Model Highlight: Adwoa Aboah

Our Model Highlight goes to Adowa Aboah

Adwoa Aboah is a British fashion model.  Considered to be one of the most photographed people in the world, she has graced the covers of US, Spanish, German, Italian, Mexican, British, and Polish Vogue covers and Time Magazine. Aboah’s parents were fashion industry location scouts and photographers. Her sister Kesewa Aboah is also a model. She has walked for major brands like Fendi, Versus (Versace), Calvin Klein, Kenzo, Fenty x Puma just to name a few. In 2017 she was named British GQ’s “Woman of the Year”!

She is not only a model but an actress. She landed her first Hollywood role in Ghost in the Shell and has performed in numerous short films and videos. Due to her own personal struggles with sobriety, dyslexia, and depression, she created an organization in 2017 called Gurls Talk because she was concerned about the shortage of mental health resources for young women. Aboah suffered from her own struggles with sobriety.  In 2020, during the COVID-19 she created #CreativeTogether to connect people through creativity and combat some of the anxiety surrounding quarantine.

Aboah considers herself as an activist first, and a model second.

Follow her movement on Instagram: @adwoaaboah

Photo Credit: The Guardian,, The Jewelry Editor

Contributing Writer: Lauren Burford, VP of the Pearls

Model Highlight: Mika Schneider

Our Model Highlight goes to Mika Schneider

This French-Japanese beauty is making her mark on the fashion scene. Described as tranquil, self-disciplined, and sure, Mika Schneider debuted at Prada Spring/Summer 2020 last Fall. Make no mistake, although a newcomer on the scene, she is no stranger to modeling. Schneider’s mother modeled in Japan.

Schneider began modeling in Japan but was not scouted. Schneider was discovered on Instagram after her mother took pictures of her and sent them to the agencies she knew had good reputations. Her father works for an international company so she has moved most of her life and has adjusted to traveling. She learned to speak Japanese, French, English, and Russian! 

She’s already landed opportunities with Tom Ford and Louis Vuitton and has done a few editorials. She is currently signed to Bon Image. Here are a few words of wisdom from the model regarding her life in the industry, “It’s not stable – you travel, you can work hours and hours one a day and not work four days after. It’s unpredictable. But it’s also exciting because you never know.” (Twenty Minutes with Mika Schneider-Paris Edition).

Follow her on Instagram: @mikascnhdr

Photo Credit: The Fashion Spot, Anne of Carversville, & Leah Cultice

Contributing Writer: Lauren Burford, VP of the Pearls

Model Highlight: Allana Santos Brito

Our Model Highlight goes to Allana Santos Brito

Meet model, Allana Santos Brito. This beauty hails from Salvador Bahia, Brazil. With such striking features and a strong gaze, it’s no wonder she was discovered last year while on a trip to her local beach. The 20 year old has been in demand since her debut with Prada this spring.  Allana is signed to Next Management New York, Next Management London, Look 1 Model Management, and has already landed a feature in British Vogue! She has quickly become a favorite of designers like Versace, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Dior, Valentino, and Mara Mara just to name a few. She has been named a top new comer for 2020! Keep your eyes on her; she’s definitely a rising star!

Follow her on Instagram: @allanabritoo

Photo Credit:

Contributing Writer: Lauren Burford, VP of the Pearls

Model Highlight: Alexis Ruby

Our Model Highlight goes to Alexis Ruby!


This freckle-faced beauty made her debut on the runway at the Marc Jacobs 2020 Spring show. Alexis is Kentucky born and Atlanta raised and is of Irish and African-American descent. At the tender age of 23 years-old, this songstress turned model, is making waves in the fashion world. Many models begin their careers as teenagers but there was something special about Alexis Ruby!

Aside from her love of singing gospel music, Ruby decided to help a friend a pose in front of the camera. Her photos ended up on social media and were discovered by an agent who invited her to New York City to meet several agencies; she was signed to IMG models! She is very astute and aware of her role as a curvier model. She credits fashion model, Ashley Graham as for paving the way for models like her. Ruby says her mental and physical health is paramount and recognizes that she must put herself first; this makes her a better daughter, and person. Designer Marc Jacobs describes Ruby as professional and witty; she is a necessity in today’s industry! 

Follow her on Instagram: @lexpfromthevill

Photo Credit:
Contributing Writer: Lauren Burford, VP of the Pearls

Model Highlight: Alton Mason

Our model highlight goes to Alton Mason!  This fresh, 22 year old model, was named Australia’s male model of the year in 2019. How was he discovered you ask? On Instagram! He did not aspire to be a model, he dreamed of being a dancer. He was scouted on Instagram while dance for choreographer, Laurieann Gibson! Mason has danced on the BET awards for some legendary artists.

In 2016, rapper/designer Kanye West afforded Mason the opportunity to walk in New York Fashion Week to present his Yeezy Season 3 collection. In May 2017, Gucci selected Mason to present its 2018 Gucci cruise collection. According to Mason, “I’ve made many sacrifices to be where I am in my career. The highlight thus far would have to be the Gucci campaign. My little brothers and sisters are proud to know that I had a hand in a masterpiece that projected acknowledgement, inclusion, and diversity.” Another turning point in Mason’s career was the Chanel Métiers d’Art collection unveiling at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Mason was the first black male to grace the runway for Chanel!

Even with all of his accomplishments, the coronavirus pandemic shaped Mason’s outlook on life. He said he is grateful to be with his family, and that his outlook on unconditional love and unity has heightened. His family keeps him inspired and motivated to be his best self. 

This young model seems to be a grounded, well-rounded individual with a flourishing career and a bright future ahead of him.

Follow him on Instagram: @altonmason

Photo Credit: Nicola Formichetti-IMG Models, Hunger TV
Contributing Writer: Lauren Burford, VP of the Pearls

Model Highlight: Joan Smalls

Joan Smalls Rodriguez was born in Hatillo, Puerto Rico, USA. She began her modeling career after graduating from InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 2007. At the young age of 19, she was signed to Elite Model Management and began modeling for department stores such as Nordstrom’s. She then moved to IMG models and landed brands such as Givenchy and Victoria’s Secret. In 2012 she was named, Model of the Year!  Smalls appeared on 11 international editions of VogueHarper’s Bazaar, i-D, Interview, Porter, Love, American ElleT Magazine, and more. Aside from print advertisements and runway, she took a leap of faith and made a small business venture; Smalls partnered with Estee Lauder. She still enjoys modeling but feels that it is important to contribute to her community. She is involved with various non-profit organizations and is very socially cognizant of the issues all of over the world. One of her favorite organizations is the Garden of Dreams Foundation; an organization dedicated to helping children facing obstacles such as homelessness, extreme poverty, illnesses, and foster care challenges.

Joan always remembers the words of her mother, ” Joan remember, you’re the star…not star as in celebrity star, like a bright star.”

Follow Joan on Instagram at: @joansmalls

Photo Credit: IMG Models, Getty Images
Contributing Writer: Lauren Burford, VP of the Pearls


Model Highlight: Shanina Shaik

Hey Lovelies!

Our model highlight goes to the beautiful Shanina Shaik! Shanina Shaik was born in Melbourne, Australia. She is of Pakistani and Lithuanian descent! Her modeling journey began at the age of eight years old by appearing in a TV commercial for Hyundai!
When Shaik began high school, her modeling career took a pause, she was in an accelerated program that allowed her to graduate a year before her classmates. At the age of 15 years old, Shaik entered an Australian reality show called ” Make Me A Supermodel” and finished as runner-up! 
 In Autumn/Winter of 2009 Shaik walked in eight shows and opened for Yeolee. She has worked with Mara Hoffman, Urban Outfitters, Victoria’s Secret, Jason Wu, Vogue India, Harper Bazaar’s Singapore, Arabia, Australia, Vietnam, and many more!  In an interview Shaik shares her upbringing as a Muslim and states ” I was born and raised Muslim and I lived a very normal lifestyle. My father is very open to my job and understanding and he is grateful of who I have become. I’m a very sophisticated and respectful woman. I had a great upbringing and a great lifestyle with my sibling.”
Photo credit: Emirates Woman, Vanity Fair

Contributing Writer: Jeysika Henry, Fashion Show Production Manager/Social Media Manager


Model Highlight: Ugbad Abdi

Hey Lovelies!! 

Our model highlight goes to the beautiful Ugbad Abdi! Abdi was born in Kismayo, Somalia! Due to the Somali Civil War, Abdi and her family quickly left for a refugee camp in Kenya and from there they moved to Des Moines, Iowa with the help of UNICEF.  After she graduated high school, Abdi was discovered on Instagram, she went to New York to meet with representatives and signed with Next Management!
Abdi’s career began when she debuted on the runway for Valentino’s Haute Couture show in 2018/2019. She has worked with New York Fashion Week, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Chanel, Miu Miu, Burberry, Fendi, and many more! In 2019 she graced the issues of American, British, and Arabian editions of Vogue magazine. Abdi stays true to her Muslim faith by wearing her Hijab while modeling and became the first runway model to wear her Hijab in Fendi and Lanvin’s fashion show! 
Photo credit: Vogue Japan, British Vogue, and Twitter

Contributing Writer: Jeysika Henry, Fashion Show Production Manager/Social Media Manager

Model Highlight: Liya Kebede

Liya Kebede was born and raised in Addis, Ababa, Ethiopia! Kebede was discovered by a film director while attending school at Lycee Guebre-Mariam and was introduced to a French modeling agent. Once Kebede finished her studies, she relocated to France to pursue her modeling career through a Parisian agency. Her career in the fashion industry skyrocketed when Tom Ford presented Kebede with the opportunity to have an exclusive contract for his Gucci Fall/Winter 2000 fashion show. In May 2002, she graced the cover of Paris Vogue in which the whole  issue was dedicated to her. From there, she has been on the covers of Japanese, French, American, Italian, and Spanish Vogue, V, and many more! Kebede has also been in campaign ads with Gap, Yves Saint-Laurent, Victoria’s Secret, Revlon and more! In 2003, she became the face of Estee Lauder Cosmetics and was the only Ethiopian to do so!

Kebede is not only a model, actress, and entrepreneur, she is also an activist. Her activism is dedicated to reducing the maternal, newborn, and child mortality in Ethiopia. She founded her non-profit organization called Liya Kebede Foundation:

Kebede is a true inspiration who does it all!

Contributing Writer: Jeysika Henry, Fashion Show Production Manager/Social Media Manager

Photo Credit: Annie Leibovitz


Liris Crosse was born in Randallstown, Maryland! Crosse is a model, actress and author! In the modeling industry Crosse is a pioneer for plus-size and African-American women; she has worked with American Vogue, Essence and British Cosmopolitan Magazines.

Also, she has done campaigns for Lane Bryant and Ashley Stewart! Crosse was the first plus-size model that won Project Runway in 2017! The state of Maryland presented Crosse with the Plus Print Model of the Year award and 500 award from The Block Association. In addition, Crosse has also graced the movie industry with her appearances in the films “The Best Man”, “Baby Boy” and Crosse’s documentary named “Perfect Her”, television series “The Wire”, “Law & Order SVU” and many more! Crosse also in the author of the book called Make The World Your Runway: Top Model Secrets for Everyday Confidence and Success! Crosse’s motto is “If you think it, you can do it!” She encourages and motivates others to follow and achieve their dreams! 

You can follow her on Instagram @lirisc

Photo credit: Runwaylive, Baltimore Times

Contributing Writer: Jeysika Henry, Fashion Show Production Manager/Social Media Manager