By Beth Lebwohl
Model and entrepreneur My-Cherie Haley has a radiance that’s grounded in hard-earned wisdom, and this wisdom reveals itself in her open smile, elegance and, of course, her thoughtful outlook on fashion.
Originally from South Carolina, Haley has made her living as a professional model for 15 years. She has modeled for high fashion designer lines like Oscar de la Renta and Christian Dior, and also for contemporary lines like Betsey Johnson and Michael Kors.
Haley noted that her passion for modeling is rooted in family. “I grew up loving fashion,” she said. “I think it’s because my mom had a closet full of beautiful clothes, scarves, jewelry and shoes. I loved playing dress-up. As I got older, we would go shopping together at vintage and thrift stores. I feel like fashion was a chance for me to bond with my mom.”
Haley honors that bond every time she strolls down a catwalk, and she told me that modeling has offered her an opportunity to gain confidence and just have a good time. Still, she acknowledged the shadows of her industry.
“I’m of Cuban-Jamaican descent,” Haley said. “It’s hard to break into the fashion industry, but if you are African-American it’s even harder. I can count the number of renowned African-American designers and supermodels on two hands. Would I like to change that? Yes. How? I don’t know. I think just being aware of it and talking about it is the first step.”
The model has taken many steps beyond the first one, just by virtue of being so active in the world of fashion. For instance, Haley started a business in 2008 called Shimmer & Bliss; she made and sold hand-dyed silk scarves. “I was known for making vivid color palettes,” she said. “Color inspires me. I think that color is the universal language, so I definitely incorporate it in my shoots, wardrobe and everyday life.”
Haley suspended her work on Shimmer & Bliss to pursue her long-standing dream of promoting young talent. She now serves as a consultant and mentor for youths who want to model and act. Haley loves it, but she’s already considering her next foray into fashion.
“One of my dreams after having kids was to design a kids’ line,” she said. “I might just do that.”
“Grace Jones is one of my favorites. She is a singer, songwriter, model, record producer and actress and she has never been afraid to express her personal style. I love her charisma and confidence. She’s 66 years old and I recently saw her perform. I couldn’t believe how fit and fashionable she was. Definitely an inspiration to me.
I’m also a big fan of fashion designer John Varvatos. I just think he has impeccable style. I just hung out with him at a Ziggy Marley concert and he was dressed to the nines. He has a classic and casual, yet elegant style that sets him apart from others. He loves to rock scarves, so that alone makes him one of my favorite fashion icons.”
Get The Look
1. W3LL People- Universalist Matte Multi-Use Colorstick
“I’m a beauty product junkie, so it’s really hard for me to pick just one, but if I have to choose I would have to say my W3LL People’s Universalist Matte Multi-Use Colorstick that can be used on the lips, cheeks and eyes.”
2. Raven + Lily- Evelyn Brass Horn Teardrop Earrings
“I’m pretty obsessed with my Raven + Lily brass horn teardrop earrings.”
3. Shimmer + Bliss, Lemon Meringue Scarf
“My must-have accessory is definitely my Shimmer & Bliss scarves. Whenever I don’t feel like doing my hair, I can throw a scarf on and go.”
Written by Beth Lebwohl
Images Courtesy of My-Cherie Haley, Grace Jones
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Beth Lebwohl earned her writing chops here in Texas, where, for several years, she produced stories for EarthSky, a globally syndicated science radio program. In addition to her passion for the written (and spoken) word, Beth loves the graphic and decorative arts, tea, goat farms and the warm-hearted folks of Austin. She is a proud native of Queens, New York.
Writing: Beth Lebwohl
Photography: Chris Perez – @citygrammag
Images of Eden East Courtesy of Nom Nom PR
Written by Beth Lebwohl
Images Courtesy of Stephen MacMillan Moser, Frances Mac Laughlin, LIFE