“Laugh at yourself, and never take it too seriously.” – Alika Ray
Welcome to Face Time. DFW Style Daily’s exclusive series goes beyond the runways and picture-perfect shoots to get to know top Dallas models on a personal level. Why?
Boasting top tier agencies, producers, retailers, and shows, the Dallas market is emerging as a fashion force to be reckoned with on the national scene. And, as our interviews with Carlotta Lennox, Myles Crosby, Donny Boaz, Lexi Russell, Sirisha Reddy, and many more prove, Dallas-based models are among the most fascinating and accomplished in the country.
Today’s triple-threat is no exception to the rule. Dancer, actress, and model Alika Ray has appeared in national ad campaigns and television series. Her secret to success? A positive attitude and permission not to be perfect. Even with all the preparation in the world, sometimes you get it wrong. Really wrong. And that’s all right. Alika explains:
Name: Alika Ray
Hometown: Oberlin, Ohio
Agency: The Campbell Agency
Notable Modeling Clients: JCPenney, James Avery, Mary Kay, American Airlines, SpringHill Suites by Marriot, The Gypsy Wagon
Notable Acting Roles: Days of Our Lives, Las Vegas, GCB, Revolution
DFW Style Daily: At what age did you begin modeling? Were you discovered, or did you pursue modeling as a career?
Alika Ray: “I started modeling at 15 years old; I didn’t pursue it at all. I just happened to get my braces off a week prior to getting contact lenses for the first time. I was amazed that I could see without my glasses, and as we left the eye doctor, I asked my mom if we could go to the mall so that I could just walk around in awe. I was approached by a scout asking if I was there for the ‘model search,’ and I think we started laughing. I was clueless. But after that, I was introduced to the world of modeling, and started working soon after.”
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the modeling industry?
“I think that the biggest misconception about the modeling industry is that it’s so very glamorous. While it can be glamorous, a lot of the time, it’s not. You shoot winter clothes and jackets outside in the middle of summer, bathing suits and summer dresses outside in the winter. So, try not to sweat when it’s hot, and try to not have goose bumps when you’re cold!”
You are also a professional dancer and an actress. What qualities do your three areas of focus have in common?
“I grew up dancing. It’s been a part of my whole life. I think it really helped me in the beginning of my modeling career, in regard to moving in front of the camera. I already knew how to move, and what my body looked like when I did so. As a model you have to learn to take direction, as well, and that came easy because of dancing. The first commercial I booked was because I could dance, and it was then that I realized that I could marry the three careers together.
“I moved to Los Angeles in 2004, and lived there for seven years while pursuing more acting and dancing. I was able to travel with a dance troupe all over the states, and from Japan to Dubai. I danced in music videos for Toby Keith, and I was one of the dancers in the national commercial campaign for Nair. (Go ahead and sing it: We wear short shorts!) I gained some acting experience on Days of our Lives and the television show Las Vegas, which gave me confidence when I moved back to Dallas a few years ago to book roles on GCB and Revolution. It’s been a blessing to have had such great experiences in this industry! Now, if only I could sing! To this day, I dream of being Janet Jackson.”
Tell us about a lesson you learned while on assignment.
“I am always learning on assignments, as you do in life. I recently auditioned for a movie, and I thought the character was a hooker. I dressed the part, and I was the first one there. I left the audition, however, and then saw that everyone else was dressed normally.
“I was then thinking about what the director had told me, and I realized as I got into my car that the character was completely the opposite of a hooker. She was far from a prostitute, actually. I had been mistaken. What did I learn from that? Give it one hundred percent, and well, sometimes you get it wrong. But it’s okay! Laugh at yourself, and never take it too seriously.”
Are there any “deal breakers” for you when it comes to job requirements?
“I don’t have any solid deal breakers when it comes to job requirements. If it’s creative, relevant, and makes sense, I’ll do it. If I don’t feel comfortable doing something, I won’t do it. …But wait – spiders. That’s probably a deal breaker. I won’t model, act, or dance with them. Or do anything with them.”
You currently appear in editorial and advertising images for The Gypsy Wagon boutique. Why is supporting local businesses important to you?
“Oh man, I just can’t get enough of The Gypsy Wagon! When I moved back from L.A., I worked weekends there, and soon it became like another family to me. I’ve been having a blast modeling for them. I feel like The Gypsy Wagon is a special place in Dallas, and supporting local businesses is important for the Dallas economy.”
When you’re not working, what might we find you doing on a free afternoon or evening in Dallas?
“When I’m not working, on a free afternoon or evening I enjoy a glass of wine, cooking, and tending to my urban garden in my loft. I just got a bike, as well, so I’ll be cruising around town in the evenings.”
Finally, do you have a hidden talent or interest that might surprise us?
“It may surprise you that I teach rowing classes at Crowbar Cardio (5726 Belmont Ave., Dallas). I love it. Folks can come take my class on Wednesday nights at 6:15 p.m. and Thursday mornings at 7 a.m. I also completed my training as an aesthetician at the end of last year. I am a skin care junkie! Follow me on Twitter @acethatface and on Instagram at ACETHATFACE.”
All photos courtesy of Alika Ray.