The Girl Bosses of UNT Series Shines Light on Halimat Shokunbi
Have you heard of the name Halimat Shokunbi before?
If you haven't, you might as well start looking her up before she ends up on your magazine pages and billboards. Halimat is an aspiring model who is currently studying criminal justice and psychology at the University of North Texas. She has amazing skin, and a super friendly demeanor about her. I knew I wanted to feature her in my series because she is a true representation of the #blackgirlmagic. I love that she is chasing after her dreams and slaying along the way. Recently, I reached out to her for an interview and we met up at our library to discuss her dreams, the obstacles she faces, and how she balances it all with school. I came up with a couple of good questions to ask her. I will have the interview down below.
Interview with Halimat Shokunbi
Q: Tell me a little about yourself
A: My name is Halimatu Sadia Morenike Lakeje Olamide Shokunbi. I'm Nigerian and I'm 19 years old. I'm from Houston, Texas. I'm the only girl in my family. I played volleyball throughout my high school career. I enjoy eating and dancing.
Q: What are you currently studying in college?
A: I'm studying criminal justice and psychology. I chose to major in criminal justice because the criminal justice system is messed up and I wanted to help change the system. I chose psychology because I wanted to see why people act or think they way to do. I also chose it because if Law school doesn't work out, I want to be a criminal psychiatrist.
Q: What are your career goals?
A: I want to be a defense attorney but if modeling takes off. I would love to see where that takes me.
Q: Why did you decide to go into the modeling business?
A: At first, I started modeling in the 6th or 7th grade because I was insecure with skin color. I honestly started modeling because I liked the compliments people would give me. It boosted my confidence and it made me actually like my skin color. At that age, I was dark and tall. I was often made fun of because of that. I was a black sheep in class. Everyone in class would often call me "burnt biscuit", " avatar" , "black attack" ," after midnight" and the list goes on . I did modeling because older people often saw the beauty in my skin that I didn't. Once I got into ninth grade, I took a break from modeling because I started taking sports much serious. I started getting back into modeling after my freshman year of college because people would often tell me that I should model. It gave me confidence to get back into it.
Q: How is your modeling career going so far?
A: Right now, If i would rate it out of a 100% I would say that its about a 40-50%. I'm happy about the progress that I'm making. I've been doing a lot of shoots lately. I just shot my first music video yesterday. I'm really excited about that. All of my opportunities come from all the shoots I've been doing. I never turn down a shoot because you never know what can come out of it.
Q: What are the struggles that you face while chasing your dreams?
A: Support. That's one of the biggest obstacles I face. I have a lot of support coming from friends and family but the support that I used to get on my photos before i started taking modeling serious has gone down. People don't understand how critical it is for us artists to have engagement on our social media. Most of our revenues come from retweets and likes. One retweet could land on the right person's feed and that could help take our career to the next level.
Q: How do you balance school, modeling, work, dating, friends, family, and extracurricular activities?
A: I don't even know how I balance it because I'm like disorganized but in a organized way. I knew where everything is and I know what I'm supposed to be doing. With modeling, school, being in a relationship, and living with my best friend. It's kind of hard to balance everybody and everything. At times, I'm giving more attention to my modeling than i am my boyfriend or I'm giving more attention to my boyfriend than I am my friends. It's hard to split myself. It came to a point where I was spreading myself too thin last December that I just shut down. Everything was just way too much for me. My mom had to make me realize that you have to take one day at a time and that you can't give everyone a 100% and that you have to save it for you. That's one thing I struggle with is making sure I'm always putting myself first.
Q: Is being a person of color limit your modeling opportunities?
A: It does but it doesn't. It doesn't because the need for dark skin models is at an all time high. I don't think it's ever been this high before. It's good for me in that aspect but in the entertainment industry it becomes a set back. If you want to do videos or work with famous people, everybody wants the typical instagram model. Everybody wants the light skin, big boobs, big butt, and curly hair girl.
Q:What advice would you give to someone who aspires to be a model?
A: Network. That's the biggest thing in modeling. Talking to everyone and being representable at all times. Last year, I used to walk around with a bonnet around or my cornrows out. I didn't care because that's just how I am but if you're going into the modeling industry you have to understand that you have to care about certain things like that. You never know who you can meet while you're out. I could walk into Walmart and could meet someone who wants me to model for their brand because they like my skin but If I come in with my bonnet on with a tank top and sweats on. They're highly unlikely to approach me because of my appearance. You have to make sure that you're approachable, networking, and talking to everybody. Making sure that when you land shoots that you have your own business cards. It's also important to promote yourself on social media and using hashtags under your pictures. I know for me, I dm photographers and big clothing companies. I show them my pictures and reach out to them about how I like their products and I would love to shoot with them or their products. I had one of them say " Whenever you're in Chicago, we should link up for a shoot". Things like that help.
Q: Are there any upcoming events you would like us to know about?
A: I'm modeling in the UNT ASO fashion show on April 28th. I also will be modeling in the Tech Fashion show on the 21st and will be featured in Houston Streetwear Fashion Week on March 7th- March 11th. Look out for my social media this upcoming week, especially on February 18th and 25th.
The End of The Interview
I'm so glad that I was able to interview a creative and inspiring individual like Halimat Shokunbi. I would love it if you would personally show her love and support on her future endeavors. She will grace your magazine pages, billboards, and tv screens in the near future. I will be leaving all her social media links down below. I would definitely give her a follow because her pictures are truly on fire.
Halimat Shokunbi's Social Media