I first met Raquel at a model tryout for NWA Fashion Week; instantly, I knew she was someone I wanted to work with. Her beauty projected a unique combination of characteristics – she carried herself with grace and confidence but an air of humility that matched her humble smile and kind eyes. I learned from our photoshoot that all of this is genuine; she is just as beautiful on the inside as out.
We chose Raquel to be in one of our promo photoshoots for Love, Zelda’s participation in NWA Fashion Week...we had no idea it was one of her first professional shoots! Afterwards, she posted a photo from the shoot on her Instagram with the caption: “When you thought ball was life, but God has other plans for you.” I knew I needed to learn more about Raquel and her story.
Q: So after your post, I Googled you and found out that you were Captain of the D1 Women’s basketball team for University of Central Arkansas, tell us more!
Raquel: I played all 4 years at UCA. I was a forward, and began starting as a junior; that year and the next we won the conference championships back to back. I graduated this past May with a B.S. in Health Science.
Q: So what was your plan after graduating?
Raquel: Throughout college, I assumed I would coach basketball or become a nurse. My father was a basketball player, my mother a nurse, but it was not necessarily me. And even though I had the degree and capability to do either, I felt that I was following a dream that wasn’t my own.
Q: When did your plan change?
Raquel: Ever since I was a preteen and started to become much taller than everyone else, I wanted to model. Before basketball, I walked some runway shows for local boutiques, and it is a passion that has always been there. After graduating UCA, I auditioned for NWAFW and in the meantime, my agent offered me an opportunity to play professional basketball overseas. The first thought that came into my head was, “What modeling opportunities can I pursue while playing ball in Europe?” It was then that I knew this is in my heart.
Q: What is your motivation to go all in and pursue this passion?
Raquel: To be a role model for my little sister, Jamaya. At the age of 9, Jamaya was severely bullied for the darker complexion of her skin…and I know exactly how she feels and what she was and is still going through. I want to change the way that beauty is viewed; not just the beauty of dark skin, but that beauty transcends complexion and physical features. It is about being a good example, making the right decisions, and treating others the way you want to be treated. Jamaya looks up to me so much and in-turn, it motivates me to be a good person.
Q: What’s your goal in the next few years?
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