Obsessive Curls: Get Liberated With Nikia Phoenix

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Model Liberation is the title of your blog and your twitter name, how did you come up with that? Originally, the blog started as a joint venture between me and another model friend. We had thrown around some ideas for names, but nothing felt right. Then right before a fashion show, my friend Sam suggested the name "Model Liberation." It was perfect. Often times, models are misrepresented as mindless mannequins. We are human beings who deserve respect. And we should be allowed to voice our opinions just like everyone else. So the blog is my chance to tell people how I really feel. And it's liberating.

How long have you been in the modeling biz?
I've been modeling for a little over four years.  My dreams of being a model actually started when I was an awkwardly tall, lanky kid. But I put off my dreams until years after I finished college and after my first career didn't work out so well.  I guess it had always felt like I wasn't doing what I was meant to do.  Then one morning while getting coffee and bagels, I was offered my first gig.  Serendipity!
In an industry filled with all so many gorgeous faces, what makes you stand out from the crowd?
 For the longest time, I thought my freckles helped me stand out.  Now, I'm not so sure about that. I'd like to think that someone can see my experiences and passion when he or she looks at a picture of me.  I'm a very complex character, and I hope that comes across in my work.
As a model, you constantly have to change your look for shows and various photo shoots, that can be quite damaging to your hair.  How do you keep
your hair healthy?
I am so low maintenance with my hair. The one thing I have to do religiously is keep my hair moisturized.  I try to deep condition it once a week and trim it to keep away any split ends.  I also stay away from any heat styling.  Hearing my hair sizzle freaks me out. 
Share your hair story. When and why did you decide to go natural? Or have you been natural your whole life?
I got a relaxer immediately before I entering the first grade. All I knew about my natural hair was it was thick and really hard to comb.  My mom decided it was best for me to get a relaxer, because I was so tender-headed and she didn't want me to be in pain. After 20 plus years of chemicals, I decided it was time for a change.  It was right before LA fashion week in March that I decided to permanently go without a relaxer.  The transition was interesting, but it worked out just fine.  I can embrace the hair I was born with, and it feels so good. 
Has being natural ever had a negative affect on your career?
Occasionally, I've worked with clients who want my hair straight for a shoot.  I don't have a problem if someone straightens my hair, as long as that stylist knows how to properly work with it. For too long my hair has been mistreated and bad-mouthed, but I won't tolerate that anymore. My hair is an extension of me, and all I ask is that people respect that.
 
What are some of your favorite hair and beauty products?
I'm still experimenting with the right products to see what works for my hair.  I love cocoa butter for my skin.  I'm obsessed with moisturizing, probably because LA is so dry. And I refuse to live without Carmex and eye cream with vitamin E. A girl's got to take care of her assets.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I've been on a journey of self discovery for so many years, and I think I'm finally coming into my own.  I'm not an insecure as I was once, and the things that I thought mattered don't mean much to me anymore.  Who cares if my hair is nappy or I have all these freckles on my face.  I can accept and appreciate me for me.  I walk with my head up high, but I remain humble and thankful for all my blessings. 
Blog: Model Liberation
Agency: Grace Model Management

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