Kari Robinson On the Beauty & Struggles of Being a Minority in the World of Modeling

When Kari was first approached by a modeling representative, she was skeptical. But, she decided to take the required courses anyway. Months later, she signed with the agency and today she walks runways locally and abroad. A current college student, she is positive about her modeling career and has appeared on Greater Day Houston, in the Houston Chronicle, and has been recognized by countless other notable publications.

Read her story below:

 

How did you get into modeling?

I was scouted at the Galleria mall in Houston. At first my mom and I were skeptical but we met with the agency representative and I took the required courses. Following that, I was signed within a few months and booked various jobs around Houston. 

 

What are your greatest accomplishments so far?

My greatest accomplishment so far is my son. I am so proud of where both him and I are in life. I had him at 18 and had so many obstacles. Through the support of my family and my faith in God, we have both grown. Being a mother has taught me to be patient, and showed me strength I never knew I possessed. 

What obstacles have you had to overcome in the modeling industry?

With modeling comes many obstacles. You have to maintain an image and weight and you have tough competition. But my number one obstacle is being a minority. Many brands and people in the industry feel like black isn't as beautiful or our hair is hard to deal with. It doesn't really bother me anymore but I honestly feel like the industry should be more diverse instead of having that one token black model. It's slowly changing so I do have hope for the future. Clients are really learning to accept the natural models and it really makes me happy that not everyone is closed minded. 

How do you prepare for a modeling shoot?

Preparation for a shoot requires drinking lots of water the days leading up to the shoot, working out, making sure I've moisturized my entire body (coconut oil is essential) and taking care of my skin.  I try to do masks to make the job easier for the make-up artists. No crazy sugary or fried foods or sodas that may cause my skin to break out or that can cause me to bloat. Also, I never show up without my model bags, so I make sure that is also ready prior to any shoot I may have.

What advice do you have for aspiring models? 

Never give up! There will be people that don't like you and that will slam the door in your face but there will also be clients that love you.

Never give up! There will be people that don’t like you and that will slam the door in your face but there will also be clients that love you


You CANNOT give up. You also have to have a tough skin. Modeling isn't for the weak hearted. You must also recognize that there are different types of modeling. Just because you aren't 5'10 and can't do runway doesn't mean you can't model at all. Stay persistent, stay relevant and network. 

What favorite quote do you live by?

I live by the quote; “tomorrow is always a new day.” Some days can be rough and you may feel hopeless. I thank God that each day is a new one to start over fresh and accomplish tasks that may have defeated me the previous day.

What are your plans for the future? Where can we find your work?

My future plans are graduating from University of Houston with my Bachelors in Consumers Science and traveling the world.

As of now, I've been doing a lot of show production as a model coordinator and back of the house director. I work with Runway Houston. You can find my work with them on their website and Instagram. I’ve also worked with the Houston Community Colleges' annual spring and fall shows. I work with a lot of new, local emerging designers like Alan Gonzales' ALANTUDE. We've been privileged to appear on Great Day Houston and featured on the Chron.com.

I also work at Neal Hamil Agency preparing models for all things modeling related. I have my hand in a little bit of everything. I'm also the face of True Beauty Hair. The list of clients can go on forever but those are just a few I could think of off the top of my head. I enjoy helping others succeed. Over the years, I've learned it's about team work. We all can benefit and learn from one another and that mindset has truly helped me get further in life. 

Stay up to date with Kari by following her on Instagram, @k_nailah.