Having battled with weight issues during his second year of college, Naseem Redmond's path to the modelling industry had once looked uncertain. However, physical and mental changes lead him to successfully pursue a career in modelling. He sat down with us to discuss success, the highs, lows and truth of the modelling industry and his thoughts on Covid-19.
Osazeme Osaghae: Hi Naseem! Thanks for joining me today! Naseem Redmond: Hi Osazeme! Thank you for having me! Osazeme: Was your primary goal always to become a model? Naseem: *Laughs* I actually wanted to become a lawyer, then a doctor and went to college to pursue a healthcare career. Osazeme: Wow! How and why did you get into modelling? Naseem: Whew, okay so long story short. I had always been surrounded by models. My older sister, aunt, and a few cousins have either modelled or still model. Until sophomore year of college, I was overweight so I had never thought it was for me. But by God’s grace, opportunities arose, and my mentality and physical appearance changed.
"I got into modelling to prove to myself I could do it and fell in love with it…."
I believe I also wanted to be seen, not in a vain way but just as a person. Osazeme: Amazing! It takes a lot of courage and perseverance to break into your chosen industry - how did you land your first modelling gig and what challenges did you face starting out? Naseem: So, I was asked to runway model for a friend of a friends’ brand, which was my first modelling gig and such a great experience. Then bigger opportunities began to arise. Although hearing a "no", was challenging at first, it was so important to push myself the extra mile and not take it so personally.
Osazeme: And, just how did you balance a career in modelling with your studies? Naseem: Oh gosh….By the grace of God *Laughs*. I remember being booked for a show and leaving an exam to go to New York and then driving back the same night for class in the morning. It was a huge challenge, however, my time management is pretty great. I had to let some things go to be able to focus on long term goals. Osazeme: Love the dedication, Naseem! What is your single most favourite project you've worked on as a model? Naseem: MYSELF!!!
" Although modelling focuses on the outward appearance, I have learned so much about me, my thought process and how I work. I’ve also become closer to God and grown my faith."
Osazeme: 100%! Some models look to others for fashion inspiration, who are some of your favourite style icons? Naseem: My style changes so much, and honestly, I’m still learning it. I just kind of like what I like, Alton Mason is one of my fashion/model inspirations. Also, my cousin who models has a great sense of fashion, so I try to put pieces in mind from her perspective *laughs*. Osazeme: Great! How would you best describe your style? Naseem: Hmm the best way to describe my style would be a cup of streetwear, two spoonfuls of high fashion, and care-free black boy to taste *laughs*! Osazeme: That’s quite the combination *laughs*! Who do you get your inspiration from? Naseem: I am greatly inspired by biblical figures and just thinking that they never got to read their next chapter during their times of struggle. God always works it out in the end, so I’m inspired to keep pushing… and my friends of course. I’m surrounded by so many great creatives and models. They keep me on my toes.
Osazeme: What can we usually find Naseem doing when he's not working? Naseem: You can usually find me either at the gym, presenting or preparing to present. It’s also my place of peace so I find joy in making it a daily routine. Osazeme: ...And where do you envision the fashion industry within the next 3-5 years? Naseem: Hopefully with me at the top *laughs*. But honestly, I see the changes that are happening within the fashion industry for the better, which makes me extremely proud. I’m hoping high fashion changes as much as the commercial modelling part has. It’s either you’re white, mixed or super (super) dark. It's time we see a bigger spectrum. Osazeme: Very true! Hopefully, we will see a major shift within the high fashion industry this year. And, where do you see yourself in the next 3-5 years? Naseem: Hmm great question! I honestly don’t know. I pray it has to do with modelling and fashion. But I also have a secret love for hair. I’m open to whatever God puts in my path. Osazeme: What are your goals for the rest of the year? Naseem: My goal for this year modelling wise would be to model in South Korea. Korean fashion is absolutely amazing! Also, I'd love to get booked for a big-time campaign and walk for a few big-name fashion houses. Osazeme: Looking forward to seeing your growth during the rest of 2020! What key piece of advice would you give to those who are indecisive on whether to take the plunge into the fashion industry as a model? Naseem: Just to do it. Go! Go! Go!
" The worst thing is to regret
never even trying.
At worst you can say you did it,
enjoyed it and moved on.
It’s a lot of work, yes,
but isn’t anything you want to do? "
Osazeme: Some solid advice there, Naseem! And, what are your thoughts on Covid-19? Naseem: Whew, that’s a really deep question considering this public policy and the healthcare system was my major *laughs*.
" I think it’s sad that Covid-19 has taken so many lives. I think this pandemic has shown a lot of what the government can do, and I wonder what will happen next."
Osazeme: Many people have struggled, especially in terms of having to work from home and finding things to keep them busy, how has being in quarantine affected your career? Naseem: To be honest, it hasn’t helped. But I trust God will work it all out and what’s meant for me will be for me so I’m not worried. Osazeme: Keeping a positive mindset is the way forward! With one of your 2020 goals being to ‘model in South Korea’, (which may no longer be possible), how do you plan on adapting your modelling career moving forward? Naseem: That’s a great question – I haven’t thought much of it to be honest. But thinking on it, I wouldn't change my plans because my faith has gotten me this far so I trust that God can forgive more than what I can see. I’ll leave all options open and see what happens. Osazeme: Love that! Finally, at the Davi Magazine, we love to ask our guests, if you had an opportunity to give your younger self advice, what would you tell yourself? Naseem: Hmm, I would tell myself….To give myself permission to be. Stop acting small, your big personality will get you far. You are loved and you are love. If only you knew that you were…
You can keep up-to-date with Naseem Redmond on Instagram.
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