In The PathTM, we spotlight different women making a difference in the fashion, beauty, wellness, and medical aesthetics industries. Here, model and blogger Tiffany Williams shares her road to success.
It takes a certain level of resilience to keep going when hearing “no” becomes the norm. But for San Diego native Tiffany Williams, there was no other option but to stay focused on her goal: to become a model. After trying the traditional route of modeling school at the age of 17, the now 31-year-old blogger and entrepreneur says that she realized those lessons were only designed to teach her the basics. What was missing — and what she’d come to learn many rejections later — was the truth about the fickle and highly competitive industry she was trying to charm her way into.
“I actually went to a local modeling school, John Casablancas®,” she says, “because I didn’t really know anything about the industry and thought that was where i needed to start. The school taught the basics, but I didn’t really learn about being in the industry until I got out there and started booking gigs myself.”
Williams proved she had the hustle to “make it,” forgoing an agent, and representing herself. In a pre-social media era, she was able to book gigs on her own for both runway and TV segments. As it turns out, creating a blog — and tapping into its readership — was what she needed to start seeing the fruits of her labor. There, she shares everything with her followers, from an agenda of major fashion and lifestyle events happening in San Diego, to tips on styling a look and accessorizing it. She loves accessories so much, in fact, that she debuted her own collection of hair clips earlier this year.
This self-made San Diego entrepreneur is bound to inspire you, whether you’re in need of a new hair care product or are considering following your own dreams. Here, she shares more about her journey into the modeling landscape, her thriving side hustle, and the beauty routine that keeps her going.
Spotlyte: Tell us about about your journey as an independent artist.
Tiffany Williams: Since [becoming my own agent], I have been able to walk in hundreds of fashion shows. I’ve appeared in fashion segments on TV, and have been able to connect with so many amazing brands. To be honest, being an independent artist is not something that I had really ever planned to be. It just kind of happened, because I couldn’t find an agent or agency to represent me. I decided not to wait on anyone and just create in my own way.
Spotlyte: Can you describe how you were able to book gigs on your own without representation from an agency?
TW: When I first started modeling, social media wasn’t really big yet, so I had to go out and just network on my own. I would look through online sites, like Model Mayhem®, to see what was available locally and in Los Angeles. I also started attending every fashion event that I could find, made my own business cards, and talked to everyone that had some type of role in the fashion scene.
There was also a core group of models who would help each other out and send each other information on events that were happening. A lot of this was by word of mouth, because there wasn’t really a huge platform to share things on yet. Later, when social media became more popular, and Facebook® and Instagram® were the places to be, it did help me to expand a little. That’s when I turned to blogging. I have always wanted to be more than just a model, and I have been able to do that through Glitz and Glam by Tiff. It has been really hard, but is also very rewarding at the same time. I’m not where I want to be yet, but know that I will get there!
Spotlyte: What have been some of your pinch-me moments that you’ve booked yourself?
TW: When Ed Hardy® was popular, I walked in one of those shows in LA. I’ve also walked in LA Fashion Week® a few times. Seeing myself on TV for the first time was definitely a pinch-me moment! I was an extra for a few seasons of Veronica Mars® — it was still a cool moment.
Spotlyte: Do you have any model inspiration? People you look up to?
TW: Naomi [Campbell] and Tyra [Banks] are my model inspirations; they have done so much in their career and continue to work now. I love that they help others as well! I love looking through fashion accounts on Instagram and seeing how people style different pieces in different ways. It inspires me to think outside the box with my outfits. It’s fun to look at others’ style taste and see what’s hot on the runway.
Spotlyte: What has your experience been like as a woman of color in the fashion and beauty business?
TW: As a women of color in fashion and beauty, I constantly feel overlooked and not given the opportunity to really shine. Some ground is being broken, but we still have a long way to go.
Spotlyte: What would you say is the biggest challenge for women of color in the beauty business at the moment?
TW: At the moment, I feel like women of color — especially black women — are on the rise in beauty. I think that Rihanna’s beauty line really set the bar for where beauty needs to go and needs to be. I love that she is super inclusive with everything that she has a hand in. I see other companies in the beauty industry trying to get it right and follow suit.
Spotlyte: In a crowded influencer space, how do you stay relevant?
TW: I stay true to myself and talk about what is relevant to me. I feel like I have an audience that really enjoys my point of view and learns something new from what I share.
Spotlyte: Switching gears: How did your hair clip collection come to be? Do you make them?
TW: I started my hair clip collection earlier this year. I saw that hair clips were trending, and decided to create my own line. I make them myself, and I have a lot of fun coming up with different designs. I love gems and pieces that sparkle, so that is what I am drawn to.
Spotlyte: Tell us about your hair routine. What do you do, what do you use, and how often?
TW: My hair is funny sometimes. I have moments when I barely do anything but put water and a little moisturizer in it, and just fluff it out until I like the shape. Other days, I will braid it down or do a twist-out. I typically wash my hair one to two times a week, depending on how much I workout. I detangle and comb it out, make sure it is moisturized, then prep my hair for whatever style I decide to do. I typically use oils, like coconut oil or an oil spray. I also use mousse and curling creme for hold.
Some of my favorite brands are The DouxTM Mousse DefTM Texture Foam and Bonita Afro Balm® texture cream, Madam C.J. Walker® On PointTM texture definition cream, Giving LyfeTM styling spray, and Cantu® Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream. I am honestly trying new products all of the time, but have had these on rotation quite a bit.
Spotlyte: What's your skincare routine?
TW: At the moment, as far as skincare, I have been loving products from Skin Resource MD® and Clinique®. I usually double cleanse, especially when I wear makeup. I have found that it really helps keep my pores clean. I am not perfect, and there are some days where I will use one cleanser and call it a day, but I am usually pretty consistent. I switch products in and out all the time, but one of my favorite cleansers is the Dr. Bronner’s® Pure-Castile SoapTM. That has been my go-to for years. After cleansing, I will let my skin air dry, and then I will apply toner, a serum, and moisturizer.
Spotlyte: Have you always double cleansed? Did you or do you have any skin concerns that led you to your current skin routine?
TW: I used to have really bad acne, and when I started using Dr. Bronner’s, it helped clear my skin. Double cleansing is something that I started doing in the past couple of years. Someone had told me about the method, and I tried it for myself after. It really helps, especially when I wear makeup.
Spotlyte: What's your anti-aging philosophy?
TW: Hydrate and stay moisturized!
Spotlyte: Do you have a makeup routine? If so, tell us about it.
TW: During the week, I try to be as makeup-free as possible and just focus on my skincare. I do make sure to apply SPF everyday, which is really important. For going out, I usually do foundation, brows, contour, and bronzer. I love bronzer and highlighter! I have to glow to the gods, or I just didn’t do enough with my makeup that day. Some of my favorite highlighters and bronzers are from Fenty Beauty®, Black Radiance®, and Milani® Cosmetics. Depending on my mood or where I am going, I will either do lip gloss or lipstick. I like to keep my makeup fairly simple, but my face still looks like a full beat.
Spotlyte: What are your don't-leave-home-without-them beauty favorites (hair, makeup, or skincare)?
TW: I never leave home without a lip gloss or Chapstick®!
Spotlyte: When do you feel most beautiful?
TW: I feel beautiful with and without makeup. If I do have a breakout, I do feel self-conscious sometimes, but I have grown to love me for me, flaws and all.
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