What has Naima Mora (America’s Next Top Model from cycle 4) been up to since winning? I have personally watched this young woman mature into a savvy musical artist, author, public speaker, and philanthropic celebrity in the past few years, not to mention continuing to carve a fashion pathway to stardom.
Naima is proof that it takes more than a pretty face to win a crowd again and again, especially in different venues. What are those different venues you ask? Well for one, Naima is determined to be taken seriously in the music industry. Her band Galaxy Of Tar is what you might call ‘out of the ordinary’ which, when talking about bands, is almost an oxymoron. Spinning their own unique sound is a passion she has thrown herself into with abandon.
In addition to music, Naima has been brushing up on her public speaking. Her TEDx talk was spoken like a pro. Inspiring, motivational, and well, everything she had to say was stated beautifully, in a way that shows her depth of character and intellect. Quite a different side of the music writing rock artist!
Recently Naima made a fashion oriented trip to Guatemala in order to help orphans, and in the process landed on the cover of ‘Look’ magazine, in Spanish, no less. Besides making a difference in the lives of some children, she gathered a whole new flock of fans and was happy to sign her Model Behavior book for them, which by the way, models how to be disciplined in order to achieve your goals.
In the end, I think multidimensional describes her best. Naima has walked the runway at some of the hottest fashion gigs in the past couple years, and although models are to be seen and not heard on those runways, Miss Mora has managed to sing, talk, and write her way into the hearts of her fans every spare minute offstage.
It’s a bit ironic how this young woman with perfect fashion figure features and eyebrow raising cheekbones doing all the talking for her in photographs, in reality prefers to be heard, literally, in every avenue of words along her highway to success. Modeling, it would seem, has been the vehicle by which other dreams are allowed an opportunity to develop.
Recently I asked Naima for her perspective of the journey thus far, since winning the TV Reality show, and here is what she had to say. “I have always wanted to inspire people on a global level as a performing artist and I have been able to do that time and time again. Winning ANTM was the platform for me to be able to begin that journey as an artist and a model.
This year alone, I published my book Model Behavior (with your loving help which I appreciate so deeply) and I released my second album with my band Galaxy Of Tar. I also gave a TEDx talk! My life seems like a dream sometimes… but I guess that’s a good thing, as I am living my dream!”
What have your biggest challenges been while building a platform for your music? “A lot of people have not taken me so seriously as a musician, because I am a model as well and work in the fashion industry. I have had to work really hard to develop myself as a musical artist and prove to people that I’m good at what I do. I really had to believe in myself more than anyone else ever could. I understood what that meant this year. The artistic process comes naturally for me, but putting my art out there and believing in it 100% has been the challenge. I think I’ve conquered that challenge. I now really trust my artistic way and my creativity more than I ever have before.”
What have your biggest challenges been as a role model of inspiration and hope for others? “It’s hard to inspire others when you are facing difficulties yourself. I have to look deep in my heart every day and find strength and courage to win over everything so that I can continue using my life as an example. I have to find new strength daily that I didn’t know I had before. I really love that part of myself… I am always shocked at how strong of a human being I have become. But everyone deals with great difficulties and the older we get, the hard they become. I have had the support of so many people, family, friends, fans… and I am truly lucky to have that in my life to continue persevering.”
How have you noticeably grown and changed as a person in the last few years? “I am a woman now, not a girl anymore. I have realized that the person I envision myself being in the future is the same person I am right now. With that, I know that I can accomplish great things RIGHT NOW! I don’t have to wait for the future to happen to fulfill my dreams and hopes. I have the present. This year I truly understood the meaning of the saying ‘there’s no time like the present.’ That’s all we ever have and I have found fulfillment in the present by understanding this.”
What are you hoping to accomplish next? “WOO HOO!!! I am working on my next album right now. I am always writing music, I love it and it is my greatest passion. I am looking forward to making some really cool music videos as well with Galaxy Of Tar. Keeping busy and always working hard!”
Visit Naima’s blog where you can see her TEDx talk, purchase Model Behavior and read more about her: http://naimamoraonline.com/
Visit Kathryn Mattingly at goodreads