At 27-years-old, Atlanta based model, Deyanna Denyse, is still discovering parts of herself that she never knew existed.
She comes from a medium style home that was ran by her Grandmother, which was filled with boarders (older men that her Grandmother would take care of). And like most Black families, she was raised in areligious household where her Grandfather was a renowned preacher, so she spent a great deal of Sundays in church for most of her life.
Growing up she looked up to her mother, who is a single mother of three, Deyanna being the oldest. After leaving her Grandmother’s house, she and her sisters moved with their mother and their lives changed for the better.
“My mother was strict but loving in her own way,” Denyse explained. “She worked two jobs and attended nursing school. Watching my mom build our nest from scratch inspired me to be the woman I am today.”
Throughout grade and high school, Deyanna embodied a great sense of discipline, so it wasn’t a surprise that she decided to join the Army where she spent five years of her adult life as a United States Solider, which was quite endearing to say the least.
“That experience truly helped me evolve mentally and emotionally,” Deyanna stated.
After retiring from the military, she discovered yoga through a good friend of hers. After being released from the military, this practice helped her get through the tough transition of assuming she had her life figured out to being back to (or so it appeared) square one.
“Yoga transformed my life so much,” she explains. “I dedicated my time and efforts guiding others to the healing I found for myself. This my friends, is how modeling came about. My mother told me as a child I would model; however, after a few bookings and failed attempts, I was no longer interested, or so I thought.”
After curating a nude yoga event with a good friend of hers, one of the attendees asked if he could capture Deyanna, agreeing she posed for this photographer not realizing what would come of it all. After posting the images online, the photos went viral. One photoshoot after another, Ms. Deyanna was building a brand/ legacy without her fully understanding it. All she knew is that she wanted to spread body positivity along with self-love and awareness.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Deyanna, where she chatted more on her journey to self-awareness and self-love. Check out the interview below:
Growing up and still to this day who are your inspirations/mentors?
Growing up I had a great deal of people who I have gained inspiration from. Currently, I must be honest, as cliché as this may sound, but God is currently my source of inspiration.
When did you discover your passion for the arts and modeling?
I’ve always liked art; both of my parents are artist. I was introduced to Art modeling by a gallery owner by the name of Eugene Byrd. I realized the importance of being a muse and what that entails.
How did you first get into modeling?
My mother knew I would be a model since I was a kid. She would take me to events and bookings all the time. I didn’t have enough confidence at that time to believe it could be true. After hosting a nude yoga event, a photographer asked to shoot with me. After shooting and sharing the images, one thing led to another.
What was your first modeling job? Were the nerves and feelings you were experiencing as frightening or exciting as you thought?
My first modeling gig was at Apache Café. I wasn’t as nervous because I’ve been teaching Nude Yoga prior to going. I did wonder how others would interpret me artistically, though.
How did you transition into being a nude model?
I just did it. I saw the path and it opened for me to follow. I did it, shamelessly!
Is there such a big difference modeling with clothes or nude in the industry is there a discrepancy?
To be honest, I believe it takes way more confidence to pose nude; however, you get paid more to model clothing due to obvious reasons. There isn’t a big difference. Both areas require the same level of self-awareness.
Do you believe in that in society it is proactive to see more models nude in the free natural form?
I personally think so; however, to due the fact that nudity is overly sexualized in the U.S., I’m not sure how proactive it really is. Maybe a movement is necessary; changing the narrative of nudity across all platforms.
In your opinion is the way fashion made and the more revealing of skin the reason society is becoming more sexualized?
I honestly feel like if we as people didn’t make it so taboo to begin with, it wouldn’t be sexualized; however, as of now, yes. This is a nature of society at this time, which is more of a reason to go against the grain and pose nude to normalize the body.
When you get shot for the photographs, you have very creative and unique work, but who comes up with the themes, titles, and poses?
The photographer comes up with the locations. Most of the time I pose myself and come up with themes and titles.
How many photo shoots or jobs have you done so far? Have you been featured in any galleries?
Wow! I’ve done so many in such a short period of time. I’m currently featured in SULLEN, a solo exhibit by Eugene Byrd at Future Gallery. I’ve done at least 100 jobs and posed for at least 250 artists face to face and virtually, within the two years that I’ve been modeling.
What are some great words of wisdom and advice you can offer our readers and aspiring models?
My favorite quote of all time is, “Do not confess to live a better life that you are not willing to lift a finger to create.” Also, “The only competition you have is your own ego” , and “How you see yourself is a direct reflection of how others see you.”
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