Diva Davanna is strutting her stuff into the hearts of the fashion industry as she graces the runway with her signature walk that makes supermodels stop and stare. Not sure if this is true? Well she definitely caught the attention of stellar modeling coach and judge of ANTM, Ms. Jay Alexander. He thought that she was so fierce that he had to introduce her to the modeling diva and entrepreneur, Tyra Banks. When Tyra saw her moves, she was then featured on Cycle 13 of America's Next Top Model and she showed the ladies how to walk with the fierceness of a lion and the grace of a ballet dancer.
For the Diva, her fabulous walk and recognition didn’t come without a lot of hard work. At the age of three, she began walking in her mother’s fashion shows. In her very first show, she was so nervous that she walked off the stage. But with the encouragement of family and her twin sister who also took the stage and killed it, she decided to give it a go and it has been green lights ever since.
At the very young age of eleven (her birthday is November 30th), she had been featured in more than 200 fashion shows and request for her to be in more shows continues to rise. She is so booked that there is a waiting list. But she was eager to chat it up with me and all of you YHC readers about her life in the fashion world and how she sees herself in the future of fashion and a legacy of the catwalk.
Check out the interview!
YHC: When did you realize that you wanted to model?
Diva: Well, my mom used to have fashion shows when I was a about 3 years old but I couldn’t walk that good on the runway but I kept getting on stage when my mom had practice with the other models so I could get better. Then one day I asked my mom if I could be in her fashion show, but when it was time for me to walk at the kids fashion show, I was so nervous I ran off stage, but my twin sister, Dejohnna who had never practiced, walked the runway better than me…lol. So I came back on stage and I did really well.
YHC: What was your interest in modeling?
Diva: I always like to take pictures, dress up in my mommy big shoes, wear wigs and be like Diana Ross, so I knew if I was a model on stage I would let to do that all the time.
YHC: What did your family and friends think of your choice in modeling?
Diva: Everybody thought it was fun, but nobody knew it would make me DIVA DAVANNA, we thought I would just do my mommy’s fashion shows and that’s it. But my mom’s friend Timotheous Smart (Timmy) started training me to model when I turned 4 years old. He makes all my outfits and does my hair and make-up for my shows. He told my mom that I had a nice walk at 4 years old and that she should put me in more fashion shows, and when Timmy kept training me I got better so my mom put me in more shows. I then started getting calls to be in shows.
YHC: How does your family support you in your career?
Diva: I think if I didn’t have my family there I couldn’t live my dream. Sometimes when I get a little nervous about a fashion show coming up, my sisters talk to me and make me feel better. My mom is always back stage with me and my good friend Timmy is always there too.
YHC: What was your transition like from “cute little girl” to “extraordinary model”?
Diva: It was amazing because I used to play in my mommy’s big shoes and walk like I was a super star on stage, so when I got my first pair of little heels it was like I had got a new bike…lol. I was so excited that I couldn’t wait to put them on and model in them. After so many shows I wanted to be a diva on the runway.
YHC: How do you handle school and modeling?
Diva: Well it’s ok. I go to school during the week and after my homework some days I have to practice and other days I get to just have fun at home. I also go out with my family to dinner, the movies, girl scouts, and play with my friends.
YHC: What modeling agency are you with?
Diva: A lot of people ask my mom that question, I’m not with an agency and I never was signed to one either. My mom said she wish I was with an agency; maybe it would be less work for her….lol.
YHC: Who are the models you admire?
Diva: I really admire Tyra Banks.
YHC: What was is it like to work with Tyra Banks?
Diva: I was really nervous and scared to meet her, that’s why I started crying when I was on her show, but it was still like a dream come true to meet her.
YHC: Who else have you worked with in the fashion industry?
Diva: I enjoyed working with Ms. Jay on America’s Next Top Model. He was funny and made me feel comfortable. I did fashion shows with some Top models like: Bianca Golden, Isis, Bre Scullark and Camille McDonald.
YHC: What is your favorite part about being a model?
Diva: I get to travel and meet fun people and wear a lot of nice designer’s clothes. But I think the most exciting thing for me is to have so many fans and people that really follow me and like my modeling.
YHC: Besides modeling, what are some of your extracurricular activities?
Diva: I’m a girl scout so I like to go camping, skating, swimming, bowling, and slumber parties. I like to do stuff at Girl Scout to earn extra badges.
YHC: Who are your favorite designers?
Diva: There are a few designers I used to walk for right here in NY and NJ, they used to dress me before I was doing a lot of big fashion shows all over the world and they are, Joanne Vaccianna(NY), Tyrone Chablis(NJ), Armon(NJ), Marco Hall(NJ), Thomas Lavone(NJ), Donna Bryd(NJ), Liliac(NJ), Divine Royalty..Malcolm (NJ), Kyjuan couture Westry (NJ), Jacqueline Cummerlander (NJ). My favorite designers I like on TV are Michael Kors, Tracey Reese, Vera Wang, Betsey Johnson, Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, Diane Von Furstenberg, Isaac Mizrahi. Timmy is my all time favorite.
YHC: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Diva: Well by then I will be 16yrs old, so I hope I will be a big super star model doing fashion shows in Paris and other countries, or I’ll be getting ready for college so I could be a fashion designer and have my own clothing line in stores.
YHC: What encouraging words do you have for my readers that are trying to break into the modeling world?
Diva: I would say if modeling is your dream, then dream big. Like my mommy tells me, “if that’s what you want to do, and you have to work really hard at it.” You have to practice and practice and be in a lot of fashion shows and don’t give up if people tell you that you are too young or too short to model, because people used to tell us that.
YHC: What are 5 things in your bag that you NEVER leave home without and why?
Diva: When I go to school I must have my pencils, notebook, lip gloss, cell phone and sour patch candy because I love them. And when I have a fashion show I never forget my dsi game, cell phone, IPod, brush, and never forget my shoes.
Which would you rather?
1) Curly hair or straight? Straight, because you could style it better.
2) America’s Next Top Model or Project Runway? ANTM because you learn so much about being a model.
3) Makeup or natural? Natural because you can be pretty with or without make-up.
4) Handmade or made in China (on the assembly line)? Handmade, when you hand make something yourself it’s more special to you.
5) Loose or fit? Fit, if it’s loose you can fall on the runway.
6) Pocketbook or book bag? Pocketbook, cause they have so many pretty styles and you can dress up with your pocket book.
7) Ice cream or cookies? Ice cream, you can make milkshakes, ice-cream cones and sundaes.
8) Skating or basketball? Skating, I love to go skating with the girl scouts and we have lots of fun.
9) Sneakers or shoes? Shoes, I love my shoes especially when it’s time for me to walk on the runway in them.
10) Play date or modeling gig? I would have to say both, I really like to have play dates with my friends and sisters, but when I have a fashion show I feel happy too.
Photo Credits: Joe Clarke Photography, ANTM, Team Davanna