L. Shima Darby is an up and coming model based in Austin, TX.
quinn cornchip met up with Shima in her home to shoot and geek out on fashion and what it’s like to be in the modeling industry.
quinn cornchip: You’ve made a quick impact in the modeling world, building an impressively diverse portfolio in a short amount of time. Is there any genre you focus on more than others?
L. Shima Darby: For a while now, I’ve constantly followed models – for research and pure entertainment. I was shocked to find that the most successful models were either tall, slender fashion models or extra curvy/sexy glamor models. The kind of modeling I’m pursuing sits right in the middle. I’m into the idea of exploring all genres of modeling, no matter my exceptionally busty (36-29-37 measurements and small height (5’3). I’ve had more than enough people tell me my figure will automatically push me into glamor modeling. I understood where they are coming from, and I am flattered that people like it when I push the sexy in my photos, but I don’t want my modeling experience to be that cut and dry. You can pursue whatever you want. Stereotypes exist because they are usually right. It is correct that I am built for glamor, but it also means there is an opening in other genres for someone like me 🙂
qc: The stereotype hasn’t seemed to stop you at all! After just one year you became a full time model with what seems to be an equal amount of fashion, art nudes and glam. When did you decide modeling was what you wanted to do full time?
L.S. Well, before I became a full-time model, I was a 19 yr. old working at a porn shop. After almost 2 years of seeing the same fake dicks and vaginas, I wanted something new. SXSW (South by South West) 2012 came along ,and I decided to experiment with giving modeling my 100%. So I took the week off, and pushed my modeling hard. Fortunately I did well! I fell in love with the hustle and grind of full time modeling. Feeling confident, although honestly still a bit scared, I put my two weeks in and my career as L.Shima began.
qc: And now you’re on your headed off to rock the midwest. What are you looking forward to on this trip?
LS: Oh shit.. it’s coming up!! Truthfully, I’m excited about it all: meeting the photographers, MUAs, hairstylists, the people letting me to crash on their couch, living in my car for an entire month, and experiencing the sights and sounds of all these new places I would have never had the opportunity to visit otherwise.
qc: When we were shooting you insisted we get a shot in front of your extensive closet. How are you narrowing all that swag down for the road?
LS: When it comes down to the packing.. that is probably one of the hardest parts. When I have a photo shoot in Austin or Houston, I just throw a whole bunch of gear in a bag. Since this is an entire month, I need to be more diligent. I’m now taking days organizing outfits, shoes, jewelery, and other necessities. I try to prioritize items that I pack by how much of an impact they would have on an image (like my BlackMilk muscle leggings).
qc: With all that wardrobe you’ve created some great imagery. So far in your career, what has been your most satisfying shoot?
LS: This is a hard one. I enjoy every shoot I am a part of. I can’t pick my most satisfying shoot, because they all satisfy me in some sort of way! But, if I had a gun to my head I would hands down pick the photo shoot I did with Zac and Amanda aka Flashbax23. The day of the shoot my make-up was on point and my outfit choices were one of my best. I met Zac all the way out in Manor, TX to shoot inside Ghost Town. Imagine: not a lot of shade, direct sunlight, and no a/c what so ever. I’m sweating balls the entire time! Not to mention, Zac was such a sweetheart; providing constant water and laughs for the shoot. Not too long after the shoot, I received an email with the final images. My mouth dropped, it was one of my best photo shoots so far! Amanda did a fabulous job editing and made sure I didn’t look like the hot mess I was expecting 🙂
qc: And finally, where do you see your modeling taking you in the future? What is your goal accomplishment for modeling?
LS: I see modeling providing me opportunities in the fashion world. Modeling always interested me, but lets be honest, it never lasts forever. My eventual career choice is to be a fashion designer or stylist. I plan to stick with modeling until I’m 26 – 32. By that point I hope to have a foot in the fashion industry and be educated enough to pursue it as I would like to. Until that day comes, I will strive to continually work on more creative projects with as many awesomely talented photography teams that will have me. Specifically, I’m moving to Florida with my boyfriend, and am stoked for the opportunities cities like Miami may offer. I really just want to keep improving my pictures. Although I see my modeling as a stepping stone, I want that stone to make as big a splash as possible!!
In her own words:
My name is Shima. I was born and raised in the great city of Austin, Texas. My first name is Laura, but I thought that was too damn generic, so instead I decided to go by my middle name Shima. I am a mutt. I’m African American, Irish/German, and Japanese. I’m shy but extroverted, nerdy but slick, and silly but…..no just silly. My weakness are pizza, ice cream, cookies, coca-cola, and a nice mix of R&B. I’m a model – look for me in your boyfriend’s hard drive.