Today we’d like to introduce you to Maranda Washington.
Maranda, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m an African-American petite model and aspiring actress, currently in the Phoenix, AZ area. I’ve recently relocated to the west coast all the way from Kentucky, where everyone knows me as Maranda Washington. I have always been infatuated with performing and being in the spotlight since I was younger. When America’s Next Top Model debuted in 2003, I knew modeling was exactly what I wanted to do. I’ve been practicing my model walk & “smize” since the 2nd grade.
I decided, after some failed attempts when I was younger and clueless about the industry, to wait until after graduating college to really pursue my modeling seriously. I participated and assisted with facilitating a couple of fashion shows in college. I began to really research the industry, the dos and don’ts, and about models that I look up to. Finally, I reached out to Alexis Buford, a local photographer on Facebook, to take a leap into print. Luckily she agreed to collaborate with me and Briana Pillow, one of my best friends who also is a hairstylist, on local shoots around Bowling Green, KY. The more we shot, the more I knew I was meant to model. This ultimately sparked my drive to want to move to Phoenix, to allow myself to be exposed to more opportunities and put in the work!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The journey of a freelance model is definitely not smooth! There are several struggles I’ve had to overcome, some I am able to navigate around & others are out of my control. As far as things I cannot change, my biggest obstacle is my height, because I may not fit certain designs or may throw the dynamic off in a shot full of tall models. This is when I use my talent and personality, to compensate for my vertical challenges. All my life I’ve had to deal with being criticized on the color of my skin, which has gotten better over time, but I can tell it is still prevalent. I don’t even really let that type of issue bother me, because I see that as either I don’t fit a certain look that the project is going for, or it is just that person’s loss.
Model red flags are the struggles I am able to avoid, most of the time. I definitely haven’t always had this skill, but different opportunities and experiences have taught me how to maneuver appropriately. I have been scammed out of thousands of dollars, for a modeling competition I thought was legitimate. I have worked with photographers who never send me my images. I have also been contacted by photographers, who aren’t as honest as they lead on to be. Learning to do my research, recognizing the red flags, and having an escort when meeting up with people for the first time has really decreased my chances of dealing with these type of obstacles.
Please tell us about De Lore.
Even though I’m 5’3, most of my experience is in runway, as well as print, being a brand ambassador, fashion, beauty, hair, product modeling, and featuring in music videos. I am looking to expand my portfolio and experiences to include: editorial, commercial, swimsuit, lingerie, stock, fit modeling, and of course acting.
My personality and work ethic are what set me apart from others, and they’re honestly what I’m known for when I work with different clients/creatives. My inherited charisma and ambition fuels my drive to highlight the importance of intelligent, natural-bodied, Black Women in the entertainment industry. I aspire to show other women that they can be exquisite, the way God made them while being diligent and staying true to their values! I continue to be inspired by the fabulous Tyra Banks, Chanel Iman, Ebonee Davis, as well as many other queens. Keep an eye out for where I will sprinkle this #BlackGirlMagic next!
When you look back, what are you most proud of?
The proudest moment of my career, so far, has definitely been working with Shane Baker and the crew at F.A.B.R.I.C. Tempe. Shane is a phenomenal photographer, who started Model Mondays here in Phoenix. At one of those events, I was able to connect with some amazing designers, photographers, makeup artists, and models who have reached out to me to collaborate. Not only was it a great networking opportunity, since I’m new to the area, but I was also able to learn more tips, tricks & model red flags.
- Website: officiallydelore.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @officially.delore
- Facebook: facebook.com/officially.delore
Photographers: Paka @ AzSandsPhotography, Trent Brown, Andrew Millett, Mosi Jelani, Dr. L33, and Toni Barker; Lighting Photographer: Dave Finley; Creative Model Stylist/Assistant : Sheri Whitney; Makeup Artists: Leanne Isha, Zhone’ Lashay, and Jamie Dallas; Designers/Stylists: Des-Sacs, Mosi’s Collection, and Toni Style Closet; Hairstylist: Keedi Medley; Nails: King Of Tipz