African Fashion Week with Atem Orock

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By Atem Orock
@happyme_20

It’s been a few weeks now since The African Fashion week event took place in Houston, but boy did it leave a lasting impression! Designers from all over the city of Houston came together to showcase some of their best work. There were prints cut in all shapes, sizes, and styles that you could only dream of. The amount of talent that was seen during this event is definitely one to write about.

 

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Already at year 4 and counting, AFW is an annual event that brings fashion to you in the most entertaining way.  Every year, we are left wanting more.  With amazing DJs playing good Afro beats and good food, this event is not one to miss. The beauty of their fashion shows is the use of all size models. No one is left out and you can actually see outfits on the runway that could go in your closet right away. With the cool music, the beautifully designed outfits, and the coolest parties, AFW is easily one of the most fun event during this time of the year. If you missed this year, don’t worry, year 5 is around the corner!

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Kudos to the AFW team for a job well done. We can’t wait for the next edition. View more photos, here.  Don’t forget to follow @rockymaestyle on social media and follow me on Instagram @happyme_20.  Stay tuned, more fashion news coming your way.

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Keep Up With KaJhé

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By Robyn Alright

KaJhé is a hardworking young lady.  As a full-time student with two jobs, she is driven to ensure that her dreams become reality. Her schedule is almost always booked. Even with a busy lifestyle, KaJhé never neglects her personal style and appreciation for creativity.

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Photography by Robyn Alright

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KaJhé’s is a multi-talented artist with great fashion sense.  She enjoys singing, acting, dancing and modeling. Her style is just as diverse as her creative interests. She can easily transition from an edgy tomboyish look to an elegant, high-class boss lady.

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Her ultimate goal is to work in the fashion industry and build a brand that gives back to the community. “I want to help others and give back as I build my platform. I want to be someone that resembles a symbol of positivity and hope. I plan on using myself as a doorway that opens up nothing but opportunities for others,” KaJhé shared.

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KaJhé embraces self-improvement and always keeps an eye on influencers in the fashion industry. “A continuous vision of people doing what I love helps me to push myself. It helps me to become better at what I strive to do,” KaJhé explained.

Her faith is what keeps her focused. “The best advice I’ve ever received is to never lose faith or sight in God. Without Him my soon to be reality would remain a dream,” she says.

It is easy to see that this young lady is going places. Jump on the band wagon early and follow her on Instagram @_Keer_Sten_.

 

 

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One on One with Audrey Utti

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By Robyn Alright

Take one look at Audrey and it is easy to see that she is an elegant young lady. Look a little closer and you will see that her beauty is more than skin deep. “Without confidence, others define your worth, your capabilities and the thoughts you have about yourself.  It is very important to be confident for the sake of setting your own standards and belief systems,” Audrey expressed. In every way, Audrey shows that inner beauty is an inspirational force.

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Photography by Robyn Alright

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Audrey is an aspiring model, fashion designer and entrepreneur. She has a vision to create quality clothing that is affordable and timeless. Such ambitious goals require great motivation. Audrey keeps herself motivated by thinking positively and staying active. “There is this crazy good feeling I get when I set a task for myself and achieve it.  This feeling propels me to complete anything I set my mind to,” Audrey shares.

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Behind Audrey’s graceful demeanor, there is a little bit of a tomboy that has an affinity for super cars and classic cars. She enjoys playing the piano, playing tennis, watching anime and playing video games. She describes her personal style as a mixture of elegance and edginess. Shopping is another one of Audrey’s hobbies. Don’t be surprised if you find her wandering around H&M, Zara or Nordstrom!

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When asked what inner beauty means to her, Audrey had this to say, “To me, inner beauty is the kindness, warmth and strength you give to others without expecting anything back. We are all capable of having inner beauty. It’s a force that inspires, and drives goodness in this world. Understanding our own inner beauty and allowing it to shine is quite the force to be reckoned with.”

Audrey believes in living your life the way you want to. “You have to live your life the way that will make YOU proud and feel at peace. Put aside the thoughts and expectations of others. Do some solid research on what’s out there and choose something you will love waking up to every day,” Audrey explains. She is a firm believer that we all have to power to pave our own pathway. Perhaps, we should believe that too.

Follow Audrey on Instagram @audreyutti.

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Q&A with Model Katie Smith

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By Robyn Alright

It is my pleasure to present to some and introduce to others, Houston model, Katie Smith!  

Becoming a model was not an initial part of Katie’s plans.  However, a friend needed her to model for a brand.  Katie was a little uncertain, but she went ahead and took the gig. That is when the modeling bug bit!  After the photo shoot, she explored more opportunities to model and eventually was signed to an agency.

Katie has big hopes to expand her brand beyond modeling.  Her desire is to grow into photography, blogging and eventually fashion design. With a Master’s degree in Entertainment Technology, her creative skills are unlimited.

Katie shares her story with Rocky Mae Style™ and gives excellent advice to anyone considering the modeling profession.

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Photography by Robyn Alright

RMS:  What inspires your creativity?
KS:      Everything!  I continually seek out inspiration to keep my creative fires going.  I love traveling, learning about history and cultures, frequenting art museums, exploring boutiques, seeing as much live music and live performance as possible, attending events, and connecting with other creatives.

RMS:   When you are not involved in fashion, what are some of your other interest or hobbies?
KS:      Art and music are my loves.  I try to absorb as much visual imagery of all kinds as possible.  I’m a graphic designer, so I nerd about graphic layouts, typography, and color theory.  I sing occasional open mic nights and follow friends’ bands.  

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RMS:   How do you stay motivated to reach your goals?
KS:       I like to surround myself with positive people who are equally as passionate about pursuing their goals.  You can’t operate in a vacuum.  You need a community.  For me it is as much about connecting and supporting others’ goals as it is about pursuing my own.  Other creatives growing and building their brands give me so much hope and inspiration to grow my own.

RMS:  Where do you like to shop?
KS:      I am a brand loyalist and have a few brands that I adore.  Lane Bryant, Lineagewear, Torrid, and Eloquii are my favorites.  I am completely biased towards brands that support plus size, even though now at a size 12/14 I can crossover into brands that only extend up to a 12/14.  If you didn’t want me to wear your clothes when I was a size 28, I’m not so sure I want to wear your clothes now that I have more options.       

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RMS:  What words of wisdom would you give other inspiring models?
KS:     Don’t take it personally.  The goal of the industry is to sell clothes, not to make you a star.  Think of it like a businessperson.  Brands and designers are your clients and you need to be the look they want, have the skills they need and act like a professional.  You won’t be a good fit for all brands and all designers, and that is ok.  You will face a lot of rejection, harsh criticisms about your looks, and you have to find a place within yourself to be ok with that.

 I think some aspiring models get into it for a confidence boost, but actually it will shake your confidence to its core.  You have to love yourself first.  If the industry finds you to be a marketable product they can use for their purposes of selling clothes, then great.  If not, then let your passions take you in a different direction.  Give it a shot if you’ve got the drive, but given how few models actually make a living modeling, I wouldn’t advise anyone to make it their only career goal.

RMS:   What is the best advice you ever received?
KS:       Learn to rest, not give up.  You will get kicked down, face failures, and be discouraged.  Step back, look at the big picture, re-strategize how to reach your goals.  Find support and keep going. 

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RMS:  Share your view on the importance of being confident and having inner beauty.
KS:      Beauty is so subjective.  If you live for validation from others to feel beautiful then you are giving away your power.  It really is none of your business whether or not someone else finds you beautiful.  You cannot be all things to all people and not everyone is going to see your beauty.  Find the things in yourself that you love and hold on to that tight.  If you love yourself, it radiates out to the world as confidence, and confidence in more attractive than superficial beauty.

RMS:  Is there anything else that you would like to share?         
KS:      I’m often told “You’re too small for plus size”, even though at a 12/14 I am definitely in the plus size range.  I have been plus size my entire adult life and before losing 140 lbs. I was a size 28.  I have been every size of plus size.  It is very much a part of my identity and I love being a part of the plus sized community.

 

For more information or to book Katie, visit  www.modelkatiesmith.com. Follow her on Facebook and IG @modelkatiesmith.

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Deangela “Deedee” Jones

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Deangela cover (18)By Robyn Alright

I have made it a habit to believe in myself”, says Deangela “Deedee” Jones, an aspiring fashion designer and model. Take one look at Deedee and it is easy to see that creativity is the essence of her being. She is not short on confidence either.

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Photography by Robyn Alright

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When Deedee is not ripping the runway, she enjoys writing poetry and music. She is a talented designer and stylist whose vintage vibe is palpable.  

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Deedee represents the epitome of personal style. She shows the importance of embracing your uniqueness and sharing it with the world.

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Deedee’s talent speaks for itself. If you want to see more of her work or partner with her on future projects, contact her at deedeejones70@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow her on IG @onedtwoes.

 

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Ms. Victor: Lady of Style and Motivation

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Having a conversation with Ms. Victor is like having a pep talk with your very own motivational speaker. As an entrepreneur and model, she is a force of inspiration.  She uses her brains and beauty to challenge others, especially women, to recognize their self-worth and value. “We are mainly focused on the outside and forget the internal space,” Ms. Victor shares.  She is a testament to the fact that true beauty comes from within.

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Photos by Robyn Alright

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It is no secret that Ms. Victor loves to model. She is in her element when walking on the runway. “I feel confident that I’m giving the crowd the best show with class, style and grace,” Ms. Victor says.

For all of the upcoming models and fashionistas, here is Ms. Victor’s message to you, “Do it, regardless of your look, your height, your weight.  There is a market for you.  The wonderful thing about being you is that you no one can do you the way you do you. It’s beautiful seeing a wide range of individuals that can bring something fun, unique and new to the table. Don’t ever let the doubt of uncertainty cloud your mind. That will keep you from living.  Don’t let your dreams die still clutched to your heart.  Go for it!”

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Two things that Ms. Victor enjoys outside of modeling is Broadway and belly dancing! She swears that belly dancing is a liberating experience and that every lady should try it at least once. “It’s sensual, electrifying and it awakens your inner divinity. It will change your life!” says Ms. Victor.  Regarding Broadway, who knows, me might just see her in The Lion King someday!

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Ms. Victor stays balanced by meditating, reading and listening to classical music. She enjoys spending time with her family and running her business.  She is ambitious, adventurous and motivated to win.  “I live my life with intention and purpose. Tomorrow isn’t promise to me. I have much to gain and little to lose. My future depends on the work I’m willing to put in today. I have an example to set for the ones coming after me,” Ms. Victor said.

To learn more about Ms. Victor, visit her website, For the Royals, and be sure to follow her @iamneima on IG.

 

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Kayla Nimer: Lady of Style and Uniqueness

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“It doesn’t matter what cards you’ve been dealt in life, you can still play a good game, and you can still win!” These are the wise words of Kayla Nimer, fashion blogger and aspiring model.  She describes her style as simple and chic with a little bit of edge. “I like to mix things that I’ve purchased at different points of my life and just see how they flow. It always amazes me how I can have an item that I bought years ago, or something my Mom or my grandmother wore back in the day and it can mesh perfectly with something brand new,” Kayla shares.

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Photography by Robyn Alright

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It is easy to see that Kayla is an absolute beauty. You would be surprised to know that as a youth, Kayla struggled with her self-esteem. “I am half Nigerian and half creole, but I was also raised by a white family for a portion of my life. So I was too black, too country, too skinny, and too proper. At times, I just felt like I didn’t fit in with anyone around me,” Kayla shares.

“I was teased by all the kids. I went from a predominantly white school to a predominantly black school and I struggled to find confidence in myself at both,” said, Kayla. The teen years can be tough. But one day, Kayla decided to take control of her confidence.  She took a good look in the mirror and began to tell herself that she was beautiful and that God makes no mistakes. She kept reciting positive words until she believed it. Kayla’s birth name is Nkechi which means “Gift from God”.  As she has grown older, she truly appreciates her wonderfulness and uniqueness.

 

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There are three things that Kayla loves to do: eat, travel and be around genuine people. She is so passionate about these things, she started a Meetup group called Genuine People Unite.  The purpose of the group is to bring together people in the Houston area who wanted to meet new people who shared some of their interests. “We plan to do everything from inspiration, health and lifestyle, book clubs, open mic nights, concerts, fashion shows and travel.  “Since I’m a big foodie, we’ll definitely be checking out different restaurants,” says Kayla.

 

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To learn more about Kayla visit her blog at www.ayeeprettyblack.com and follow her on Instagram @ayeeprettyblack.

 

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Micaela Webster: Lady of Style and Freedom

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Here’s Micaela! She is a free-spirit with a bright personality. While her style is very casual and comfortable, she knows how to make a statement. She wears confidence like a crown and she understands the importance of natural beauty.

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Photography by Robyn Alright

Micaela defines beauty as being happy with who you are. She believes that true beauty is embracing the natural you and not caring about what others may think of your appearance.

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Micaela (12)Micaela participates in activities that give her creative freedom. She enjoys photography, graphic design and will design her own clothes when inspired.  Her favorite item of clothing is a jacket she created that celebrates her culture. Keep reading to see that jacket!

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Micaela has a great passion to succeed. She has refused to let difficult situations keep her from letting her light shine. To see more of Micaela, follow her on Instagram @projek_kayla. Now that jacket:

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Photo provided by Micaela Webster

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Briana Evans: Lady of Style and Triumph

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Meet Briana! She is a hair stylist and makeup artist with a bright and bubbly personality. But when she steps in front of the camera, she transforms into a fierce fashionista. Briana describes her personal style as simplistic with a smidgen of pizazz. She prefers that her shoes and accessories be the focal point of her outfit. She proves that less is more and that you can look good without overdoing it.

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Photography by Robyn Alright

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The one beauty product that Briana cannot live without is one that we all should not live without: pure shea butter. “It is my all-purpose go to for beauty fixes. I seal the moisture in my curls, moisturize my skin, add pigment and shimmer to create custom lip colors and bronzer,” Briana shares.

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Just to look at Briana, one would never know that just a few years ago, she was paralyzed from the waist down. “I woke up one morning and couldn’t feel or move my legs. After weeks, the hospital the doctors didn’t know whether or not I’d ever be able to walk again. It has taken years to reach this point of recovery and it hasn’t been easy.” It has been this experience that keeps Briana motivated to reach her goals. Her story reminds us all how unpredictable life can be. We should all be encouraged to live life to fullest.

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There is no doubt the Briana is a woman of triumph. Let her story motivate you to be fierce and fearless when it comes to making your dreams a reality.

 

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Stephanie Eaton-Henderson: Lady of Perseverance

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Stephanie’s style is fun and eclectic.  She loves to mix the old with the new and incorporate styles from different cultures. After high school, Stephanie had dreams of becoming a fashion designer or a model. A series of unfortunate events prevented that from happening. But, Stephanie is a fighter and has maintained her sense of style. 

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Photography by Robyn Alright

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“My story is not conventional,” Stephanie shares.   This is why she decided to write her book titled “My Emotional Release.” After spending years on the streets battling addiction and depression, Stephanie is getting back on her feet. Her faith in God is what keeps her motivated to persevere.

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Stephanie will not give up on reaching her goals. She admits that it is not easy, but she is determined to help herself and others.

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Stephanie truly has an amazing story.  She is a testament to what hard work and determination can accomplish. You must find the time to read this story about her in the Houston Chronicle. To say that it is inspiring is an understatement.

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