Name: Caitlyn Mwenifumbo
Photographer: Victor Fuentes
1. What inspired you to get into this industry?
I've always had an appreciation for not only taking pictures of myself, but taking pictures in general. I remember when I was in 5/6th grade watching ANTM religiously and by the 7/8th graded I was taking hours out of my day to go outside and take pictures of myself. I'm an artist so this whole idea of art and what the camera can capture has always been a love of mine. I basically continued to take my own pictures which led to the growth of my social media pages 2 years ago. It wasn't until I collaborated with a local photographer (and now friend)--Rannel Ngumuya--that I actually started to consider modeling. We shot in July of 2016 and now I'm working with a handful of different photographers in Chicago/Detroit areas!
2. How long have you been modeling?
I've been promoting clothing brands/have been considered an IG model for a year and a half, but have been marketing/working on my modeling outside of IG for about 6 months.
3. Who is your favorite model?
Gosh--can anyone truly pick? There are so many models I look up to and think are absolutely gorgeous, but Tyra Banks has always been my inspirations for as long as I can remember. Outside of the queen, Cara Delevingne and Jasmine Sanders have also been people I've always looked up to since I started considering modeling as a possibility for me. Since then, I've grown a huge appreciation for Ashley Graham!! She's definitely one of my favorites now and one of my biggest inspirations for confidence and creating my own lane.
4. Were you always comfortable in your own skin and in front of the camera?
Yes. I honestly blame my mom for the camera loving person that I am (lol). I was her first child so she always had me posing and ready to take pictures; I also feel like I have a natural appreciation for the camera, but she definitely initiated it.
5. Did you have any mentors who really helped mold and guide you?
Looking back on it, no I haven't. I started my social media pages myself and have always done my own thing. In fact it wasn't until I worked with Rannel that I was given any type of advice on what the industry is made of and what to do/not to do. I've been receiving some helpful tips from photographers along the way, but I practically started everything myself.
6. Do you have any tips for aspiring models in the industry?
My biggest advice is to find who you are--especially in front of the camera. I've always loved taking photos so I've grown into my own style and look and I've found that some gigs/photographers don't fit that specific style. Especially for new aspiring models it's important to find what you're comfortable with and what fits YOU. Once someone is signed or is working with brands its easier to keep building on the path you've created, but until then figure out what inspires you, makes you feel good, and compliments who you are/what your style is. Oh and don't work with just anyone claiming to be a photographer!!! Many of them have decent cameras and call themselves photographers but don't have the artistic qualities of a good photographer--that'll bring your image down.
7. Do you have a WTF moment at a shoot?
I've worked with a couple photographers who didn't really know what to say or how to direct. I haven't been modeling officially for too long, but within this short time I've figured out that it's a team effort for the production of great photos. I've also worked with a couple photographers that do the same thing for every model/client and I don't think that's very tasteful--let's do something different and creative you know?
8. What are some of the biggest revelations you've discovered through modelling?
I've connected with some pretty amazing people doing big and great things since I've started! Through them I've connected with more people and that's one of the biggest things I love about this industry--when you make connections it can really lead you to some awesome opportunities. I'm seeing a lot more in my future, but for doing this for 6 months I've created some great relationships.
9. Tell us something random about yourself.
I am the oldest of 10 kids, 8 in my mom's house hold then two more at my dads--so family is very important to me. My mom is my hero and I don't know how she does it with 8 kids, but she and the rest of my wild family definitely motivate me to become the best version of myself--they're truly my biggest support system! I know this is a little personal/touching, but they're a huge part of my life and I couldn't do anything without them... I wish I can set up a TV show for them sometime in the future so everyone can enjoy and be entertained by their daily shenanigans, but they're some pretty special people and I love them to the moon and back.
10. What are you most proud of?
I'm most proud of the fact that I keep growing and am consistently getting bigger and I've pretty much done it myself. I have people/my family who have helped me along the way, but no one told me to do this or pushed me to do this--this is definitely my greatest project with a promising future.
11. When it's all said and done, what do you want to be remembered as?
I want to be remembered as someone who created something amazing out of passion and the fear of being like everyone else. I do what I feel is best for me and I've always stayed true to who I am. I do things based off what I like to do and what my heart holds; I'm a genuine person and I want people to know that this whole thing comes from a place of truth, passion, and beauty rather than attention and status. I believe being genuine is one of the most important qualities to have in this life and if no one can remember me for anything else, I want them to know that I am genuine in every way possible.