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Conversations with Yvonne Akins

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yvonne Akins.

Hi Yvonne, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
About 6 years ago, I walked away from an abusive relationship. At the time, I had re-enrolled into college. I was attending as a full-time student, working 2 jobs, and being a full-time mother. I had many moving parts in my life that helped take my focus off the mental and emotional devastation I had recently experienced. I was approached by a fellow church member who was also a beautician and salon owner. She asked if I would model in an upcoming photo shoot for her shop. I had no modeling experience, but I jumped at the chance of getting dolled up and feeling pretty for the first time in a very long time. The shoot was successful, and she loved the photos, as did I. Seeking an agency was suggested to me by a former co-worker, who often made me feel beautiful by complimenting me on my sense of style. As a part of my healing, I decided to start modeling professionally. A sense of empowerment came from the fierceness I saw in my photos that I didn’t think I possessed. When I realized I did, I needed to explore that side of me more. I wanted to development it. I signed my first modeling contract in December 2016 and haven’t looked back since.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been fairly smooth?
Modeling has had its up and downs, but most of the downs came from me standing in my way. Insecurities and doubt were my biggest enemies, and I still struggle with putting those thoughts in their places from time to time. Over the years, my faith has grown tremendously, and I have developed tools to manage my anxiety. I must remind myself that life and everything in it is a part of a journey. There will never be a straight path to success, and what works for others may not work for me. I’m finally OK with that, and I think that removing other people’s expectations of my life and capabilities has greatly assisted me in my growth. I finally see myself in the light I used to dream of when I was at my lowest point.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a published fashion model. I have been modeling professionally for about 5 and 1/2 years in print and runway. I specialize in print and commercial modeling. I have extensive experience with the runway and have been coordinating fashion shows on a small scale for the past year. I am most proud of how I have been able to step outside of my comfort zones and try new things in modeling. From fresh, daring looks in photo shoots to calling the shots at fashion shows and hoping people take me seriously. It has forced me to grow so much, and I love it. What sets me apart from others is my ability to transform completely. I love my versatility and ability to evoke emotion in every shoot and show. I’m finally able to communicate my confidence and fierceness through the lens and on the runway, and that is not an easy task. But the best part about it is when people see my work, they feel good about themselves. They start doing some soul searching to find their inner strength and beauty, and that is ultimately my goal. If I can inspire you to figure out the best version of yourself, find a healthy way of making that person a reality, and then show up as that person every day, I’ve done my job.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some changes you expect to see over the next five to ten years?
I see my industry welcoming more realistic bodies. Most of the highest-paid models don’t look like what we see daily walking through the grocery store. Although I’ve seen more inclusivity over the last several years, I think there could be and should be more real bodies at the forefront of fashion and beauty ads. We need to see more wrinkles, stretch marks, crooked smiles, less photoshopping, and more happiness in the natural skin people are in. And the more the public presses this, the more I think the fashion industry will oblige.

Pricing:

  • Photoshoot: 1 look, up to 5 shots $100
  • Photoshoot: 2 looks, up to 10 shots: $155
  • Photoshoot: 3 looks or more: starting price is $225
  • Traveling and accommodations are negotiable
  • Fashion shows: pricing is negotiable

Contact Info:

Image Credits
1st photo (smiling with white ruffled top): SANN Productions 2nd photo (black and white suit jacket): Lasting Impressions by Lucy 3rd photo (runway gown): Katie Sweeney 4th (blue butterfly outfit): Lasting Impressions by Lucy 5th (black outfit with orange background): Lasting Impressions by Lucy 6th (park bench with opened plaid button down shirt and white top): Noah Stewart of Shot on the Block 7th (black shirt outfit with Bantu knots in hair): no credit needed 8th (sepia style photo with cigarette holder): Berry Sharp 9th (yellow dress with white flower); SANN Productions, Rodney McKinnon (runway image main photo)

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