Sophomore Kara-Dove Mutombo experiences the world of fashion by modeling and doing photoshoots in New York.
“I was 14 and an agent contacted my mom and invited me to come in and do a photoshoot,” Mutombo said. “I liked it and [I] haven’t stopped since.”
Mutombo said she started modeling because it offered a different experience.
“Modeling was something new to do,” Mutombo said. “I was interested and it was mostly out of curiosity that I stuck with it. I liked that I could get pictures, go to places and meet people.”
Mutombo said she enjoys modeling for boutiques because the clothing is high fashion, and she wants to help support the designers.
“I personally like high fashion more,” Mutombo said. “These boutiques feature designers who are in the high fashion world and are trying to get known. They are real designers who put a lot of effort into their designs. I want to be able to help them get their things known.”
Mutombo said that modeling has taught her to be more self-assured.
“Because of modeling I’ve been more confident,” Mutombo said. “I feel like I’ve become a different person because of modeling. I don’t know who I would be without it. It helped me expand myself.”
For Mutombo, mainstream media and social platforms overshadow the work put into modeling with negative suggestions about the industry.
“There’s so many negative views of modeling, but there’s also positive,” Mutombo said. “People don’t know there’s a whole world to modeling. They think women are beautiful, but starving and insecure. But there’s so much work. You don’t just show up. You have to go to castings, fittings and meet so many people.”
According to Mutombo, modeling is more than the luxurious lifestyle people often associate it with.
“[People] think of the photos, and they think it’s so glamorous, but there’s so much time that has to be put into each individual thing,” Mutombo said. “It’s stressful because their entire career is based on how they look.”
Mutombo said she focuses on runway modeling because it mixes her interest of high fashion with her tall physique.
“I prefer runway modeling the most,” Mutombo said. “I’m not closed off to others, but with runway modeling it’s more of a high fashion thing. I think it’s more serious. It’s not really for money. I’m a tall person and not many people can do runway modeling, so in a way I’m special and I like that.”
Although pressures come with modeling, Mutombo said she chooses to work on her skills and mental strength.
“[After a bad photoshoot] I would go to my mirror and practice poses, but I made sure to never do anything dangerous,” Mutombo said. “I learned to be confident in who I am. It’s easy to get so
aked up in it. Of course, there are girls who are better, prettier and taller but you just can’t let that get to you.”
Mutombo said she is aware of the criticism that comes her way because of modeling, but she opts to ignore the negativity.
“Modeling isn’t a big deal, and that’s okay because I’m always going to do what I want to do,” Mutombo said.