Finding our place in the world is one of the most difficult tasks we’re faced with. We’re fortunate to live in a culture which offers us unlimited options on different levels, and many of us grow up hearing that we can do whatever we want if we work hard for it. Some of us feel called to a profession which makes the choice easy. Some of us try multiple professions before settling into one that feels right. Some of us (like myself) are more comfortable making a little sacrifice and working in different fields at the same time. Whatever it is we choose to spend our lives doing, it’s important that task have meaning. Finding substance in our day-to-day is one of the things that makes life worth living. This month, Up & Coming sat down with Kayla Fitzgerald, a model on a mission to celebrate and promote acceptance of beauty across all color lines.
A recent graduate of Providence College, Kayla is no stranger to hard work. Though modeling was on the list of things to try while she was young, she’s prepared herself for a life in the corporate world as well. Kayla earned a B.S. in Health Policy Management and is looking towards pursuing a career in Health Law and Policy. While at college she was a driving force on the Friar’s Volleyball team, leading the team in kills 3 of her 4 years. She was also an active Campus Ministry volunteer. Kayla spends her time now preparing for the LSAT, volunteering at Loma Linda University Medical Center and modeling under Willow Model Management.
Driven and dedicated to achieving her goals, Kayla describes her passion for modeling as a way to make a difference and be a voice in an industry that has long been focused on conventional beauty ideals. “I want to not only be an inspiration for women of color but another voice that defends and promotes the acceptance of black beauty in this industry while celebrating the beauty of women from all nationalities. I hope that my passion to carry out this goal is influential for others to do the same.”
Contrary to popular belief, modeling is not an easy undertaking. It’s a hard industry to break into and can involve long hours at all times of the day or night. Disappointment is common and many girls don’t make it. It takes a strong backbone and an even stronger resolve to reach a substantial level of success. Kayla stays motivated with optimism and the knowing that she can make a difference in her field. She remains adaptable, adjusting herself to accommodate the needs and expectations of the work environment she finds herself in. She also takes notice of others that speak up on important issues and remains unapologetically unique in industries where conformity can be the norm. Some of the people she looks up to in this manner include Ellen Degenerates, Yara Shahidi and her father, whom she says is the male version of the person she hopes and aspires to be.
The young model says the hardest part about getting to where she is today was having faith she could get into such a difficult industry in the first place. However, with the encouragement and support of her family and friends, she took the necessary steps and now has the backing of her Agency as well. She stresses to others the importance of studying and practicing their craft, whatever that may be, similar to how one would study for school or practice as an athlete. Things don’t just change overnight it’s necessary to work hard to achieve your dreams.
It’s hard to say what’s Up & Coming for Kayla Fitzgerald because the possibilities are endless. One glance at the model’s Instagram will tell you the story of an intelligent, beautiful and driven young lady with the world at her fingertips. She looks forward to a healthy and happy year retaining the passion she’s grown for her work. We look forward to watching her career grow and seeing where her passion takes her.
To follow this beauty and her modeling career: