Essence Magazine and Caribbean Girls Who Blog have dubbed her as the hottest model to watch and whilst she may be known to some as the model that took part in Yeezy Season 3 Fashion Show, Grenadian model Aria Francis is no stranger to the modelling business having been featured in past runway shows and editorials such as Vogue Italia and Huffington Post. Recently standing out at the NYFW spring shows, the up and coming model took time out of her busy schedule to introduce us to the phenomena behind and empower us with her words of wisdom and inspiration.
Island Chronicles: In a nutshell who is Aria Mary Francis?
Aria Mary Francis: I am ambitious, open minded, goal oriented and hard working. I am determined to achieve my dreams and aspirations, by making realistic plans for my future. My career goals include being involved in the area of social work, and developing my modelling skills in pursuit of a career as a full-time professional model. I have been modelling since 2010 and I’ve participated in pageants and sought opportunities to expand my experience and knowledge, by competing in various events. I have a healthy respect and appreciation for life, and for the less fortunate. I intend to live a life that allows me to embrace and realize my goals, while making time to give back to my community. I am grateful for each day and I view each day as an opportunity to grow, aspire and achieve. I wish that everyone would also view things from this perspective.
Island Chronicles: Wow a mind blowing and inspiring introduction. Tell us what made you decide to become a model?
Aria Mary Francis: At the tender age of 12 years old, I began to develop a love for fashion, being photographed and used to watch Top Model shows and as a result I was pushed by family members and close friends. Due to the lack of resources for the fashion industry here in Grenada, it was not until I was 17 years old that I was able to gain more experience and I decided to make use of all the opportunities that came my way. These opportunities included taking part in mini fashion shows, photo shoots to build my model portfolio and beauty pageants. In 2012, I was one of two Grenadians selected from the Caribbean Elite Model Look competition to represent Grenada in Trinidad & Tobago. From then on, I was noticed by many for my photogenic appeal and approach to the modelling industry. I would say I have achieved all of my short term goals which have included my participation in both regional and international fashion weeks. I also interact with other Caribbean models via social networks to share and gain information.
Island Chronicles: So on modelling and being a model, there are many differing opinions weighing, I would say heavily on the negative side. What is your take on a part of society that looks at modelling as a job that seeks to belittle women as opposed to empowering them?
Aria Mary Francis: To me modelling is a valid profession and personally, I see it as a work of art and an avenue for me to meet new people, travel and make a difference in the lives of those that I meet. With that being said, I think that people should also take the time to understand that modelling can be a very good career choice and a stairway to success, for individuals like myself who choose to express themselves through modelling. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and it does not matter which career path you choose to accomplish, there will always be something positive or negative being said and it’s up to us, as individuals, to believe, be ambitious and determined to go forward in life, with the choices we make.
Island Chronicles: We will just take a pause there and admire that strength and self-belief, very empowering and refreshing…. So back at it, the question that we have been dying to ask you. Kanye West. New York Fashion Week 15? How did that come about and what was the experience like?
Aria Mary Francis: Like any other models, I presented myself at the open casting call and it was a casting I imagined to be very long, so I prepared myself to stand in a long line and wait. Standing in the line, of course my mind was filled with thoughts on whether they will recognize, or even remember me. I completed the casting and was not even nervous then, but I was also anticipating a call back. A few days leading up to the show I got an email from an agent, informing me that I was chosen to be one of the featured models for the show. I was rather surprised but happy. The experience was not something that was new to me, however I did learn a few new things and getting the opportunity to stand that close to one of my favourite models, Naomi Campbell, was a dream come true.
Island Chronicles: And what do you really think of Kanye’s clothes?
Aria Mary Francis: Every designer creates a vision of what they see fashion to be and as for Kanye West’s clothes, I think they’re unique. It is his work of art and it was well executed in terms of what he believes fashion is, to him. I love what I wore on the day of the show and I would absolutely have no problem wearing it on the street.
Island Chronicles: And how would you describe your style and beauty regime?
Aria Mary Francis: With regard to my fashion sense, I am very simple, yet versatile. I am naturally attracted to various looks and creative concepts and always open to stepping out of my comfort zone and switching up my looks. I love shopping and I have many different pieces in my wardrobe that I can mix and match to create different outfits. With regards to the beauty essentials I would not live without, I am happy in my skin and I try my best to take care of it. With that being said, I can live without using any beauty products and as I live in Grenada I can simply rely on many of our natural resources, such as Aloe Vera, which helps me to have clear smooth skin. However, my career entitles me to love the use of cosmetic products, such as prescribed face washes, which cleanse my face after applying the beauty products, for shoots and shows.
Island Chronicles: On Grenada, what do you love most about the Spice Isle?
Aria Mary Francis: We are very friendly people, the atmosphere is great, our beaches are to die for and it is an island where you will feel absolutely safe. The smell of the spices is breath-taking. Our hotels, historical sites, natural beauty spots such as the lakes, waterfalls and our other natural resources is amazing. Grenada, the Spice Isle my home, is a special island in the world.
Island Chronicles: And do you have any recommendations for new visitors coming to the island for the first time?
Aria Mary Francis: Whenever you are in Grenada you can never be bored. Try taking a bus tour around the island, scuba diving, visiting our underwater museum, trying our homemade restaurants, which provide tasty local food and there is just so much more. You just need to come to Grenada to see for yourself.
Island Chronicles: Is there any modelling advice you would like to share?
Aria Mary Francis: Modelling is a business and as a model, you are your own business. It takes a lot of effort, commitment and time to become a successful model. Keep a healthy lifestyle: drink lots of water and ensure to enjoy a healthy diet, working out regularly but most importantly be patient. Always remember that success does not happen overnight.
Cover Image © courtsey of @milesfrom