Feature Fridays: Kyle Sterling

You may recognize Kyle from my Williamsburg Fashion Recap post, where I call him my "absolute favorite" model of the night.  Not only was Kyle fierce, confident and memorable on the runway, but he was sweet, friendly and very approachable backstage. Kyle Sterling is an up and coming New York based model with big dreams and a good head on his shoulders. I'm very happy to present to you, Kyle Sterling. I have no doubt that you will be completely enamored by him, just as I was!

Tell us about yourself!
My name is Kyle Sterling, I just turned 22 this month on March 2 and I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. I'm more of your everyday guy despite what many would think.

How long have you been modeling and how did you get into it?
I've been modeling for almost 3 years. I never envisioned myself being a model honestly, I think most high fashion models go through that awkwardness of not seeing the potential in themselves I guess. But I actually finally considered it because if you're being approached on multiple occasions about something, it must mean there's something there... So pretty much I was scouted a few times :)

You're a young black model doing your thing everywhere from New York to London! How is the industry treating you?
I'm just starting to see some of the benefits of my hard work and it feels good. It is very hard being black in this industry, but I always remembered what my first agent said to me when I started. As we were on our way to Miami for a trip, he said, "You have the potential to have a career that most black male models would dream of..." He always saw my potential of working in Europe and to an extent, a lot of things he has said to me have came true. But this is only the beginning, I have a lot of new things coming out so I'm preparing for the next step of my journey.

Describe your style! What inspires you?
Despite my pictures, my everyday style is actually very simplistic. I think being simplistic is important for a model being that you're supposed to present yourself as a blank clean canvas. So lots of time you will see me in basic v-necks, skinny jeans and combats boots with my portfolio book in-hand. I love to wear black because I love Paris and I like Calvin Klein's clean aesthetic as far as my everyday wear. My favorite designers as far as statement pieces would be like Rick Owens, Jean Paul Gaultier and Dior Homme. Less is more to me. 

What is the best part of modeling?
It's a career where you're meeting people that you would never normally meet in the real world. I'm a very spontaneous person and I love the fact that this job is chaotic, lots of things are unexpected and not to mention that I love to travel. I love the fact that I can go to a club or be backstage at a show and meet guys and girls from completely different parts of the world. Also, I'm a very creative person, so the fact that my face can be apart of someone else's creative vision is really really exciting to me.

How does your cultural identity manifest itself in your work?
It manifests as a big part because I feel as if it's extremely sad that there's such a lack of diversity in this business. I even remember when I lived in London how I was told that I was beautiful by an agency I walked into, but they didn't want to take me for the reason that's there's little work for black models. I've heard stories like that prior to my move overseas, but I didn't believe them to be so real until I experienced it myself. For a while and still to this day, you see mostly white models in major advertising and getting the major contracts. It's taught me how to be aware and proud of who I am as well as learning that I have to fight harder to even be close to the same page as my white counterparts, especially with me being a black editorial model. I dream of a day when we'll see people of all colors in high-end campaigns, not just one black girl on the side, if that. But when I see work of Naomi Campbell, Iman, Yasmin Warsame and Beverly Peele, it empowers me to stick with it and fight it out in this business. 

Any exciting upcoming projects?
I have an advertising campaign coming out soon and also I'm going to be a part of another special effects make-up shoot in April similar to a spread that I did in London last year. A few runway shows also that I was scouted for while riding on the train coincidentally. I might be in South Africa this summer and hopefully I'm going back to Europe soon. I'm always in movement so there's always things going on. 

My readers are interested in maintaining life balance through the arts, culture, and holistic health. How do you maintain balance Kyle?
Well I maintain balance through good philosophy and grounding myself. I try to work on taking the "higher road" in lots of situations and being an overall good person. I'm human at the end of the day, but I try to be as helpful to people as possible. I'm a big art lover, my dream date would be at an art gallery with some fruits and champagne. I'm dreaming of that, of course. I like to go to museums when I'm not focused on fashion and modeling projects because they give me perspective. Also they remind me of when I was little and the weekends I would spend with my mom when she would take me to them. I used to be a gym freak last year, but now I'm getting back into that mode for the summertime. Working out to some good deep South African house music is a good way I clear my mind away from fashion.

How can we contact you and stay up to date with your work?
I post a lot new things on my facebook account, even though it's impossible to post everything because I have lots of pictures now compared to when I started. I can be searched as "Kyle Sterling" on facebook basically. I accept lots of new friend requests too, I don't bite. I'm a little old school and I'm discovering that I'm a very personal type of person, so I'm no into social media as much as my generation when it's comes to other social media sites. So if I'm contacted that way, I can exchange emails or network with some people. This question is making me think of investing in a website :)

Anything else you want to tell us?
This is the most interesting question of all. I'm a very down to earth person who likes to get to know interesting individuals and people that strive to be different. I love big personalities and I'm attracted to hanging out with people that are distinctive in their own ways, not following the crowd. I like to travel, I feel like New York is my stomping ground and London and Paris are my second homes. Hopefully Cape Town will join that list if I get to visit. I'm a big music fan. I love deep house, R&B, Kuduro, Samba, Hip Hop and pretty much anything with percussion, anything upbeat with rhythm and nice melodic vocals. That's me!

Thanks Kyle!

Feature Fridays highlights people of color (with a special focus on those of Haitian descent) and organizations who are doing meaningful wok everywhere from the arts, music, and fashion, to politics, business and the non-profit world. 
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