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Rising Stars: Meet Mandii Brown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mandii Brown.

Hi Mandii, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I have this motto that I have fully embraced and choose to live by “Mother. Model. Mental Health Advocate.”

My journey began on April 30, 2017, the day I tried to take my life… I was extremely depressed, I just gave birth to my new daughter, and I was in a mentally and emotionally abusive relationship that was falling apart PUBLICLY… I woke up that morning, going through the motions.. I was left as a single mother of two, no job, in school full-time, and on e-board for multiple organizations … I felt really low, unloved, and I woke up and thought “I should just end it”… and I tried, and thank God, I didn’t succeed.

After that moment, I recovered and took my mental health more seriously. I wanted to be an advocate not only for my social and educational community but for single mothers; especially those who are non-traditional students as I was. I want to let other women know, a relationship does not define you or your worth. It is okay to be tired and drained from being a “Superwoman” but what is not okay, is not getting help… use those resources to get better not only for yourself but for others around you.

MODELING! I’ve done modeling on and off since I was about 11 years old. From modeling for “Limited Too” teen clothes, local boutiques, and etc. I began taking it seriously officially in May 2019. I began walking in shows to get a feel for it again. And it was hard! There were many days, where I questioned myself and if I was good enough.

May 2021, I began shooting with Brandon Hopkins, and he boosted up my confidence so much to where I dived in! His shoot really put me on the map with multiple photographers and exposure in rooms I haven’t stepped in. Brandon if you’re reading this, I owe you everything and am forever grateful.

My first runway show in 2021, was with Blake Martin Production, at the Chicago Black Women’s Expo 2021. When I say he WORKED me! But I needed that. Actually, I wouldn’t have gotten into that fashion show without the help of Cheryl Swanson; retired army vet and boudoir photographer. This woman literally came to my rescue in one day and helped build my portfolio and my runway video. These amazing people gave me the mindset that I can do anything. If I wanted to walk in NYFW, I can do that. If I want to be on the cover of a magazine, I can do that.

I have being doing more shoots, getting more bookings, and I am booked to do another runway show: “The Annual Black Gala” with the theme “Paris in the Fall.” I am so excited to see what is in store for me in the future.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
My journey is the furthest thing from smooth. Not only am I a single mother, but I am a full-time graduate student at the University of West Alabama. My major is Clinical Mental Health Counseling and my main focus is trauma-grief, anxiety, depression, parenting, relationship, self-esteem, racial/multicultural issues, and women’s issues.

I have a vision for myself to work with people from all walks of life and to be “the relatable counselor” and create a safe platform for people to walk in their purpose and explore their talents. Nonetheless, there are times where I haven’t had enough money to pay bills or provide more. There was even a moment to where I was almost homeless, and so much more. But my tribe as always been there and I thank them for that.

I am so excited to continue to grow and see what is in store for me.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
In between modeling, I am actually a brand ambassador for “Willie B’s Kitchen & Lounge” right off Buchanan Street. When I moved from Chicago, this was one of the first black-owned establishments I visited, and immediately fell in love. The owner Chris Jones and event manager, Bibi, welcomed me with open arms every time I came in. Shortly, I was asked to be an ambassador to help bring in customers and continue building their brand; I love it!

I also became an Amazon Influencer. Amazon has always been my go-to for wardrobe, accessories, hair items, and etc., for my photoshoot. I began getting free items from companies to help promote their brands/companies, and I’ve truly enjoyed it. I love the networking opportunities this has brought me, and a new outlook on the fashion industry.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
I feel it is important to not only be compassionate but understanding. Realize that no one is perfect and we are naturally flawed, which makes us unique and blessings to others in multiple ways. I believe you need to be professional but also show that you are a REAL person so you can not only connect with others but show they are not alone.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Brandon Hopkins, Rodney Marsh, Joshua Taylor, Wey Productions of Cheryl Swanson, and Nash Bourb Brides Boudoir

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