Text & Photography: Lanre Adetola
They present themselves with a wave of fresh, new, and most importantly unforgiving energy. And not just high energy; it's a carefree and confident approach to being. Whether the model walk mood during practice be fierce, dark, or fun, they bring just that, but also a hint of their own individual flair. After just a few minutes of meeting Kayla and Lauren it only made sense that they ended up next to each other on the alphabetical organization of models on the members page. Kayla hails from Bristol, PA, and Lauren from the state of Michigan, but at the Pittsburgh area these two unique individuals unite to take SPIRIT Fashion Show and the like by storm.
So Kayla and Lauren you two seem rather close. Can you tell us a little about how you met?
Kayla: We met freshman year at a mudslide event during orientation week
Lauren: So August 2014
"Some people take time until they show their true colors and we just wear them proudly."
That's quite some time ago. Some say friendships that form during orientation week tend to be more fleeting and superficial. What do you think helped you two transcend that?
Lauren: I think it helped that we weren't trying to come to college to change who we are in order to make friends. So from the beginning we've just been ourselves. Some people take time until they show their true colors and we just wear them proudly.
Kayla: I also think we're both just people who will work to keep a friendship if we see something worth it. When we fight, we fight. Then the fight is over. No more carrying that around...I also don't think either of us is afraid to apologize, which is important in making amends
The wearing your colors part is definitely something I sensed as soon as I met you both. Its refreshing to meet people that are courageous in that way. I want to use those notions of being proud and carefree that you both talk about to segue into the idea for the shoot. You two came to me with the idea to approach this topic without a doubt in your minds it seemed. What experiences brought you to it (the idea for the shoot)?
Kayla: The amount of slut shaming in this day and age.
Lauren: There's all these stigmas surrounding women that embrace their sexuality and still demand respect and not many people realize that my choices to engage in certain activities doesn't mean I don't respect myself. It only means I made a decision to follow my own wishes instead of theirs.
"I've always been a confident and unashamed person"
Mmm. A slut shaming that disproportionately targets women at that. What gives you two the confidence to defy, or might I say resist, that?
Lauren: I'm fully aware that I am living my life for myself and hopefully I only benefit others in the process. It has never made sense that I let other people decide for me.
Kayla: I've always been a confident and unashamed person, so there was really never a conscious decision to defy. I just realized it was happening around me, said no thanks, and proceeded.
"I made a decision to follow my own wishes instead of theirs."
Amazing. On top of all of this you two are still students. How is your time at university contributing to your greater aspirations?
Lauren: Aspirations in general?
General, professional, academic...Whatever you're in school for.
Lauren: The time I spent here enlightened me to how-to put it frankly-white the country. There's students at this university surprised that an Indian peer could be from Chicago. So that's given myself a goal to spread the melting pot of race and culture throughout the US better. I hope to accomplish that by opening businesses and franchises and creating more cities people of color are willing and comfortable living. I'm an economics major with a minor in sociology
Kayla: I'm a chemical engineer by profession and simply being in school has contributed to that. I also want to be a professional salsa dancer, which I am working towards through being on an advanced salsa dance team at a studio in Bloomfield. And I've always had an interest in fashion and modeling so being in three fashion shows this year has been my chance to indulge in that since that's not a serious pursuit of mine. Maybe something I'd do if it just fell on my lap.