feedback. I’ve also received a lot of constructive criticism from my mom and some of my closest friends.
PCS: Is there anything that’s especially important in making a photo shoot come alive?
Kiara: There are so many things to think about when making a photo shoot come alive and I’ve learned these things throughout the many photo shoots I’ve done. Never be stiff! Unless the photographer tells you to hold a pose, continue moving showing the camera different angles. Modeling isn’t about “being pretty” especially if you’re modeling clothing or an object, you want to be sure to show off what you’re working with.
PCS: Are there other interests or passions you have when you’re not doing modeling work?
Kiara: I absolutely love to dance. I’m a very shy person when it comes to speaking therefore dancing has always been my coping mechanism and how I communicated.
PCS: What does the remainder of 2016 have in store for you?
Kiara: 2016 has been an interesting year thus far. I definitely want to work on getting myself out there more and hopefully booking more modeling jobs.
PCS: Thank you again for the Q&A. Before we wrap it up, where can those interested follow and connect with you online?
Kiara: My Instagram is @kiashelia and my Twitter/Snapchat is @kiarashelia. Thank you so much for the interview!