MOLA1 and was blown away by the strong confident woman in front of me because Krystal is not your typical model. She is tall and gorgeous but a little “thick” by industry standards. She loves to rock a leather jacket covered in studs while having perfectly groomed nails and hair. She is a great mix of soft and hard, of a lady and a strong woman who knows who she is and what she wants.
I am intrigued by her, and the modeling business in Detroit as a whole. How would one get started and make a living around here? Detroit has a rising fashion community but it still has a long way to go before we are considered one of the fashion meccas that LA or NYC have been branded. I decided to ask Krystal a little more about herself and how she got into the business. I wanted to know what it is like to be a model in Detroit, shoot with Camera Jesus in the city and be styled by Angie Yaldoo.
Krystal gives us a very positive look on modeling and her life in general. It was very refreshing to see a woman who makes a living with her looks but treats it like any other job, with professionalism, class and preparation to make sure she is delivering her best product.
HipinDetroit- How long have you been a model and how did you get your start?
Krystal- I had my first photoshoot when I was finishing high school. My next door neighbor Marlon Hines, who is like a brother to me said, “I have a camera and it’s a beautiful day. Get some outfits together and let’s shoot!” When we were done, we both told each other that we were meant to do this. Marlon’s now a professional photographer and I developed a passion for modeling. I did a few fashion shows and then magazines in Chicago, Indianapolis and New York. I was in national ads and catalogs for Dodge with John Roe, two years in a row. More recently I shot for Real Detroit with Angie Johnny Yaldoo and Joe Gall for their spring fashion spread and StyleLine Magazine with the incredible Katrina Malota.
HipinDetroit- Do you prefer print modeling or being in videos like the recent appearance you made in MOLA1's first video for BOOM?
Krystal- They’re two different animals. I love to do print because pictures capture a brief moment in time that create visual art that can be interpreted by the viewer, whereas videos allow me to really show my personality. I enjoy both and with luck, I’ll keep it going!
HipinDetroit- What is it like to model in Detroit?
Krystal- It’s amazing. This is my home. With the mixture of old and new architecture, deserted and crowded places, the canvas is unlike any other city. Detroit is easy to feel sad for, but even easier to be proud of.
HipinDetroit- Do you find there is more or less competition?
Krystal- It’s our natural instinct to be competitive, but I’m so comfortable with myself that I don’t get upset if I don’t land a job. I know that sometimes, I’m not the look they’re going for and I wish the next girl the best of luck. I truly do.
HipinDetroit- Is it hard to find work?
Krystal- It all depends on what circle you’re in. If the agency likes you, you’ve got it made. If you’re friends with the photographer, you’ll get the job. At the same time, if you think everyone’s a “hater”, there’s a really good chance you’ll be on the outside, looking in. For me, it’s been none of the above and I like it that way. I don’t associate with people just to find work or expect anything to be handed to me. I know that I’m capable of anything I set out to do and I work hard. I’ve found that with this mindset, eventually, the work finds you.
Krystal- Angie doesn’t let her ideas overtake how anyone’s style already is. She finds a way to accentuate your look so you’ll feel confident and comfortable. She’s always a few steps ahead of you, to the point where she knows your look even better than you do. She loves what she does and you can’t help but love her right back.
Joe is the most laid back photographer I’ve ever worked with. He’s respectful, professional, but so relaxed, smiling while he snaps away. Shooting in Detroit with Joe Gall was a privilege because over the years, he’s captured the city in such a way, that while we’re all local residents, it made us all feel like he was welcoming us to his home.
HipinDetroit- How do you prepare for a photo shoot? Do you have a routine?
Krystal- No photographer or stylist wants a sleepy model. I make sure that I’m well rested, even if that means I have to call it a night at 9 p.m. I make sure that I have everything ready and call ahead to see if I need anything additional for the shoot. No matter how many times I shoot, I always get the butterflies, so I always take a long bath the night before to calm my nerves.
HipinDetroit- You have an amazing body. What is your workout routine? How do you motivate yourself to stay in shape?
Krystal- Oh my God. Thank you! I’ve been told I’m too curvy for this industry, which I take with a grain of salt, which is fine, since I’m Albanian…we love salt. Our number one food is Feta Cheese, which I can’t live without and it’s forced me to hire a personal trainer. I work out at Mash Gym in Redford with Todd Allee. He doesn’t cut me any slack just because I’m a female. If you plan on training with him, you’d better be ready to work hard. He runs me through a gauntlet of MMA circuit training, which makes me feel like I’m ready for my next fight, instead of my next shoot. It works out, since my boyfriend’s whole family is raised on martial arts and I’m pretty close to being able to take him.
HipinDetroit- If you were stranded on an island what is the one piece of makeup you couldn’t live without?
Krystal- I would bring my bright pink lipstick. You’d be able to see it from a boat, miles away, so I know I’d be discovered eventually. I use Pink Schiap Matte Lipstick made by NARS. (Get at me NARS).
HipinDetroit- What trends are you looking forward to rocking this spring and summer?
Krystal- The only difference in my clothing is the amount of layers. I’m not a girly girl, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity to wear sexy open toed shoes. I love spikes, studs, leather, denim and plain white shirts.
HipinDetroit- What are your favorite places to shop in Metro Detroit?
Krystal- Incognito in Royal Oak, Complex in Birmingham and also anywhere else that sells anything! I need help. My name is Krystal and I’m a shopaholic.
HipinDetroit- Anything else you think our readers should know?
Krystal- To model, you have to find a balance between being yourself and committing to the role you play. If you are able to do so, the lens will find your heart. Otherwise, you’re just taking pictures.