Today we’d like to introduce you to Banke.
Hi Banke, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
My interest in modeling developed at a young age. As a child, I would skim the pages of fashion magazines and admired the elegance and confidence that both Naomi Campbell and Beverly Peele exuded in their fashion campaigns. They were both truly an inspiration to me and I hoped to one embody that same level of confidence. From that point on, I dreamed of the chance to one day enter the modeling industry. Although I have always been a big dreamer, I realized that my dreams were nearly impossible to pursue if I continued to live in Virginia.
At age sixteen, my mother and I relocated from Virginia to California so that I could pursue my dreams of becoming a model. I was signed to an agency within a few months of my move. It took me a few weeks to adjust to the model lifestyle. Before I modeled, I had never worked with a fashion stylist or makeup artist yet alone have someone ask to take professional photos of me. At the time, everything was so new and I did not realize I was experiencing what I would like to call the “model honeymoon phase.”
I was always excited to go to castings, do campaigns and network with people. However, once the honeymoon phase ended my experiences as a model started to take a toll on me. At sixteen, you are very impressionable and the level of rejection I faced made me question my place in the industry. Although I was exposed to many amazing opportunities, I decided to quit modeling within a year of relocating to California.
During my time away from modeling, I attended college and ran a fashion blog titled “With Love, Banke” where I essentially “modeled” my personal style. Within a few months of starting my blog, I was featured in a handful of publications and had the chance to work with clients such as Markins Beauty, Evian, Billion Dollar Brows, and many more. Despite the attention that I drew from my blog, I eventually came to the realization that blogging did not completely fulfill me. I longed to be apart of the modeling world that I had once left behind. I realized I was no longer that timid, 16 year old girl. Little did I know rejection that I faced as a teenager would one day lead me to become a stronger person.
When I had this epiphany, I thought to myself how can I return to modeling? At the time, it was difficult to find a way to do so– I was in graduate school and was working two jobs. I quickly realized I needed to find a way to incorporate modeling into my lifestyle. Luckily, I did and the rest is history.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I would be lying if I described my journey as smooth. My journey as a model has been a rollercoaster thus far–it’s been filled with many ups and downs and wins and losses. To be successful in this industry, you have to embrace rejection. You are criticized on so many different things but throughout the years, I have learned to not take it personally and to face rejection from a logical perspective. At the end of the day, I see it as constructive criticism. In short, I have learned to accept the struggles and challenges that I have encountered. As cliche as it sounds, I truly believe everything happens for a reason and these experiences alike have shaped me into who I am today.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I specialize in fashion, commercial and print modeling. I am known for being a former fashion blogger and model. What sets me apart from others is my ability to truly enjoy the art of modeling. Most of my inspiration comes from 90s supermodels as it was a modeling era that truly honed in on the art of posing. On the weekends, I tend to watch Youtube videos of 90s model runway walks or sift through Pinterest pins of 90s fashion campaigns.
Photo credit: Tiana Hunter, Natasha Williams, Christiano Hermoso, Saryn Christina and Vincent Gotti.