I love your name Xiea (Zee-ya) is there a story behind it?
Thanks so very much. I just LOVE my name. My Parents are always looking for unique names to name my siblings and I. They wanted to give us names which are not very popular. Our names give us a sense of uniqueness to match the persons we are. Eac of us has a unique name. I have researched the Internet and other baby book names but have never come up on my name Xiea. The closest I’ve found so far is Chinese Xia. It truly is unique.
Tell us about yourself?
I am a 19 year old Antiguan freelance model, who was born and grew up in Gray’s Farm, St. John’s, Antigua and attended the Antigua Girls’ High School.
Modeling, Fashion and Visual Arts have always been my passion whilst growing up. I have been involved in many volunteer art projects including the painting and designing at the Children’s Ward at Mount St. John’s Medical Center. It comes with no surprise that I currently teach Visual Arts at my Alma Mater and will soon be attending college to pursue a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts.
Modelling has always been an obsession of mine. I have appeared on the cover of “The Antigua Traveller” and have done many photo shoots with local and international photographers. I was featured as a Sunshine Girl in 365 Antigua; my work is one which illustrates my drive, commitment, pride and devotion to modeling. Examples of some of my creativity can be seen at
Not settling for just being another pretty face in front of a camera, I have show cased my acting skills being featured in adverts for The Little Star Fish, Birkinstock Shoe store located in Redcliffe Quay, Antigua and quite recently, I was featured in Dem Island Boyz music video alongside renowned Jamaican Reggae Artist, Jah Cure, in their song “KISS ME GIRL”. I was also a contestant in the first ever Caribbean Next Top Model competition, which was held in Trinidad and Tobago during the months October to December 2011.
Modelling is hard work. I say it is 99% perspiration and 100% , not 1% but yes, 100% determination. I liken myself to a tea bag, “Always at my best, especially when placed in hot water!”
When did you decided you wanted to be a model?
I believe, I’ve always wanted to become a model, but the definite point when I made the conscious decision was about two or three years ago. Some friends and I took pictures while were enjoying ourselves at the beach during our much anticipated summer vacation and took loads of pictures. After getting many compliments on how wonderfully I photographed, from families and friends, I then took a keener look at the photos. I realized that some of the pictures could rival any swim suit ad. That was when the desire took real root.
Additionally, as time went by, I was met with many compliments and encouragements from many persons about my appearance and many times, I was approached by persons asking if I were a model.
When asked why they would assume so, most replied that I have the carriage, body and face of a model.
With encouragement from my parents, family and friends, especially my Mother, I began to seriously pursue modeling. I have developed a love, drive and passion for it and I sincerely want this!
What is your favorite aspect of modeling?
The moment when I am able to connect and become one with the clothing, jewelry or object to which I am modeling with. At that moment I am no longer, Xiea , the model , rather I become the voice/medium through which the object speaks and at times serenades and projects its personality. Once the viewing audience hears and is touched by this voice, then I know that our collaboration has been communicated. This I believe is my favourite aspect of modeling.
Your dream is to become a Victoria Secret model, why is that?
YES!!! My dream is to become a Victoria’s Secret Model. Victoria’s Secret models mostly model lingerie and bathing suits, and that is the type of modeling which I love best. They mostly represent my body type. Most persons in other areas, look for models who have more of a boyish frame and that clearly does not reflect my body type.
In addition to being similar in body type to the models, I am so in awe of their fashion shows. I am riveted to my computer whenever they have these fashion shows, and watch at least two shows every week leading up to the Annual Fashion Show which is usually held close to December. I watch them to get pointers and use them as practice sessions for when my chance arrives! I watch their casting calls on Youtube just to scope out the competition.
These are so cool. I am just in love with their ANGELs. I just love everything about Victoria’s Secret. The exposure they give their models and the challenges that Victoria’s Secret models face i.e. (models having to keep a certain standard). Models are given the opportunity of being a role model for many young girls around the world.
Is there a designer or anyone in particular you are dying to model for?
I want to model for Victoria’s Secret Of course. I want to model for so many designers, my head is spinning. These include but not limited to Abercrombie & Fitch, Chanel (Karl Lagerfeld), Giorgio Armani, Versace, Burbery, Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klien, Marc Jacobs, Yves Saint Laurent, Jimmy Choo, Lancome , Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Hubert De Givenchy, Gucci, Oscar De La Renta, Ralph Lauren, Prada and so many more.
Who are your role models?
My most favourite role model is my Mother. She is the epitome of everything uplifting, strong, determined, centered, grounded and hardworking. I don’t know how she does it, but she most often than not keeps things together and sane. She is the durable and everlasting thread that holds us all together and keeps us on the right path. However, if things ever get to the point where they seem to be at their worst, I am comforted knowing that Mom will find the right answer and get us over the hurdles.
In addition to my Mom, I have several role models for various aspects of my life but for modeling these include Adriana Lima, Candice Swanepoel, Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell, Coco Rocha, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Miranda Kerr and Emily DiDonato.
Is it difficult for you getting jobs in Antigua?
Yes it is very difficult to get jobs in Antigua. The modeling industry is very young in Antigua and thus, models are not given enough opportunity to pursue their careers and gain experiences as oppose to bigger, more model-friendly places like Jamaica, Trinidad, The US, Canada and Europe.
What are some the challenges you face?
Some of the Challenges include not being able to get as much exposure as I would like. Very few and far between fashion shows and jobs so opportunities are limited. The scarcity of opportunities to be able to showcase one’s talents and pursue their ambition causes many up and coming models to become down heartened and many have just given up hope of ever being able to realize their potential and have turned away from modeling and given up their dreams, not because they do not have the potential to become but because being in an environment which clearly lacks opportunity.
In addition, there are many persons who see modeling not as a career but as something as exposing oneself to the whims of persons. Most persons, want to discourage you from being a model just like discouraging an artist from drawing or creating works of art, because to them it is not a career. I have gotten my fair share of these kinds of persons trying to dissuade me from pursuing my dream. Fortunately, I have a Mom who believes in me, knows my potential and who is willing to go the long haul with me. Many up and coming models do not have this privilege. I thank God everyday for my Mom. She’s the BEST!
I see that you are a Teacher and attending college. How do you balance you careers?
It is not easy but it is doable. I get guidance, encouragement, motivation and inspiration from my Mom. She teaches as well and is on her second Master’s degree with an eye on her Doctorate in the not too distant future. If she can be a Mother to seven of us, work and study successfully with all those responsibilities, then I see no reason for me not to press on. Like I said, she inspires me. One of her mottos to which I live by is, “Never put off for tomorrow what you can get done today!” One of my favourite quotes is made up of only 20 letters, “IF IT IS TO BE IT IS UP TO ME!!!”
Are you signed to any agency?
Currently, I am not signed to any agencies as yet. I have been approached by agencies in Israel and in the US and Canada, however, there are some protocols which have to be set in place before I can take the next step.
Who are some of your favorite designers?
My favourite designers are the same designers that I would like to model for. I listed them earlier.
What are your best features?
My best features are numerous. These include, unconditional love for my family, positive attitude, a desire and willingness to help persons, my determination, love of people, creativity and my down to earth personality
What is your greatest weakness?
I wouldn’t say it’s a weakness but I think that my attitude in wanting to always look for the good in everyone sometimes causes me a few hiccups in life here and there at times. I wouldn’t say that I am naïve, it’s just the way in which I was brought up.
Would you ever poise nude? Why?
For right now I can tell you that I have no desire to pose NUDE. I may do implied nude but no total NUDE. I am just embarking on my career and I do not want to go down that road. Too many models have gone down that path and I have heard many of them regretting ever having done Nudes earlier in their careers. Some have made themselves very famous from posing nude but I do not want to be known as another girl who got famous from a sex scandal. No, no! That is not who I am or whom I wish to portray. I want to succeed in modeling but not along the Nude route. There is a thin line between posing nude and pornography and I simply do not want to be involved in anything like that.
How do you unwind after a particularly grueling shoot?
After a grueling shoot, I unwind by showering, eating and drinking a cold glass of milk, crawl into bed with music to serenade me to sleep or more times watching Asian Drama. There’s nothing like unwinding.
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