“I am glad I am able to be myself, and I have no interest in watering that down or conforming.”
– Tayo Harriman
Welcome to Face Time. DFW Style Daily’s exclusive series goes beyond mere image to get to know top local models on a personal level. Why? Because there’s so much more to one of fashion’s most competitive fields than meets the eye.
Our interviews with Tracy Ripsin, Christina Reed, Myles Crosby, Daniel Crouch, Atti Worku, Tiffany Hendra, and many more, have captured the attention of thousands. Today’s interview adds to this fascinating and accomplished roster a young talent as handsome as he is hard-working.
Beyond his irresistible smile and chiseled physique, California transplant Tayo Harriman boasts a serious work ethic. He knows what it takes to succeed, and he seeks to stand apart, rather than conform. Read on for Tayo’s story.
DFW Style Daily: At what age did you begin modeling? How were you introduced to the industry?
Tayo Harriman: “I began modeling around the age of 18, when I joined a group in college called MOSE – Models of Style Exposed. It allowed me to express myself, and to use the natural talent I had to become who I am today. I am very proud of myself for taking the chance to change from a focus on athletics to the entertainment and modeling industry. It has allowed me to find myself and express myself in a new way.”
How do you perceive the differences between the expectations and on-set experiences of female and male models?
“Expectations are higher, or seem to be higher, when it comes to women. However, from my perspective, it’s a challenge to able to stand apart from other male models and continue to succeed. I am glad I am able to be myself, and I have no interest in watering that down or conforming.”
What is the craziest, silliest, or most unusual thing you have done on a job?
“I remember when I had ‘act,’ on a shoot, literally having to scream to get the look the photographer desired. It was very weird at the time, but I enjoyed screaming, as it gave me a chance to show emotion. After reviewing the photos, the shoot turned out great as a result.”
Are there any ‘deal breakers’ for you when it comes to job requirements?
“I have no ‘deal breakers.’ I am open to anything and anyone. I am just thankful to be in the industry, and I look to be fairly compensated for my talent and work. That’s all.”
What is your dream assignment, or who would be your dream client?
“There is a brand called Public School based in New York City, and that is a prime focus for me, as far as future work. With regard to local opportunities, I’m interested in working with Kohl’s, Men’s Wearhouse, Sports Authority, and I would also enjoy working more with JCPenney.”
Do you have a personal role model? What have you learned from his example?
“When it comes to modeling, I look to Sacha M’Baye. I like his presence, his style, and his depth. I also look up to Will Smith in the areas of business and entertainment. I identify with him, and his reputation for hard work in the industry speaks for itself. He’s someone known to focus not only on making himself better, but on building up those around him, as well.”
How do you prepare for an assignment?
“For starters, I keep a model bag filled with an assortment of products, grooming supplies, basic clothing essentials, and such. I also read and print a copy of the itinerary and wardrobe requirements for the shoot.
“Depending on the assignment, if time allows, I may also take time to envision myself in the character I will portray. Even if I’m only appearing in photos, I believe it is important to have a grasp of which personality aspects should be brought to the surface. It’s also important to get lots of sleep, drink plenty of water, and clear my mind with meditation and prayer.”
Any secrets to maintaining your (amazing) physique?
“I work out, and I make sure I am in line with things that make me feel healthy and happy. I listen to what my body needs, and I keep the things I need to take care of it on hand.
“There are also several small tips I’ve picked up along the way that help me to stay the course. I take in cinnamon with my tea, my oatmeal, and with Greek yogurt. I consume lean meat, and I avoid fried foods and dairy. I maintain structured workout routines. In short, I take a considerable effort in researching and implementing new things in my diet, sports nutrition, and fitness regime. It also helps that I’m a certified personal trainer.”
What is your favorite breakfast? Dinner?
“A favorite breakfast of mine is one that includes a couple of boiled eggs, Greek yogurt with honey and cinnamon, and oatmeal with honey, cinnamon, almonds, and chopped apples. My favorite dinner would be light beef stew and okra, served with fufu and sweet plantains on the side.”
Finally, do you have any unexpected talents or interests? Surprise us!
“I am an amazing dancer. I love to dance in many styles, and that’s a talent of mine that people see rarely. I hope to showcase more of my dancing talent in the future.”
All images courtesy of Tayo Harriman.