HERE TO SLAY
Tell us about you and SLAY Model Management. What inspired you to establish the agency?
Cece: After working on my documentary, "What's the T?" And really putting myself in the Trans community and working with Trans:Thrive, a San Francisco non-profit organization, I learned that one of the most pressing issues the Trans community needed to address was the lack of employment opportunities. That plus my love of fashion and film of course, lended to the birth of Slay Model Management.
Cece: I chose the name Slay because they simply do Slay! I've never seen a more determined group of models than the ones we have at our roster!
You have been so close to the heart of the LGBTQ Community especially the trans community. Last 2013 you made a documentary called "What's the T?" and now you manage SLAY, and then STRUT; these make you such a great ally to the community. What keeps you going in terms of creating waves and making a difference to the community?
What really keeps me going is the fact that there's so much more work to be done. So many more allies to make. We, as a community under the LGBTQ umbrella should come together and get to know one another if we want the community-at-large to truly accept us. There are so many unsung heroes not only in the fashion industry but many other industries as well that deserve the recognition in the work they do that help us gain true equality.
How do you manage your time being the "mother" of all of your talents?
A lot of prayer and vodka. Haha! Seriously though, my life is enriched because of them. We truly are a family at Slay. We uplift one another and encourage each other. The models are sincerely happy when one of their co-Slay models books a job because that's not only a win for hat particular person but for the community as well.
What's the story behind the production of STRUT?
I was very lucky in meeting Glenn Meehan of 44 Blue Productions and being partners with them and of course, Whoopi Goldberg and Tom Leonardis of One Ho Productions. They believe in the rich stories that the cast has to tell in a very fair manner. They have definitely shown that at the end of the day we are all just people wanting to achieve our dreams. That is something everyone, whether you're gay or straight, can relate to.
Your most memorable experience in the agency and in filming STRUT.
My most memorable experience would be seeing the strides a new model would make and being able to tell them when they book a job. I love delivering good news! Filming STRUT, it would be the fact that the agency had become a tighter family. I will always cherish this experience.
How do you think the show manages to showcase the balance among the drama, the excitement, the struggles, and the fun part of modeling?
It would be because the production companies and Oxygen, our network believe our voices and that is when true balance and magic happens.
Tease us about the other juicy things that your audience can look forward to.
All I can say is, every model has a strong voice and I love them all dearly. You have no choice but to root for them! Also, the inner workings at the agency and my relationship with Cassandra are things to watch out for.
Why do you think it is very timely and relevant to provide a mainstream voice to the Transgender Community right now?
Now that there is national awareness of the Trans community because of media such as Caitlin Jenner, Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Geena Rocero, it is timely to introduce more stories in the mix. The more awareness and representation, acceptance follows soon.
Any advise to any young or aspiring model Trans Model out there who would want to join your agency. How's your casting process like?
Lead a healthy lifestyle, be very natural. They can apply through our website www.slaymodels.com and if there's interest someone from our team will contact them.
Complete the sentence: SLAY is not only _____________ but also ___________.
My career, but also my family.
If you can support a charity of your choice, what would it be and why?
I actually do, it is called ARK - The advancement for rural kids. It was founded by Ayesha Vera-Yu, ARK empowers farmers in the developing world to feed and keep their kids in school.
With its groundbreaking $15/kid/year Feeding Program, ARK and its partner communities are successfully eradicating hunger, getting kids back to school, and providing new income and industry to rural communities. This paves the way for and makes ARK's $5/kid/year Supplies, $50/kid/year Scholarship, Classrooms and For-Profit investments successful and sustainable.
You can learn more about them at www.ruralkids.org
If you're going to have your own book, what title would it be?
It would be "Memoirs of a Gaysian". For obvious reasons.