Vernae, our new FStop member, is a Jersey girl, Rutgers graduate, and all-around renaissance lady. She tells us about her life, her dreams, and moving to the Big Apple.
Say hello to Vernae:
Where are you from? Where have you been?
A suburban town in North Jersey called Summit.
I’ve been blessed to go to London, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Jamaica and all over the US.
What’s your favorite place in the world?
I would have to say that I have a few that I’m not not able to narrow down. One being Hong Kong, Arizona and Cerritos, California.
What’s on your “bucket list” of ideas to create?
To travel to Italy and Paris; to record an album, to become a published author and of course travel more. 🙂
You mentioned you’re New York bound on your FStop profile, are you nervous for this transition and what was the defining moment that prompted you to enter that bigger market?
I’m super nervous about this transition, as I’ve never lived in a large city such as NY. The defining moment was when I realized that I needed to seek creative outlets in order to save me from myself. I’ll elaborate…After suffering the devastating loss of my father I turned into an introvert and found myself extremely uncomfortable in social situations; especially any encounter that required me to express myself artistically; be it on-camera, singing or otherwise. As a result, I shut down, refused to perform, take work, and rejected everything that was so natural to my very being. It was within that darkest time in my life that art, music, fashion and any sort of creative expression lifted me out of the abyss of hopelessness and sadness that I was in, and gave me a safe place to work through the pain, anger and confusion. For it was through these gifts and the challenge to step outside of my comfort zone that has allowed me to love life again, trust my instinct and overcome!
Tell us about your career. How did you get into it?
According to my family I’ve been singing since the moment I could formulate my first word. However, I’ve been performing (singing, dancing) since the age of 5, alongside my brother. Under his mentorship I continued to build upon those gifts as it followed me into college. It was at Rutgers University that I was first exposed to acting, modeling and radio. I was actually discovered by an up and coming Photographer at a Conference and I built a portfolio through TFP’s. Post college, I embarked upon a Musical Theatre career and toured the US singing and acting.
What’s your favorite picture of yourself? Can you tell the story behind it?
This shoot took place in Staten Island and I loved it! This is my favorite photo, because surprisingly, I felt my most confident and liberated when my hair was short. Strangely enough, everybody thought that I cut my hair into a mohawk and it sparked a bit of an inspirational movement amongst my female friends. Little did they know, it was just the wind that blew my hair in that direction.
Do you have any projects you’d like to show off?
Upcoming project will be a fashion show with Unique Blends Fashion Week. Check it out here!
What is the best thing a photographer can do to bring out your personality?
The best thing a photographer can do is make me smile or laugh and just connect with me on a real level. As you can sense by my introductory photo, I love to laugh and have fun.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to being a great model?
I believe being a great model is being able to emote and take on being somebody else. Modeling is like acting; you have to be a chameleon and reform with every snap.
What do you want people to remember about you after a shoot?
I want them to remember how I made them feel. I hope they feel more alive after being in my presence and most of all I hope that they feel greatly appreciated for their work and vision.
If you could model anywhere in the world where would you go?
Africa. So that I can be one with nature and the beautiful animals. Most importantly, to inhabit a place of beauty, strength and pride.
Who’s your biggest hero in your life?
My grandmother, Minnie Taylor. She’s 86 years young, has raised her own 3 kids, along with my brother and I, has survived breast cancer & knee surgery, works even up to this day, lives on her own and has never secured a driver’s license. There are so many more reasons why she is my hero and continues to inspire me from every single day, but there’s not enough space or words to fully articulate it. I adore her!
What fashion trend do you wish would come back?
One would argue if this is fashion, but it definitely was a huge statement. I really miss afros 🙂
What do you think is your best feature?
I have a few. But please don’t judge me for having more than one (lol). I love my eyes, full lips and smile.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My thighs. I believe I have a defect, making my thighs different sizes. But nobody can seem to give me a straight answer when I ask them what happened to me at birth smh.
This one’s loaded – biggest struggle(s) in life currently, while growing up, and struggles you’ve overcome.
My current struggle is maintaining a balance between financial stability/freedom while pursuing my passions. Growing up I wrestled with poor self esteem and a horrible temper. To this very day, insecurities can still plague me in the form of self criticism. So much so, that If you ask anyone who knows me they would tell you how inspiring and encouraging I can be to lifting the spirits of others. But when it comes to reassuring myself I can sometimes fall short. Like most, I tend to be very hard on myself and sadly, it’s never good enough. Perhaps that’s what keeps me hungry and persevering. But it can be pretty exhausting feeling like you may never measure up. I believe my temperament has evolved due to wisdom, experience and most of all, letting go of toxic people and situations that can sometimes push you back to that space. I continue to struggle with the loss of my father, my pastor and a close mentor of mine. But I forever hold onto their memory and speak of them as if they still live on through me. Due to the negative voices that we ALL sometimes hear in our heads, I would have to say that I work to overcome losing my mind daily! This loaded question just wouldn’t be complete without a little humor.
What’s your greatest achievement, and how has it shaped you?
Acquiring my Bachelors’ degree at Rutgers University. Although at first it was the dream of my family, I feel blessed to have completed that journey. Even as I write this now, I realize that I was the first in my immediate family to get a 4 year degree. It’s afforded me opportunities that may not have been possible. It shaped me to be well rounded, culturally sensitive, respectful of diversity and it gave me years to explore my identity.
Model Mayhem: Profile
Vernae, interviewing you was incredible and inspirational. We know that you have great things in mind and look forward to seeing more of you!
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.