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Musings from the mind of Tierra Benton

The Glow Up

The Glow Up

I heard through the grape vine that the Pantene commercial was being played in times square. I slid on the gram to find that artist and campaign co-star Demi Grace confirmed the fact but I still couldn’t tell if the full ad was being shown. Wednesday morning I decided I would venture to the tourism capital of the world and see for myself. The day was perfect, Marvin and I enjoyed the sweet sizzle of summer weather as we made our journey from Queens to the city. On the train ride I found myself in deep reflection. I recalled all the incredible experiences and beautiful beings I’ve had the blessing of encountering since I made NY my home. I giggled to myself as we came to pass the 57th street stop on the M train, thinking of my first days in the big city and my first job at Abercrombie n Fitch on 5th ave. It seems like yesterday I was folding shirts fully emerged in the mist of FIERCE which permeates the flagship store. It was during my time there that I met the beautiful being and co-worker Demi Grace. We actually met in a hair salon as models for a fashion show celebrating black hair. As we awaited hair prep and made introductions my soul kept saying she was familiar. That’s when she made me aware that I actually had worked with her sister in the past, with one of my first beauty campaigns with Creme of Nature.

Tierra Benton met Pantene Campaign co star, Demi Grace's sister, Deborah Ayorinde (top right) in 2010 for a hair campaign with Creme of Nature.

Tierra Benton met Pantene Campaign co star, Demi Grace's sister, Deborah Ayorinde (top right) in 2010 for a hair campaign with Creme of Nature.

Since then Demi and have tapped into the fierceness of our creative expressions.  It all came full circle when I came on set for my first look with PANTENE and I took notice to her photo as the template for the shot-list. I smiled at the synchronicity of the universe which once again confirmed that I was in the flow.   

Tierra Benton rocks her natural afro for the Pantene Gold Series Campaign

Tierra Benton rocks her natural afro for the Pantene Gold Series Campaign

 Demi Grace co-star's in the Pantene Gold Series commercial campaign

 Demi Grace co-star's in the Pantene Gold Series commercial campaign

It has been a supreme pleasure be apart of this project. All the golden Queens are so talented and sweet and the creative team crafted such a work of art. I am not surprised that all the good energy we each put in last December has been well received across the webiverse. From celebrities like my childhood idols Brandy, Kimora Lee Simons, and Jada Pinkette Smith, all appreciated and shared the ad. In addition to being featured on mega networks like FOX, BET and more - it has all beenmagical. Wednesday's experience put the icing on an already sweet situation when I saw my big head on the Marriott Marquis’ megatron in Times Square NY.

Tierra Benton featured in Times Square NY
Tierra Benton featured in Times Square NY

 Nearly paralyzed, all I could utter was wow.

In the matter of seconds so much information flashed through my minds eye. So many memories. So many seeds sewn. So many shows, shoots and stones laid. So many well wishes and so much support from the heavenly and earthly beings. I was filled with gratitude because it was all relevant, all so purposefully placed and it all brought me to the now. The now of accomplishing yet another dream. The now of being featured before millions in the fashion, culture and tourism capitol of the world. Most importantly it brought me to the now of knowing this is only the beginning.

I never did take the traditional path. I came to this city like many beautiful beings - with a little bit of money and a big bright dream. I still remember the lump in my throat from fighting tears as I drove to the airport with my mother and brother knowing my one way flight was going to change us all forever. I share my story as an example for beings like me. Be encouraged and be true to your self. Invest in those things that bring you joy and fulfill your purpose. When you feel that dream bubbling in your soul that just won't leave you alone, follow it. At first the path may not be clear but trust me you will find your way. Nurture your gifts and refine your craft. Love it fearlessly and be open to deepening your inner standing of its highest expression. When you begin to reach the peaks of your successes and reap your harvests,  remember your roots. Remember your true source. Remember you got this. Remember you are everything and everything is you. Remember what your momma and daddy, sisters and brother told you. That way when it’s your time to shine - you glo’ up and do it BIG like only you can.

LOVE and LIGHT,

TEA

Beneath the Surface. Behind the Scenes.

Take peek from pages of my diary. My intention in sharing is to help you help yourself through the dark and confusing periods of your own self discovery. I am so pleased with the #PanteneGoldSeriesCampaign! The entire experience was magical and a wonderful conclusion to a year of personal transformation, truth and healing inside and out.  Thank you for being here and sharing in my journey. Happy reading and may you be guided to your highest expression by your own inner greatness. Enjoy the journey!

- Tierra Benton

Tierra Benton gets prepared for set with celebrity stylist Chucki Love and his team of talented experts.

Last year, I felt my maker plucked me up and planted me head first into the deepest and darkest soil of potential. At the time I couldn't see or even express the complexities of the challenging yet healing experiences I was afforded to endure.  In the depths of that dark soil laid the potential for everything. Every option. Every path. Every side to every coin wrapped tightly around my body upside down and sinking in a black hole of confusion. Around me all my dreams and fears. All the recordings of my ups and my downs. All my past, present and future paths. Embraced by everything I was so hot and so cold at the same time. At moments I felt paralyzed. Faced with so much me. I cried out to the sky I DIDN'T ASK FOR THIS! I didn't request this unrelenting duel between the angel and the animal of me. My body churned in pain while my mind ran a muck. Desperately reaching for relief my Divine answered - The healing for your pain is in your pain.

So, I followed the path down a long dark hallway. What did I do? Is it I who needs forgiveness? Is it me with blockages and barricades between my self and unconditional love? I could feel the cold burn of confirmation. I continued on. Surrounded and with no where to hide I realized how I directed my journey to this darkness. Alone.

Nearly a year of earth time past, yet in darkness I remained. There I learned to see with all of me and developed seeing all with my soul. I unlocked the truth in my wounds and the wisdom in my womb. I thanked my pain for the the lessons and I let its hold on me release. Still in the blackness I learned to be still. I learned there was no shortcut through my darkness. I remembered that my life's challenges are simply genuine opportunities for spiritual growth. In darkness I remained, yet I visualized healing and expressing my brightest self. Though I could feel the darkness grow closer I let the fire of the possibility burn within. I used my power to act and let go of all the lies I let my fears tell me about who I be. I claimed my divine crown in the darkness of my own shadow. 

Tierra Benton on set for Pantene Gold Series Campaign - Photo by Nicole Ortero

I followed my spirit to my soul and committed to nurturing that omnipotent light.

My world shifted, I noticed my inner love flowed into my physical experiences. As I accepted my raw and true form the world herself, folded, curved and grooved to accommodate my actions and to reflect right back to me through beautiful beings and opportunity. I decided to embody the beauty of my crown. I grew more in love with my female energy and rose from the density of that dark and deep soil. I rose restored, and draped in regal realness.

Tierra Benton on set with Pantene and Pulse Films - Film Photo by Nicole Ortero
Tierra Benton on set with Pulse Films for the Pantene Gold Series Campaign

Today I am grateful for the process of darkness. I embrace my divine light and send love and healing vibrations outward to the hearts of all. May you too embrace the beauty of your whole journey. May you accept the process of your purification. May you choose the path of balance, wisdom and love. And when you emerge from the cacoon of your creation, may you unapologetically embody the TRUTH in you. Bless your regal presence and the brilliance of your crown.

#STRONGISBEAUTIFUL

 

 

Be True - Be You : My return to Georgia State University
Tierra Benton Georgia State Alumni Speaker Series
Tierra Benton and Pounce at Georgia State University: Distinguished Alumna Speaker Series
Tierra Benton and Pounce of Georgia State University
Tierra Benton and Mentor Eshe Collins embrace during the Distinguished Alumna Series Reception
Tierra Benton poses with the Zeta Mu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity incorporated

It had been 4 years since I returned to my alma mater, Georgia State University, a precious gem ever growing in the heart of down town Atlanta. I was pleased to return on a mission with the purpose of curating a creative conversation with the student body on truths that I have found to be helpful along my path of successfully realizing my dreams. 

Thank you to everyone who came out to share in the experience. We had a wonderful experience starting the discussion with focusing in on the creative power present in us all. We went on to discuss the power of speaking and thinking positive about ourselves as we set out to realize our dreams. I was pleased to be back to share with a space that provided me so many lessons and positive periods of growth. 

In all I have experienced, I intend for my work to serve as a reflection to others releasing themselves of negativity and fear and courageously creating a life that is abundantly happy and successful. 

I have come to understand many gems as I have grown along my journey. Ultimately I have found that a strong and positive self image is the best preparation for a happy and successful life. I aim to embody holistic wellness and creative inspiration as I continue to grow.

I am so full and so grateful for the opportunity looking forward to continuing the conversation. 

#BeTrue #BeYou

Distinguished Student Speaker Series Tierra Benton
Tierrra Benton Georgia State Alumna Speaker Series
Tierra Benton Speaks to the student body of Georgia State University
Tierra Benton Georgia State University
Tierra Benton connects with the student body of her alma mater, Georgia State University
Runway Reflections

Legend has it, when I was just 4 years old I told my mother that when I grew up, I wanted to be a "walker". I moved to NYC three years ago to fulfill this childhood dream and since then I have had so many beautiful experiences and worked with so many amazing and creative beings. Enjoy this recap of my journey on the fashion week runways of NYC.

...and most importantly I hope you too take the leap of love toward your dreams and true hearts desires. It takes alot of work and persistence but the pay off of creating a life around what you love is more that worth it :)

Tall Girl Struggles : Finding the Perfect Pair of Jeans

The average height for women in the U.S. is just over 5 ft. I’m 6'2" and I will say, being tall does come in handy when reaching the upper most shelves of the grocery store. In fact, most people who meet me for the first time are so thrilled by my height, many express,

I wish I was tall

 to which I giggle and say,

“ until it’s time to purchase clothing ”.

I’ve always been all legs and taller than most of my peers. In middle school, I was taller than most of my teachers and the challenge to find jeans became apparent. A fashion model and actress now living in New York, I rock with a lengthy 38” inseam and a round derriere. Take this journey with me to one of the busiest shopping malls in the country on the hunt to find the perfect fitting jeans. 

Texture on the Runway Recap

 Texture on the Runway for New York Fashion week was a celebration of all that is beautiful in the world of kinky curly and naturally textured hair. After a fun day of preparation with the Creme of Nature team, I was afforded the incredible opportunity to hit the runway along with my fellow curly girls, Britney, Wemi, Victoria, and Taiwo. Our hair was layed by the incomparable celebrity hair stylist Chuckie Amos, the incredible red collection of 70s inspired looks were crafted by the talented Brooklyn based fashion designer, David Delacruz.

We each sported bright red lips with a supermodel attitude and a collection to match on the chilly eve of valentines day. Backstage was crazy, as to be expected with hair brands of all kinds preparing their models and their tresses for the show. We were the third group to hit the stage, following the beauties from Soft Sheen Dark and Lovely. As we were are all taking selfies of our beautiful makeup - compliments of the Milani cosmetics team- the producers ran down stairs yelling.

"Creme of Nature your up now!"

Not yet dressed, the five of us quickly made it over to David and his assistant to get ready for the runway. In a flash, we made it up stairs and backstage. In rehearsal David encouraged each of us to really have fun and to channel the mood and energy of the great supermodels who slayed before us. Our funky groove music pumped through the curtain and with no time to spare, David shouted

" Tea, your first! "

As those black patent leather YSL pumps hit the top of that cat walk, it felt like 1980 and I had just stepped into the center of studio 54. Time stopped. Camera’s flashed. Curls flew, and life was given. The energy in the room was amazing and through my fire engine red shades I could see the glow of camera phones, and curly afros all over the place. The chorus of YAAASSSSS and WERK rang from wall to wall and must say I enjoyed every second of the slay. It was so refreshing to be in an environment celebrating the radiant beauty of healthy, natural hair complimented by quality brands and products.

NYFW Tierra Benton with the Creme of Nature Models during Texture on the Runway backstage with Brooklyn based fashion designer David DelaCruz

I'd like to extend a huge THANK YOU to the lovely team of Texture Media! A Special STANK YOU to the Legendary Chuckie Love for our heavenly hair styles and David DelaCruz for such a beautiful and show stopping collection. Lastly, much thanks to the lovely ladies leading the brand of Creme of Nature especially Teneya Golston and Jolorie Williams. We have been working together since 2009 and I appreciate every opportunity you allow me to support and grow with such a pinnacle brand. 

The Creme of Nature Team and models during Texture on the Runway February 13th 2015

Fresh Off The Runway

Last summer was a busy one. I was booked nearly every day and enjoyed the chance for travel to Miami for Swim Week. In fact, my calendar was so slammed that the day I was scheduled to return to NY - I was also booked for the first day of filming Lifetime's premier Season of Project Runway Junior. The call time of 12:15 was same time I was due to land. YIKES. Tried everything including getting to the air port at 4:30am to slide on the first flight out. Denied and had no choice but to cut it close with my original 9am departure and cross my fingers that by some blow of the wind we land early allowing me time to make it to the studio. To add to the drama, I didn't pack the required model uniform of jeans and a plain tank - instead my suite case was full ofsun dresses, shorts, and and bikinis . Thank the heavens for my partner and brand manager, Marvin who would drop off gear.

We boarded early and everything was all good. I shot a text to management to share good news and closed my eyes for a well needed nap. I came back to consciousness nearly an hour later to find we where still on the runway. I suppressed my urge to flip out and took a deep breath. Meanwhile my phone alerted with several stressful messages from my booker as she found out about the delay. If I couldn't make it to the studio on time I was due to be replaced. whooosa. By then, the sun had risen and as my eyes caught its radiance I heard the wisdom of my mother’s voice.

“What is for you, is for you…"

After 10am we hit runway to finally lift off toward NY - I had no control of what was to come and really didn't know what would happen so I rested. I was in and out of dream world until around 12 when the pilot said we would be landing soon. At 12:20 I could see the NY skyline and for a split second considered cutting time by taking a parachute to glide directly to the studio. As we landed I got the text no model once to see.

" If you can’t get there in 15 they will have to replace you"

By the way- Laguardia is 25-30 minutes away from the studio. Game Time. I made the decision to make this booking BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.The moment I exited the plane I ran like a hungry cheetah in by my jungle green romper and cheetah sandals by Sam Edelman . I high jumped over children and rolled by sweet old ladies in a mad dash for the exit. I slammed through the exit doors to find a lengthy line of those ahead of me for a cab.

I had no choice but to get into character. [ cues tears ]

" I’m so sorry ladies and gentleman but I have a HUGE job opportunity today and my flight was delayed and I just… please if you could..." [ insert sobbing and more tears

Affected by my display, the first lady in line said I could go ahead of her - I smiled inside as I wiped my tears and expressed my sincere gratitude.I hopped in the cab and just like the movies I exclaimed,  STEP ON IT! The odds were against me, by I was still was 20 minutes away. Oh and did I mention it was rush hour bumper to bumper traffic? Luckily, I had a creative driver who didn’t mind driving very fast as he floored it on the highway shoulder. With my phone battery on 5 percent, I called Marvin to confirm he dropped the gear - behold he too was in traffic.

Desperate, with my deadline swiftly approaching,  I sent screen shots of my location to Trask, the model coordinator, confirm that I was close as the cab plowed through the freeway. It felt like a scene from Fast and Furious the moment was so intense. Thankfully Trask, was able to buy me more time. I was relieved when the cab screeched up to the curb of the studio and I was greeted by his and Marvin's smiling faces.

Yay! Tea you made it

echoed from the room of models, many whom I've worked with before.

[ wipes brow] whew. SHOWTIME!

#DesignerVictoria Cohen of Project Runway Junior Season 1

#DesignerVictoria Cohen of Project Runway Junior Season 1

I really wasn’t sure what to expect, I was told Victoria would be my designer as we all lined up to begin filming.

ACTION!
We entered and the hugs and nice to meet you’s commenced. Victoria had a sporty all black look with some kick ass boots. She rocked a bright purple lip and had this vibe like she could do some serious work on a base guitar. From Cleveland, with a sporty posh vibe she told me about her inspiration she made adjustments.

Each week we worked together to give the judges our best on the runway. I admired Victoria’s confidence and positive view of her work no matter the reviews. She reminded me of myself as a teen, in my own word on my own rhythm and clearly different from my peers.  We bowed gracefully after Episode 4: OMG! That's Michelle Obama, when the judges offered their final critique of her work for the School Girl challenge.

Tierra Benton wearing #DesignerVictoria Project Runway Junior S1 E1 Welcome to New York

Tierra Benton wearing #DesignerVictoria Project Runway Junior S1 E1 Welcome to New York

Tierra Benton wearing #DesignerVictoria Project Runway Junior S1 E3 Team Work is Hard

Tierra Benton wearing #DesignerVictoria Project Runway Junior S1 E4 OMG, That's Michelle Obama

Tierra Benton wearing #DesignerVictoria Project Runway Junior S1 E4 OMG, That's Michelle Obama

Tierra Benton wearing #DesignerVictoria Project Runway Junior S1 E2 An Unconventional Carwash

Tierra Benton wearing #DesignerVictoria Project Runway Junior S1 E2 An Unconventional Carwash

Participating in this production was such a rewarding experience. I enjoyed working with the young and talented #DesignerVictoria as well as the awesome production team. I look forward to more greatness from Victoria and each of the designers as they bloom into maturity and mastery of their craft.  My experience from start to finish has proven my mother's wisdom to be true. When I really think about it, everything always works out- especially when your willing to put in the work.  It was only a few years ago I moved to this city for better career opportunities. My eyes are bright with ambition to see what adventure, the future holds from runway to runway.

Tierra in a Project Runway Junior finale fashion week preview look by #DesignerMaya

Tierra in a Project Runway Junior finale fashion week preview look by #DesignerMaya

 

Be sure to watch Part 2 of the Project Runway Junior Finale Show on Lifetime Feb 4th at 9/8 CT

Born into the 90s

 

I remember back in the ancient world - The 90s-  when photography was a process. First Mommi had to open the back of the camera, carefully insert film, and then she was ready to shoot. Next she would check exposure settings, take a peek through the view finder and CLICK! Moment by moment she would capture memories. Next she had to carefully remove the film and take it to the local photo shop to be developed. After a day or two, we could return to see the finished and printed products of her labor. Lastly, we would purchase a photo book to organize the comical and sometimes embarrassing moments of mine and my brother, DeVonte’s childhood.

Today the process of taking an image and sharing it can be completed in seconds. Simply identify the subject, take out smart phone and tap screen, edit and share to the social media platform of your choice. These days people barley invest time to read a paragraph let alone wait days for photo to be printed to see it. Though I still shoot film, I'm not a stranger to swift social sharing.  My drugs of choice, Instagram and Facebook.These platforms make keeping up with memories, family, and friends from around the world is so swift and simple.

But surely, I'm not the only one who still appreciates the classic photography process. There is nothing like seeing your photos live and in print. But who has the time to invest in the process?

" Not I " said the modelprenuer.

This is why I LOVE CHATBOOKS. I get the best of both worlds. I can continue to share my posts to Instagram and ChatBooks will organize AND print my feed in a quality photo book. I continue to live my fast paced, high octane, selfie generated, city life and ChatBooks handles the printing for me.

Did I mention ChatBooks offers great service AND can deliver your photo books to your door?

As a millennial , with ChatBooks I can hold on to what really matters- my iPhone, my Starbucks chai latte, and my memories and you can too.

Use my code tierr597 to subscribe your Instagram feed and receive your first photo book FREE!

Self Portrait on Film of Tierra Benton


Is your DREAM worth fighting for?

As I’ve grown, and matured in my career I have been met with quite a bit of challenges. I’ve had my hard work and investments reduced and defined as a pretty face, a product, a means to make money and most of it for someone else. I’ve been paid in well wishes, empty promises and the ever popular “exposure” neither of which can seem to sustain me or my financial security.

I’ve traveled countless hours by car, train and on foot accompanied by my roller bag full of clothes and shoes for the possibility a photographer to meet me half way in producing stellar images, timely. So I can then take those photos to an agency as proof to why I am worthy to be signed and represented and shown to their deities - I mean clients.

I am sure I have heard it all; “Your too tall, Your butt and hips are to big, Your books just not strong enough, Your book is too strong” I’ve been in and out of every model agency from NY to Miami and have been turned down and turned away from more agents and bookers than I can care to remember.

As I reflect on a career full of quality projects and collaborations, I'm glad I never gave up.

Quite frankly, fitting in with others has never really been my thing and anything worth having is worth fighting for. Some times the battle is against those professional haters who gave up on their dreams a long time ago and wish you would too. To be real, most times the battle is within myself. I have to fight those parts of me that doubt I can do it, beat the hell out of those fears and what ifs. I have to go straight WWF on any part of me that try to rationalize why it’s ok to give up.

When building an empire there will be many who will test your values. Many more who will fight your vision. I encourage you to stay focused, play your game and be ever careful in your actions. Because when your time comes and you must fight you're in a better position to strike with strength and TENACITEA.  

That is of course if you want to live the dream.

What will you fight for?

Hugh Morris Photography       Hair: J Coerbell       MUA: Dionne S.     Stylist : Paige LaCroix Starrett City Boxing Club  

Hugh Morris Photography       Hair: J Coerbell       MUA: Dionne S.     Stylist : Paige LaCroix

Starrett City Boxing Club