We had the good fortune of connecting with Shivae Willis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shivae, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
One of my favorite quotes, “The only person stopping you is you” quoted by the platform KushandWisdom is what I always go back to when I’m in need of motivation. It reminds that the only obstacle that is standing in my way of achieving my goals, is myself. And that change starts with me, not external forces. It allows me to take responsibility of my thoughts, mood, and my short term and long term goals. It’s so easy to procrastinate and formulate excuses for why we can’t complete our goals or even start the dream we’ve had in mind for a while but ultimately no one else can set these goals into motion but ourselves. It’s a reminder that I have the power to change the narrative of my life. If there’s something I don’t like and I have the power to change it, I can create real change by taking the first steps.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a jack of many trades. I can classify myself at the moment as a creative, a professional, and a student. I juggle a full-time job/career as a Family Support Specialist for a non for profit organization helping low income families with child care benefits. I was blessed enough to land this job after just graduating college with my Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Central Florida. I can’t say my job is easy but it is rewarding to help families in unfortunate positions every day. Throughout my two years here, I’ve learned how to be resilient in the face of stress and challenge, as well as how to be truly independent and self-sufficient. Working in the social services field requires someone with strength, rigor and the heart to help others and I can truly say with this position that those traits have grown in me tremendously. I am also currently a full-time student pursuing my Masters in Psychology which I plan to earn this coming Fall. I aspire to use my degree and experience to plan more seeds in my community and hopefully establish my own non for profit one day.
As a creative, being a freelance model has taught me so much about myself. There are so many avenues and specialties that a model can choose to promote. Whether that’s being a beauty model, commercial model, print or even a runway model. I was attracted to this same idea that I was able to choose my area(s) of preference to express myself without any restrictions. I wasn’t attracted to the part of the industry that only wanted perfect models with a certain look or body type but where I could freely practice in my own lane with my own vibe. Which is why I chose to be a freelance model. I want to promote art, photography, graphics, and even my writing on my platform for the love of art and free expression, not for the attention it can bring. I also want to use my platform to serve my community by bringing awareness to social, mental, and global issues.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Here’s a snapshot of how I would spend a week discovering local spots in Miami.
Day 1: Catching brunch and bottomless mimosas at a popular spot known for its views and vibes, Shooters Waterfront, located in Fort Lauderdale but worth the drive.
Day 2: A day of shopping at the Aventura mall then catch some dinner at Clive’s Café to enjoy some good Jamaican food. They are located in Little Haiti and is a local favorite.
Day 3: Catch an early breakfast at Taste Rite Bakery for a plate of ackee and saltfish, Jamaica’s national dish and something I still enjoy as a Jamaica native. Afterwards, I would visit Zoo Miami enjoying the array of wildlife, taking lots of pictures along the way. I would follow up with dinner and dessert at The Rumcake Factory.
Day 4: I would spend a day exploring the beautiful street art of Wynwood Walls. I would then grab some Mexican food nearby at Coyo Taco.
Day 5: Catch the Miami Heat play at the American Airlines Arena.
Day 6: Visit the popular Vizcaya Museum & Gardens on Biscayne Bay. Afterwards grab some soul food at Sunday’s Eatery, a black-owned business owned by Trick Daddy himself.
Day 7: Enjoy a day on Miami Beach until dawn to watch the sunset. Afterwards, a cocktail or two at a local bar on South Beach to end the night.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout goes to all the creatives such as models, photographers, runway instructors, organizations and event planners that believed in me enough to work with me in the past and considered me for future events. Many of these individuals are tagged in my photos on my social media. These individuals have contributed a great deal to my time as a freelance model by boosting my portfolio and have contributed to my growth and experience as a model. Although with a full-time day job and being a full-time student creates a slight time constraint to modeling, I look forward to the opportunities that await me in the future and other doors in which I can present my expression and craft. My shoutout also goes to everyone who has encouraged my growth, shown continuous love and support on my profile since the beginning and even now. My supporters, family and friends deserve to be recognized as that encouragement means a lot to me and my craft.