“We have now many women from St. Louis doing it large on the worldwide modeling stage. She’s up subsequent.”
ST. LOUIS — Aaliyah Buford, 17, a senior at McCluer South-Berkeley Excessive College graduating subsequent month, stated she spent a number of alone time final yr throughout final yr’s COVID-19 lockdown, reflecting on her profession targets.
Coming from a theater background, Buford was used to being on stage and performing. Nevertheless, she stated she all the time had an curiosity in modeling, and others instructed her to pursue it.
About eight months in the past, she stated she responded to an open casting name she noticed on-line hosted by native modeling growth and administration firm, Mom Mannequin Administration. Its web site says the corporate discovers aspiring expertise, grooms them professionally and manages them with hopes of presenting them to varied companies for potential gigs and advert campaigns.
Buford’s mom, Archilla Buford, stated she was hesitant at first when her daughter expressed curiosity in modeling.
“I didn’t actually have excessive regard for the trade. I felt prefer it was an trade that presumably took benefit of individuals’s desires and I didn’t actually wanna go down that path,” Archilla stated. “I got here to a spot the place I felt like each younger individual ought to have the chance to pursue their desires and see the place it takes them.”
Buford, who’s presently represented domestically by Mom Mannequin Administration and a world mannequin signed with Subsequent Administration stated her first casting name was blended with many feelings starting from pleasure to nervousness.
“I believe going to the open name moderately than submitting a web based submission was the most effective determination I made,” she stated. “Modeling is about presenting and showcasing your self. Having that have be my introduction into the trade and placing myself on the market was actually exhilarating.”
Husband and spouse group, Jeff and Mary Clarke, who personal and function Mom, stated their eyes had been instantly drawn to Buford the second she entered the room at their open casting name.
“She’s lighting that’s strucken,” Jeff stated. “We have now many women from St. Louis doing it large on the worldwide modeling stage. She’s up subsequent. We’re actually grateful to be within the place we’re in to open this world up for her, and we’re all prepared for this journey collectively.”
Buford and her mom stated they’ve seen a serious change in her confidence since she’s began modeling. Buford, who’s nearly 5’11”, stated she observed her top made her completely different from her friends at college however with modeling, she enjoys being round different individuals with related heights.
She additionally stated individuals typically maintain misconceptions about modeling assuming it’s all about appears, which made her understand it is extra about depth and being your genuine, stunning self.
“I believe it makes me extra snug with the actual fact I’m a teen, I’m nonetheless studying, and I’m nonetheless looking for myself,” she stated. “Once I was on my own in the course of the quarantine, I discovered to like who I’m. Being on my own, I began experimenting with photoshoots in my room and appreciating my angles. I started to like who I’m after I was on my own as a result of I’m the assured individual I do know I’ve.”
Mary stated she and Jeff have additionally observed Buford’s development from when she first began working with them to now.
“Once I was trying on the unique pics of her, Jeff checked out me and stated, ‘She’s not even the identical woman,’ she stated. “Watching her be in her aspect matched along with her work ethic and unimaginable household assist, you simply know she will probably be a celebrity.”
Buford has modeled for Kim Kardashian’s Skims x Fendi collaboration, Lacoste, Free Folks appeared in Kim Petras’ music video and guest-starred on “The Tamron Corridor Present.” She represents three markets with Subsequent Administration; Los Angeles, London, and New York. She stated her dream aspirations are to stroll for Versace and Off-White and be on the duvet of Vogue Journal.
“I’m able to put in my effort and tackle this trade in order that I can look again in nonetheless a few years and say you probably did your factor,” she stated. “I hope to look again in the future and know that I’m so joyful and grateful for the whole lot that my life has given and proven me.”
Sustain with Buford and her budding profession on her Instagram account, @leyahtings.