To this date, this collaboration is my favorite of all time. It pushed me in new ways and the outcome I felt was fantastic. Since its been a year, I wanted to re-share this post, to remind everyone to accept challenges and experiences as a way to better yourself!
Original Post Date: May 10, 2017
I met Jovanna at the ELOQUII grand opening party. She approached me and instantly told me she wanted to work with me on Curvysta Magazine, an online publication run by Jovanna herself. I was flattered and obviously accepted her request, and 2 months later we were shooting from her home studio in Ellicott City, MD, with stunning dresses by Gatsbylady London, that Jovanna had coordinated to have sent just for me. I was stunned at the dresses and the shoes, and the fact that they had been sent just for me....I was just over the moon.
Bianca, the pro makeup artist behind F.N.2.S. Artistry, and also my very supportive friend accompanied me to the shoot for makeup- and stayed the entire time after my makeup application. Bianca not only slayed my face, but stayed for the shoot and did touch ups throughout, and even helped with styling. Thank you, Bianca for being wonderfully talented.
Before shooting, Jovanna started to tell me more about her background. Man, has she been places! I was impressed with her involvement in the curve community, and passion for the industry. The moment we started shooting, I knew the outcome was going to be amazing. I was completely comfortable behind Jovannas lens, and the way she worked inspired me to do my best. I consider this shoot to be educational for me, as I learned so much from working with Jovanna, but it was also fun.
When I got the link to the Curvysta feature with the pictures, I was speechless. I couldn't believe my eyes. That was me? I've never in my life had a better picture taken of me than the ones Jovanna took on Saturday. I was so impressed by the quality of her work and her ability to capture me in this setting. I'll be honest, I've read the feature over and over again, and each time, I am more humbled that we created something so beautiful. I'm so proud of this work, and this will forever be a highlight of my blogging career.
I was so inspired by Jovanna, I wanted to share her views that I saw on Saturday, with all of you as readers. Below is a Q&A with Jovanna Reyes of Curvysta Magazine.
Q & A with Jovanna Reyes of Curvysta Magazine
Q: What made you decide to pursue photography?
A: I was an art major in high school. I wanted to be a set designer before I attended Hofstra University but once I entered college, I was talked out of pursuing the Arts. It wasn't until I was in my thirties, that I had the nerve to take a photography class at a local community college. I took the first basic course but it was so slow moving that I purchased books and began learning on my own. I decided to start pursuing it full time a few years ago.
Q: Describe yourself in 5 words.
A: Loving, creative, natural, forthright and when I'm not stressed out with the kids, fun!
Q: Where do you find your inspiration?
A: I read. I am always reading. Amazingly, the Wall Street Journal is one of my favorite places for inspiration. Their Arts section and magazine are amazing. Museums, nature, my kids, textiles, Michaels craft store. It could be the smallest thing, like a feather that can be the impetus to an entire creative direction.
Q: What do you consider to be the highlight of your career?
A: I'm not there yet. I'm looking forward to it. I haven't experienced it yet. It doesn't mean I haven't accomplished anything, I just feel like there is something greater ready to happen. I'm always preparing for it.
Q: If you could photograph any celebrity, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
A: Maya Angelou. Her books changed the course of my self confidence in high school. I still have the first book I read from Ms. Angelou. I never returned it to the school library. I'd sleep with it and carry it everywhere. It was my safety net, like a stuffed animal. I attended a high school where they were fewer than five percent people of color. As an African-Caribbean Latina, I didn't understand society's treatment of me. I was a beautiful girl with very low self esteem. It took a lot of rebuilding. Her books were the start of my new foundation.
Q: What does creativity mean to you?
A: Freedom and intelligence. The freedom to allow your brain to function naturally and create something new. The intelligence in creativity is the ability to apply it into something tangible. My brain responds to visual cues. It drives my creativity whether in words, images, people... It's how I explain seeing you at Eloquii's grand opening. I saw you and immediately pictured you in Gatsbylady London. I pictured an entire photo shoot before I even introduced myself! My brain is always connecting dots. LOL
Q: What is your favorite thing about photography?
A: The satisfaction of seeing your creative thoughts processed from your brain to your fingertips and the end result being the image. I don't have to wait hours to see what were in my thoughts and what I imagined. I'm impatient when I'm creative. This allows me to have results quickly. We shot Saturday and had the results completed by Sunday night. You can't compare it to any other art form. I used to paint watercolors and I was great at it because I took my time with each stroke. I don't have that time anymore. Maybe when I retire!
Q: What is the best advice someone has given you and how did it shape you? What advice would you give to someone starting in the fashion industry?
A: Start now! Why are you waiting? AND if you're going to do it, do it to the best of your abilities and the highest level possible. It's the best advice I received. I practice it with my children as well to the point where I drive them insane. My oldest daughter as a preteen wanted to be a fashion designer, so I enrolled her in an enrichment program at SCAD when we lived in Georgia. She was 13 and everyone else was over 18. I told her to lie about her age in case anyone asked. It was worth the effort. It was an excellent experience for her. My youngest loved playing with slime. I gave her the tools to start her slime business (now defunct since it was outlawed in the school!). She now wants to blog. I tell everyone with a dream...go for it! I don't care how old you are. Just do it and avoid mediocrity.
Advice for starting in the fashion industry...you must love it. If you're going to design, go to the best school possible and intern with the best and talented designers. You must be humble enough to learn from the best. If you're going to model, what's your niche? Where and what are the opportunities? Practice your craft. Do runway for any show you can possibly do. It's a time to practice your craft. Watch behind the scenes videos and see how the top models move. They are fluid in their movements. If you don't have it, figure out how to get it. I always advise future models to take ballet. It helps in so many ways. The main thing as a model, designer and photographer is
to listen. If you can't listen, you can't learn and you won't grow. As a photographer, I'm still learning, seeking advice and growing. At my age, I still have mentors. It doesn't hurt to always want to learn something new.
All photos by Jovanna Reyes
Makeup by Bianca Perez, F.N.2.S. Artistry
Hair by Illusions of Georgetown
Blonde in the District