Lola Chel Model, Art Curator and Business woman doing the damn thing in South Florida.

What made you want to start up your various ventures within the modelling and arts industry?

I got my start in the arts before modelling. I grew up playing the piano, being trained in ballet and tap dance, participating in theatre troupes, using my summers for art camps, all the way up until high school where I focused on hip-hop dance and poetry. I grew up with an ingrained appreciation for the arts. Once I got to college I was presented with my first real chance to get into modelling through a modelling troupe called Eclipse Fashion Society. From there I gained the confidence and skills I needed to pursue a career in modelling on my own.

From there I developed my strengths, weaknesses and principles as a model. Ultimately, I emerged as the model I am today, focusing on commercial and editorial print modelling, with runway appearances and work as a brand ambassador for various brands. This coupled with my love for the arts bore my brand, business, and events.

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As a model of colour, do you think the modelling world has recently become more accepting?

I think though models of colour are becoming more visible and appearing in more high profile work and platforms, the modelling industry still has a long way to go. I still find it disheartening that looking at major modelling agencies, out of 100 female models they’ll have only 20 women of colour (Hispanic, Asian, African-American, etc.) and maybe 3 to 5 noticeably darker skinned women. Fellow black models and I will joke and say once they have a Lupita Nyongo, Grace Jones and Naomi Campbell their quota is filled and they will turn you away. God forbid you’re under 5’8”. There are a lot of overqualified and overlooked models of colour and right now we are just getting to the tip of where the modelling industry should be.

Your two businesses are in modelling/fashion and art. How do the two complement each other?

My business, FulCircle Services LLC, focuses on social media management for fashion, art, and beauty brands as well as art event coordination in the form of A.R.T. LIVE and The Creatives Network. My brand, Lola Chél, focuses on modelling and model development.

Read more in our “Fashionable Culture” issue