I only met Aniah two weeks ago at a local fashion show, and it didn't take long to notice she had that something that just stood out. The fashion show was a success with some big name local designers as well as an impressive group of local models. But it was Aniah that stood out for me. With the high heel boots she wore, she stood about 5 foot 10 inches and was just as natural as she could be. So about 20 minutes before the show I went to the staging area to get some behind the scenes footage of the models and designers. It was then that I took a picture of Aniah. Her personality, her fire and her attitude seared through my 85mm Sigma Art Lens. As fellow photographers may well know some time the essence of the individual just jumps st you through your lens. By the end of the night I had captured five shots of Aniah and although I felt they were decent shots, I knew because of the lighting and the fast pace of the event that decent was the best I'd be hoping for. So fast forward two days and Bam!!! Aniah jumps off the screen, personality, style, confidence and attitude. Melanin Poppin! This is what I was looking for, this was my next project.
We get to Washington Park, she is late with a wardrobe malfunction, the forecast that calls for overcast skies (perfect for shooting) is now added rain to the mix (not ideal for shooting), and as the photography demons would have it, I have an equipment malfunction. So a shoot that should have been a hour in a half becomes almost a 3 hour marathon of us fighting intense sun, rain and the photography demons.
Aniah's get the shot mentality (soggy butt and all), her natural presentation (very very little makeup and natural hair), and her professional approach made the shoot a resounding success despite the elements. Oh damn I left out it was type brick out there too. Believe me I'm actively planning for the next shoot because the conditions can't get much worse! And this shoot was still fire!
So here is my Q&A session with Aniah Rose.
(MD) What and when did this fire for modeling start?
(AR) I've had interests in fashion and modeling since I was in middle school. My cousin, whom I’m very close to, had a passion for fashion, so she'd expose me to a lot. I would watch Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum, and be so infatuated. I’d even fantasize while watching America's Next Model, hoping those beautiful ladies could be me one day. Even though I had these sparks of interests, I struggled quite significantly with my self confidence. I wasn't comfortable in my own skin and felt like I needed validation to be accepted. Believe it or not, the fire in me ignited at 21, when I graduated college. I began paying attention and learning about who Aniah really was. I literally morphed. I didn’t want to be trapped in this self-conscience shell anymore . I began loving myself so much more. Now at 23, I am trying to achieve the best version of myself. I decided to throw myself in front of the cameras more, take on fashion shows, appear at events, anywhere I could express my new found confidence and beauty, as well as keeping the humbleness and positivity. The pace that I am at now, I’m nowhere near slowing down
(MD) What was it like working a set with MD photography. Music, lights, video, Atmosphere, connection etc
(AR) Working onset with MD Photography was exhilarating. I’ve worked with a few photographers but this shoot was different. Mark showed his excitement from the morning of the shoot. While I was nervous working with someone new, his inviting nature and excitement to shoot made my nerves slowly diminish. As the equipment and lights were set up, Mark asks me different questions about the styles of photography and what to expect. In my head I’m thinking “omg I’m not professional enough for this”. I was incredibly wrong, in fact, it’s a shame that I thought so negatively. After 15 mins into the shoot, I became way more comfortable. I was given great coordination, feedback and tips. In return, I did what I love to do, serve looks. Although the weather was not on our side, we continued to work where and when we could. Music playing and high spirits made this shoot a great experience. I look forward to working with MD Photography in the future.
(MD) Where do you see yourself in one year? five years? 10 years?
(AR) I am currently a full-time Accountant. One year from now, I will be receiving my Masters in Forensic Accounting. I see myself focusing on gaining my CPA and CFE, as well as more experience in the field in order to take on my next adventure-moving to the Big Apple (NYC). This doesn’t mean that my modeling passion will stop. Im hoping for it to actually expand when I move to the city. My goal is to have a strong portfolio, as well as professional modeling skills to take along with me in this big move. In 5 years? I want to be settled in the city, taking on bigger and better opportunities. By this time I want to incorporate being a Forensic Accountant as well as a fashion model (not sure what niche I want to settle in just yet). Entrepreneurship will be on my tool belt by this time as well. Starting a bookkeeping service has been in the planning stages lately but will legally kick off within the next 1-5 year span. Juggling all of this seems like a lot but I’m always willing to take on the challenge. Success comes to those who WORK. Within the next 10 years, starting a family is very important to me so hopefully I will be taking on the role as mother and wife as well. Of course, anything can happen 10 years from now. More than anything I just want to grow as an individual. I will strive to be the happiest, most confident woman that I can be.
(MD) What do you love to do above all else?
(AR) This is a tough question. Because I immediately think about what I’m always derived of and that’s sleep. But, In learning more about myself, I’ve realized how much of an adventurous and busy person I can be... I’m not sure what I love doing more! There’s so much living to do in so little time but working full time can put a damper on my energy.
(MD) You mentioned college, did you finish? Or are you still working on it?
(AR) I have a Bachelors in Accounting and will be receiving my Masters in Forensic Accounting in 2019
(MD) What's your idea of a great lazy weekend?
(AR) My ideal lazy weekend is in bed watching whatever new series has my attention. Unfortunately, I never get to have a full day of this because I’ll either have homework to do or errands to run.
(MD) What is your heritage and how closely linked are you with it?
(AR) I am a proud Jamaican. We keep the culture alive in our family as we have 2 Jamaican Restaurants in Albany and Schenectady. Unfortunately, I had to miss the family trip to the homeland because of academics but I shall be visiting in April 2019.
I had a great time talking with Aniah and really look forward to our next project.