Name: Xamika Beronio
Location: Albuquerque New Mexico
Photographer: Gio Rhivers
Makeup Artist: Jacqueline Chavez
Hair Stylist: Oscar Garcia
1. What inspired you to get into this industry?
I've always been inspired by models in magazines, and the way they portrayed themselves so luxuriously. There was just something about the way they expressed emotions through body language and style, that really captured my attention. That, and my mother had a lot of friends in the photography industry that influenced me while I grew up. In high school I started practicing in front of mirrors and taking photos of myself. I did my first photoshoot around the end of my junior year in high school, and that's when I realized I really liked to model and that that was something I wanted to pursue in the future.
2. How long have you been modeling?
I've been modeling for about two years now this coming October! I started modeling as a hobby after I graduated high school. I didn't take it seriously until after a year though.
3. Who is your favorite model?
My favorite model is Marta Piekarz! I love looking through her Instagram. She's gorgeous and has such a wide range of facial expressions!
4. Were you always comfortable in your own skin and in front of the camera?
I was pretty shy as a child, and I grew up with a lot of self-esteem issues. But I was always comfortable in front of a camera, and loved taking selfies and getting my photo taken. It wasn't until junior year of high school when I started taking care of my body more. I got more comfortable in my skin and just started posing in front of mirrors more, taking more photos of myself, etc.
5. Did you have any mentors who really helped mold and guide you?
Before I got into modeling, I did a lot of cosplay. I got close to a makeup artist, Eunice Enrera, who opened my eyes into what modeling really was. She helped me realize the work and dedication that went into all the photos I admired online and in magazines, and she even helped set me up with my first few photoshoots.
6. Do you have any tips for aspiring models in the industry?
References! Always ask for references. When you're shooting with someone new, it helps to ask around the local community and see what other people's experiences with that person is. It also helps you network, which is another big thing when you're starting to model. This industry runs on who you know and your connections, and it helps to know people to get access to resources and talent in the area.
7. Do you have a WTF moment at a shoot?
Once, I was shooting for the cover of this magazine some time ago. The theme was fantasy body paint, and I was going to do the shoot with another model. The body paint took forever! There was only one makeup artist and no one else to do hair, and so I had to sit at the studio and wait for the other model to finish up with hair and makeup first before she could get to me. I ended up falling asleep for about two hours or so. When I woke up they still weren't done! What's worse, the makeup artist didn't go with the concept and decided to do her own thing, which ruined our shot at the cover. All that work and we never got published!
8. What are some of the biggest revelations you've discovered through modelling?
Modeling has made me realize a lot of things about society and about me as a person. I've always grown up attracted to aesthetics and physical beauty, but that completely changed when I started taking modeling more seriously. I realized that physical beauty only gives you so much, and if anything, it's just personal gratification. I've also realized that a lot of people are intimidated by beauty. It's hard to reach out to certain people and get some stuff done because of that.
9. Tell us something random about yourself.
I like to build computers! I love breaking them down and wiring stuff up. I find it very therapeutic and relaxing. I'm also a huge video game nerd; I could play PC games all day!
10. What are you most proud of?
I'm most proud of the fact that a lot of the things I have today, I've worked hard for myself. A lot of the people in my family just get things handed to them, so it feels nice to be able to say that I earned what I have.
11. When it's all said and done, what do you want to be remembered as?
I'd want to be remembered as someone who's given back to the community. I want to build myself to be successful enough to, say, fund shelters to house rescued puppies from puppy mills. Or help the homeless shelters around my hometown. I just want to be able to give back in the future, and know that the world is a little better because I helped out.