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Tyler Treadwell "I’ve been called 'exotic' or 'not really black'” Tyler Treadwell "I’ve been called 'exotic' or 'not really black'” Vanity Teen Menswear & new faces magazine

Interview

Tyler Treadwell “I’ve been called ‘exotic’ or ‘not really black’”

Tyler Treadwell is a 25 years old model born in Royal Oak, Michigan and raised in Sugarland, Texas. He started his modeling career the same year he started college at Texas Tech, where he also found his passion for DJ’ing. Some of his favorite leisure activities include triathlon, endurance sports, yoga & photography.

“It was those same interests that enabled me to continue to seek representation as a model, become a mobile contract DJ as well as a collegiate triathlete and certified group fitness instructor.”

Now that he has graduated, he now lives in Houston and has developed marketing campaigns for major liquor suppliers and also works as a consultant with brands in the Spirits Industry!

Tyler Treadwell for Vanity Teen
Photography by brothers @jaivronjoseph & @dariyonjoseph 
Stylist @mendel_mccoy

He is a model who has a unique perspective due to the expertise in this industry he has and the knowledge he has learnt from these experiences saying: “Being in the mix with the stylist and director and editor and seeing all the moving parts of the team dynamic outside my sole current experience as the model made me realize how much more of a healthy creativity and flow can come from mutual respect and allowing anyone on set to share their ideas.”

Being a black hasn’t ever been easy because of racism and other forms of hate are everywhere and the modeling industry also has some issues in this matter. We wanted to know Tyler’s experience in this industry and what he told us really surprised us.

It seems as clients appreciated only certain aspects of my blackness.  I was commonly promoted to clients as ethnically ambiguous; this term basically means I can look like many different ethnicities. I’ve been called “exotic” or “not really black”

Tyler Treadwell for Vanity Teen

However, he still believes and gets inspired by so many black models in this industry and has a really good vision of the world and society “I think where a feeling of racial barriers and imposed limitations presents itself as a struggle, is when you have this great population of beautiful and diverse people.”

Besides his professional career, we were curious about his creative world as he shows on his Instagram feed as well as his style. “The content I share reflects an ideal first impression of me and what I want to represent,” he says. “Whether it be my attention to mental well being though inflection or connection, my hope is to inspire and cast back someone that is moved to be just as spontaneous, curious, magnetic & electric.” Talking about his style, he states that it reflects his constant personal growth in all areas and the desire to share that energy.

Tyler Treadwell for Vanity Teen

To close this interview we asked him if he could give some advice to young models and he really gave his best advice.

If you learn to appreciate the things that make you uniquely you, others will take notice. 

On the other hand, there is also another message for people of color in this industry that can be applied to many situations because it is one of the best pieces of advice ever.

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Tyler Treadwell "I’ve been called 'exotic' or 'not really black'” Tyler Treadwell "I’ve been called 'exotic' or 'not really black'” Vanity Teen Menswear & new faces magazine

Your voice is more powerful than you think when you spread love and support! If you use it to uplift others in your community that, in turn, will affect the overall objective of diversity and inclusion that is being ingrained into the fashion world more and more each day. 

Tyler Treadwell for Vanity Teen

Q: You have a very interesting Instagram feed. How would you define your style and how would you say it reflects your personality? 

A: I factor many things into what defines my personal style; From the way I walk, talk and play, but most notably the way I arrange my appearance. My skincare is something I take pride in and I love doing photoshoots making different facial expressions and crazy posing that makes for striking imagery. The content I share reflects an ideal first impression of me and what I want to represent. Whether it be my attention to mental well being though inflection or connection, my hope is to inspire and cast back someone that is moved to be just as spontaneous, curious, magnetic & electric. My style reveals to me the importance I place on constant personal growth in all areas, but also desire I have to multiply & share that energy. 

Q: Which is the best part of being a model? 

A: The best part of modeling for me is by far the combining of minds and ideas! I attribute this to the unique perspective I got as I worked as an account manager and styling assistant for a prestigious publication right here in Houston. Being in the mix with the stylist and director and editor and seeing all the moving parts of the team dynamic outside my sole current experience as the model made me realize how much more of a healthy creativity and flow can come from mutual respect and allowing anyone on set to share their ideas. 

Q: How did you start in the modeling industry? Was it easy for you?

A: I was approached after high school at the gym by a fellow model of color who referred me to his agency. Although I was skeptical of not having thought of myself as the model type, the real challenge was to build the confidence to be able to stand my ground in this newfound endeavor. Once my mother Gina agreed to support me, it was from that day on I set a goal to not only get my degree but to make a name for myself in the modeling world.

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Tyler Treadwell "I’ve been called 'exotic' or 'not really black'” Tyler Treadwell "I’ve been called 'exotic' or 'not really black'” Vanity Teen Menswear & new faces magazine
Tyler Treadwell for Vanity Teen

Q: How do you think black people struggle in the fashion industry? Are there many black models? What is your opinion on this matter?

A: I am an African American male model and I am so proud to represent myself as such. I have to say however from my earliest memories it seems as clients appreciated only certain aspects of my blackness.  I was commonly promoted to clients as ethnically ambiguous; This term basically means I can look like many different ethnicities. I’ve been called “exotic” or “not really black”, as if this justifies selecting me to fill the role of the one black model on set. This has not always been my experience, but very commonly I have had this realization that had I not been able to look like someone else, I might not have gotten the opportunities I have thus far. 

On that same note, I can definitely say that there is no shortage of black and brown talent whatsoever. I’m inspired by so many impeccable black models and artists who are leaders and trendsetters in the industry (Adonis Bosso and Conrad Bromfield just to name a few)!

But I think where a feeling of racial barriers and imposed limitations presents itself as a struggle, is when you have this great population of beautiful and diverse people; this undiscovered talent that is being in many ways overlooked by this ”token black” or outdated one-shade-fits all idealogy. 

Q: Name your favorite style and a brand you love and why. 

A: I love the psychedelic, classic bohemian style symbolized in fashion! My most authentic expression of style starts with my peaceful spirit and reverent attitude. The way I move is gentle, welcoming and inviting. It presents itself in my collection of jewelry. I love to layer chains of precious metals and wear statement pieces that have a story to tell! One of my favorite brands is BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB by Pharrell & NIGO. The quality is amazing and the trippy thought-provoking graphic designs never fail to make stand out from the crowd!

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Tyler Treadwell "I’ve been called 'exotic' or 'not really black'” Tyler Treadwell "I’ve been called 'exotic' or 'not really black'” Vanity Teen Menswear & new faces magazine

Also, Pharrell is a genius and I look up to him as a style icon. I have love for anything he has his hands in. 

Tyler Treadwell for Vanity Teen

Q: Which piece of advice would you give young models and especially to black people wanting to pursue a career in fashion?

A: The best advice I can give is to never get caught up comparing yourself to anyone else or pretending to be anyone else. Different isn’t better, better is better, so put in the work to optimize the gifts that you already have. If you learn to appreciate the things that make you uniquely you, others will take notice. 

And for people of color especially, I believe it’s time more than ever to build each other up. I really might not have had the chance to achieve what I have in modeling if it had not been for one person telling me I could do it and giving me a referral. Your voice is more powerful than you think when you spread love and support! If you use it to uplift others in your community that, in turn, will affect the overall objective of diversity and inclusion that is being ingrained into the fashion world more and more each day. 

Q: Would you like to share any experience or thoughts? 

A: The last thought I want to share is the importance of being yourself. No matter how you look or what anyone else says; You are able to live freely and share your joy with the world, let them all bear witness. If you are writing the story, you will always be booked.

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Tyler Treadwell "I’ve been called 'exotic' or 'not really black'” Tyler Treadwell "I’ve been called 'exotic' or 'not really black'” Vanity Teen Menswear & new faces magazine
Tyler Treadwell for Vanity Teen

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