Model Boshia Rae-Jean first got interested in fashion by watching Tyra Banks' proteges learn to smize on America's Next Top Model. "I feel like that's everyone's cliché story start in watching fashion in my generation," Rae-Jean, who is 26, tells Bustle. Perhaps a little less cliché: Even after watching loads of ANTM, Rae-Jean didn't initially want to be a model — in fact, she had career ambitions from the time she was 16 of being a creative director. "I actually took a liking to the aesthetic of being able to showcase art through clothing and showcase a feeling and a mood through clothing though makeup," she explains. It wasn't until later in high school when Rae-Jean started gathering every Sunday with a group of girlfriends to do photoshoots for fun, that she realized the women competing on ANTM to be professional models might have had the right career idea.
Since those photoshoots, Rae-Jean has continue to diversify her interests, both in the fashion world and out. She has an Instagram account that boasts over 5K followers, where people go for inspiration in modest fashion, both in her personal style and modeling gigs. Her warm, patient personality and educating style helps too: Rae-Jean has been shot for Bustle, and prioritized lifting up the confidence of her fellow models on set.
The profile description on @boshiaraejean reads "Young Muslimah باشا. Alhumdoulilah ▪️UmmaModels ▪️GTAgency ▪️Certified Doula ▫️AfroFuturist ▫️Musician ▫️Influencer" — a perfect display of how multifaceted Rae-Jean's life has been. Rae-Jean tells Bustle she converted to Islam in 2015, which opened up a whole new opportunity to experiment with her personal style. "I was covering before I converted," Rae-Jean explains. "I was wearing head wraps ... My dad's Jamaican, so I have that kind of rastafarian cultural background in fashion." Now, she appreciates that there are many different ways to be modest. "It's very much a fluid thing," Rae-Jean says. "When it's hot, I don't want my hair [to be covered] all the way. I always leave some air for my neck to breathe ... I'm just being patient with myself. I'm not rushing into anything."
Below, Rae-Jean talks about her experience as in the fashion industry, tips for dealing with trolls, and the designer she hopes to work with next.