My name is Theresa Freeman and I am a 20-year-old model. I have been modeling for two years. My modeling journey began while I was in high school. I was a very shy girl since I was young. I never liked being in the spot light too much-though there were some moments where I allowed myself to shine a little but. In tenth grade I vowed that I would participate in a school pageant. I had very little faith in myself, but like a champ I came out swinging an won my very first pageant. Later on in junior year of high school I entered my first national preliminary pageant. Unlike other pageant girls, I hated the whole experience. It wasn’t due to the people around me, but due to the lack of finances in my family. I felt like I was causing a hardship by pursuing this. With support from my families and church I was able to pay for everything in the pageant. Out of our hundred girls, I scored 6th place, with a round trip paid to the next level. That had to have been the most gratifying moment in my life up to that point. After being contacted by John Robert Powers, I decided I didn’t want to continue my pageant career, but take on modeling. Once again I was faced with a large payment tab that my family couldn’t bare to pay. So with that, I stopped striving to be in the limelight and started working and focusing on college.
Once in college, I came in contact with a new agency and they gave me a chance without a hassle. From them, I learned a lot and carry those lessons with me daily. After a few months of modeling I got a disturbing phone call from my dad. My family was being displaced from our residence of twenty-two years. My family had no place to go and once again I had to put my modeling career on hold. I moved out of my dorm room and into the shelter with my family. We stayed in there for 7 months. I knew the feelings of resentment and anger that was drilling through my body, but the look on my siblings’ and mom’s face made me drop the selfish act and try to brighten the mood. I knew I had to be the rock for my mother-she was always mine and that was the least I could do. My agent knew my situation, my college team knew and so did our church, but that never kept them from involving me or us in their plans. That time span I walked in 9 runway shows and shot for a makeup company, watched my college’s basketball team make it to Ohio for the Big Dance and even landed a summer position with my college’s Residential Life department.
On the eighth month, my family was moving into a new apartment and we knew it was because we tried to stay positive and have faith in our God that he would make a way and that better was coming for us because we are good people. It was not easy at all to be in that situation and it has opened my eyes. Now when i walk pass homeless people I remember what it was like for the first two days of our displacement and I immediately pray for their relief and for their safety.
I just finished my second year in college and I’ve been busy all summer with my first feature film and other modeling opportunities. I’m just thankful that my family is safe, healthy and prospering.
Do you think it is harder for African American Models to reach Super Model Status in the industry? Why or why not?
I feel that it is hard for my model to become a Super Model because there is so much talent in this world’s industry. I do believe that it may be a tad bit harder for models of color, but not impossible. For years the iconic super model has fair skin with blue eyes, but with changing trends and customs we have seen many more African-American models reach Supermodel status and I am proud to see that there is ability for change.
Do you feel most African-American Models are looked over for projects they qualify for because they are African-American? If yes, give an example of a time when you felt overlooked because of that reason.
I, personally, haven’t had a situation where I have been looked over because of my complexion, but I wont say that it has never happened to people before. I believe that it happens all the time. I just wish people would look pass the outward and see that talent that flows through the individual.