She quit her government job to model full-time, and now Connecticut native Tanaye White is taking on summer with a move to Manhattan, a much buzzed-about spot in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue (she’s officially a 2021 Rookie) and a strong and vocal mental-health message.
What was shooting the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition like?
“For my Rookie shoot, I shot in Sacramento, California. We had a rustic Little House on the Prairie moment. I shot on the most gorgeous ranch and even got to ride bareback on the most beautiful horse. I wanted to come to this shoot with a slightly different look than my first Sports Illustrated shoot in Turks and Caicos. So, I wand-curled my natural hair for a wind-blown look and added in some extensions by Black-owned hair brand Sew Natural. We stayed natural with my makeup, giving me a dewy glow to match the vibes of the set.”
You are such a proponent of talking about mental health. Has that conversation changed for you during the past year?
“Over the last year, I’ve become even more vocal with speaking about mental health. With the protests that happened during Summer 2020, I realized that there is such a significant need to raise Black voices just as much as those who suffer in silence from depression. So, I use my platform to speak up and out about the experiences people of color face, in addition to my advocacy for mental health awareness.”
You are a model, but also have a very impressive educational background. Do people ever have a hard time combining the two?
“I love the fact that I have both a professional background, having worked in corporate communications for large companies, and a creative background as a model. Each field requires me to tap into my different skill sets and I love that. I truly believe that you can have the best of both worlds! Never limit yourself to just one dream. Dream big!”
What are you most excited about this summer?
“The summer time is my absolute favorite season! But, I just moved to New York City and it is incredibly humid. I’m looking forward to the city cooling down a bit with the season change. And more time to travel and spend time with family. My summer has been pretty busy, so it’ll be nice to take a moment to relax.”
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