Meet Zora James (also known as Z-Jay), aspiring model and producer from New York City. She’s been working all 2016 to make it known she’s here to stay. Doing countless shoots all over the big city she has set sights to encourage women of all sizes to cherish their body. I got the chance to speak with her about her inspiration behind modeling, social media, future collaborations and more!

Read below for full interview:

 

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Q: For the readers who are unfamiliar with you, please take the time to introduce yourself.

A: My name is Zora James, Z-Jay for short. I’m an aspiring model and musician.

 

Q: What inspired you to become a model?

A: My father always had a love for cameras so since I was young he would take pictures of me, you know, nothing special just at family events. It wasn’t until I got older that I found people who had the same interests that I really started taking it serious.

 

Q: Did you ever think you’d become a model?

A: Not at all. When I was younger I hated my body so much it was crazy. I’m not small, I have curves, I also used to have acne and big ass glasses, so looking like that I felt I was ugly. It literally never crossed my mind that I would have some type of potential to model until I went through puberty and you know. . . kinda got cute (lol).

 

Q: Who are your role models? Why?

A: Ashley Graham. She’s bold, beautiful, and she’s shaped like me. It’s hard for me to find someone I can look up to that also has my figure but she stands out. She’s sexy and classy. Everything I want to stand for.

Anaya Ivy. She’s an upcoming stylist that I really love. Another bold and beautiful person.

Heather sanders. I’ve been told she’s “my twin”. She’s hard working, full figured and beautiful. My list literally goes on but I really look up to women I can relate to.

 

Q: Do you recognize any differences between the model world today and perhaps 10 years ago?

A: I do, creativity has changed. I think that’s due to the time difference. But also, the amount of work put into the craft. You can’t snap a picture with your phone and say “hey I’m a model” no doesn’t work like that.

 

Q: Do you think social media has ruined or helped the art of modeling?

A: When you are at a photo shoot with artists, photographers and stylist there’s a creative presence in the room and the fact that you can do so much on social media with just your phone and be called a “model” it has ruined the essence of creating the art that you do at a photo shoot. Don’t get me wrong it’s great being able to take a picture for your social media and get your work out there, but there’s certain things you grasp at a photo shoot.

 

Q: What do you think is your best feature?

A: My curves and eyes.

 

Q: Tell us about your first modeling experience.

A: My very first photo-shoot I messaged a photographer named Zenobia. She was looking for new people to shoot and it just so happened that she graduated from my school and was my mentor. I told her I really wanted to model asked her when could we shoot. Eventually we chose a day and we shot in Soho.

When I was doing the shoot I thought I was doing so horrible, I felt so bad. The whole time Zenobia just kept telling me “these are coming out so freaking good” when I tell you I thought she was lying (lol) . . . I really thought the girl was trying to make me feel better. We eventually went to shoot on a corner and we ran into another photographer. I was able to network with him and another artist by the name of Minato. We got some shots together. And by the next week I got the photos back and they came out amazing and I posted them on my IG and I ended up getting messages from people that were interested in shooting with me. I was able to use my social media get my work around.

 

Q: Are their any designers or brands that you want to work with in the future?

A: I would really love to work with V Lone, Off White, Dior & Balmain. I would also really like to be in one of the Yeezy seasons. I really like underground designers so that list really goes on. I’m open to anything.

 

Q: Being in the pubic eye, you will be an inspiration for girls all over the world; what words of wisdom would you give them?

A: You are you for a reason. Don’t ever let anyone take away your reason for being you. If God wanted us all to be the same he would’ve made us all the same. But did he? No. So live up to your potential and fuck what anybody says. Do you!

 

Q: Was there ever a time you wanted to give up?

A: Of course. Looking at other people I really would think to myself “I can’t do this, I don’t look like them” then I realized that’s the exact reason why I have to do it.

 

Q: What advice would you give someone looking to become a model? 

A: Be different. Be creative. If you see everyone doing the same thing, stand out but also be yourself. Fitting in won’t get you to the front.

 

 Q: This is always a hard questions but, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

A: I do love modeling, but in 5 years I really do see my self pursuing music and modeling on the side. I’ll be the model that can produce your next album.

 

etcQ: How long have you been interested in music?

A: I have been interested in music since I popped out the womb lol. My father is an extreme music head that completely rubbed off on me and I can’t be more thankful.

 

Q: What attracted you to the art of producing?

A: I can’t rap. I can sing a note here or there, and I’m not the best at writing lyrics so I was just like why not. Throughout my life I’ve been playing different instruments. So it basically hit me one day that since I love music so much this what I can do.

 

Q: Do you have a favorite producer? If so, who and why. 

A: I have a list! Pharrell Williams, Kanye, Quincy Jones, Kendrick, Stevie Wonder; lol if I continued this list people would be reading all day. Every producer I look up to has such a creative mind that you can’t find I any other. It’s amazing.

 

Q: Do you think producers get the credit they deserve?

A: I think as a whole producers do. There’s awards and things like that for the job, but I really think some are way too underrated as individual artist.

 

Q: If you had the chance to produce a song for three artists, who would they be and why?

A: Oh man only choosing three is hard. Kendrick. I really think I would be able to vibe out with him. Andre 3000, I mean who wouldn’t with 3 stacks, freaking amazing artist. And the last one either Kanye or Nas. Their knowledge in the music business would make them great artist to work with.

 

Q: What type of advice would you give an upcoming producer?

A: Any opportunity you get to network, be in the studio, or make a beat take it. Be a beast at what you do. HARD WORK IS EVERYTHING!

 

Q: Is there anything you would like to say to your supporters out there?

A: I LOVE YOU GUYSSSSSSSSSS! Every like every inspirational comment or message or words you give me is what gives me the drive and the faith that I can really be somebody one day. Stay with me guys. Z-Jay is only up and coming!

 

To catch more of Zora follow her on Instagram.

About The Author

Sasha "Andro" Bannister is a 19 y/o songwriter and photographer from The Bronx, NY. She's been writing music for over 7 years and practicing photography for a little over 5. Coming from a musically inclined family, it's no wonder she's been attracted since a young age. Having the ability to play several instruments, she hopes to make an impact in the music world. She is currently a member our music team but from time to time comments on Fashion, Photography, and Modeling. To catch up on her daily follow her on Instagram @fye.andro

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