Exclusively Bella Fine Art & Fashion

When you open up any fashion magazine, what you see are the beautiful young ladies, and handsome young men who have worked hard to make a name for themselves within the fashion industry. Also within its pages, are designers, photographers, makeup artist, and promoters of the industry.  But what you don’t see is that part of the industry that no one wants to talk about, (the underbelly, the seamy side of modeling and fashion, the dark side that’s not talked about very often). There are those who are taken advantage of, used and manipulated, the young ladies and men out there who think they must do things that leave them vulnerable to unsavory predators who promise the world, leading them to think this will help them get their foot into the door. You see it everyday, young women putting themselves in compromising positions, thinking it’s necessary to take their cloths off and expose themselves.

It drives some to take drastic steps to protect those they love, those who aspire to make a career in the fashion industry from those who would take advantage of young men and women that are hoping to build a career in fashion.

This brings me to the introduction of a concerned mother who felt it was necessary to create an entity called Exclusively Bella Fine Art & Fashion. This Mother was concerned enough about the plight of young men and women in metro Detroit, in their quest to build a modeling career. She created this business with much thought and prayer, and she has put together a team that is focused on protecting these young people at whatever cost. So let me introduce you to Debra Faison.

Hello Deb and let me thank you for this opportunity to talk about your thinking when you decided to create Bella. As creature of Exclusively Bella Artist, what is behind your motivation? Is there one particular incident that caused the genesis of Bella?

First Calvin, I’d like to say that it’s a privilege to speak on something so near and dear to my heart. The protection of our young people and those who aspire to the one particular career that makes them especially vulnerable to exploitation. Thank you for the opportunity. I’m both honored and humbled by it. I’ve one incident in mind with my own daughter, but more pressing than the one incident has been the lifetime of struggle I had to endure as a single mother to protect my daughters. They were both quite lovely drawing attention everywhere we went. I was the only barrier between them and exploitation by predators. My creation of Bella Silver for model safety is simple. I see my role as the creator of Bella Silver as just having accepted the torch from parents and loved ones worried about their daughters and sons becoming aspiring models in the metro Detroit Area.

We all know that the fashion industry is something to marvel at with the talented designers of fashion, photographers and most importantly the beautiful models. But it is the underbelly of fashion that is never talked about. As a mother is there one aspect of the modeling industry that concerns you more, and can you elaborate on the incident that made you think to yourself, I must do something to protect not only my daughters, but young vulnerable women who aspire to become involved in the industry?

I was born and raised in Detroit! I’m very proud of Detroit’s fashion industry!!! It’s magical in its compilation of uniquely talented people from designers to models and everything in between!! And yes, as everything else in life, it also has its dark side! But the dark side is not specific to any one location such as Detroit. It is a global flaw in humanity to take advantage of other’s who are weaker, less informed, or just possibly so anxious for achievement that they are ignoring present and existing dangers lurking out here.

Exclusively Bella understands that. And to have that understanding but stand by and do nothing is almost as bad as exploitation. I am active against the problem because through my own daughters I’m keenly aware that the problem exists and knowing about it, yet sitting back and doing nothing, is just not an option, personally for Deb Faison.

To elaborate on the one incident that made me think I needed to do something? One of my daughters and I were at a mall, and just happened to walk past a young man appearing to be in his late 20’s, or so, standing at a payphone talking as we passed by, my daughter being about 17 at the time, the young man took one look at my daughter, dropped the telephone receiver, and began to shamelessly proposition my 17 year old with her mother standing next to her. I was appalled! He was trying to give my daughter a business card to a modeling agency. Without thinking I grabbed my daughter by the arm and began tugging at her to get her away from the guy….but she wanted to hear what he had to say and she was fighting ME, her mom to go back to this guy!!

I managed to finally get her away and off to lunch we went, but she told me I’d embarrassed her, and was keeping her from fulfilling a dream! Suddenly I was the “enemy” and the stranger became the hero wanting her to be the best she could be.

I will never forget the feeling of helplessness, and lack of words to reason with my daughter at that point. I tear up remembering the feeling of helplessness. Nothing I said mattered anymore, at that point she thought she wanted to model.

Adolescent rebellion is at an all time high naturally at about 17. And those who prey on our babies know how to get control over and beyond the caution a parent teaches. I will always remember that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as I saw I was not reaching my daughter.  Now if that should happen to any parent they can take their daughters and sons by the hand and say “OK!!! You wish to be a serious model? We are heading to Exclusively Bella!”

The allure of modeling is something that takes captive the imaginations of many young men and women everywhere. But there are young people out there that feel it is necessary to degrade themselves to get their foot in the door. Give me your thoughts on this and how you fell about those who are so eager to do almost anything to succeed and make it in this industry, and those who will take advantage of the eagerness of these young people.

This is exactly why Exclusively Bella is needed. There is something about fame, and limelight that calls to us shamelessly!!! Laughter  We are easily seduced by the catwalk and bright lights. I don’t wish to see anyone degrade themselves for that. The runway and fame should be a shining reward after models have put in their time and dedication to their craft, not something they must degrade themselves for. It makes me angry to see some of society’s most aesthetically pleasing individuals not realizing their worth and their own ability to command respect as well as fame! And those that take advantage of them are just sleaze. And that is all I will say on that.

Although you are reluctant to discuss those who take advantage of these young people, can you talk about what dangers are out there for young men and women alike, and specifically what are some of the traps that are laid for young women in the industry? And in your opinion what obligation is placed on those more mature models that have been in the industry for some time, to give guidance to these young impressionable young ladies?

On the contrary, I’m not reluctant at all to discuss those who take advantage. The problem is I’m too willing to expand on it. I’m too emotional about it, and I’d like to keep my composure for the purpose of our interview.

The traps are many and sinister in nature. And the schemes are as varied and wide in variety as the number of those out there willing to work their scams on our ambitious and innocent ones!

Ranging from the obvious phony modeling agent pretending to be something they are not to lure both young men and young women into the game, to literal pimps putting their women business associates up to befriending our young people, later putting our kids out there to work the streets. They will offer them trips, to amusement parks, entertainment, and a glimpse at the good life under the innocent guise of just becoming friends, when it’s actually a process of deception to later convince young people to work the streets for them.

Our kids are being lured away from the protection of their homes, family and loved ones. At that point the situation can become very bleak. It’s more than disgraceful, it can be dangerous.

I hide my friend’s list on Facebook because it is filled with both professional and aspiring models so that possible predators can’t disturb my ladies and gentlemen who are models!

Regarding the more experienced models and new aspiring models. Well, they certainly aren’t obligated to, but it certainly speaks very well of those who do wish to mentor our new aspiring models at Bella!

In their own battles to fight the tide in modeling, it is very easy to forget others who need guidance and mentoring. I am always impressed and very proud when I here models who have reached a certain level of success agree to mentor those who are JUST learning. To be the one to put together the new model/mentor relationship is very rewarding.

It was established at our last Exclusively Bella meeting to begin a model mentoring program and I had my doubts. But since I have been working to find funding for the project, and speaking to other models who are willing to mentor, it has become something I look forward to seeing take shape!

This is one Bella Team vote that I am happy worked against my existing opinions. I believe the Bella Team can create an enriching and rewarding learning experience that skyrockets Bella models into successful professional modeling careers. In fact, I’m betting all I have on it, and working toward that very end.

What does Bella have to offer that the others don’t? Why should a young aspiring model choose to associate themselves with your organization and not feel like this is just another business that’s just out to make some money off their beauty?

Because Bella is the heavyweight champion in the skills department, with three (3) in house photographers, three (3) independent support photographers, our own beauty consultant for the model shoots, 25 featured designers/artists, boutiques, stylists in our feature series, all willing to help our models with just a phone call.

Our mentor program will be hot and hard for competitors to follow because Bella only gets the finest and has people willing to provide the best! We are a model’s best friend, uplifting spiritually in the down moments, supporting and skill giving, qualified and capable.

I don’t see why any model wouldn’t choose Bella. We are the real deal, providing excellence in service. A caring team working their butts of for their success now matter what it takes….

We don’t stand on ceremony at Bella. If there is something a model needs to reach the top and we don’t have it, we go get it! We customize our program to fit the needs of the individual model….No two models have exactly the same needs, they are all unique and so is EXCLUSIVELY BELLA in it’s commitment to their success!

Can you tell us a little bit about your team and what they bring to the table?

Bella is divided into three (3) divisions: Platinum, Gold and Silver.

Bella Silver Team:  (Photographer Calvin McDaniel, Sr.) A photographer with a unique style that I feel will suit our new models looking for a photographer that brings a touch of class, sexy and yet discreet distinction to their photos. He has an eye for classic beauty and captures it very well.

(Photographer Stephen Fuzzytek Boyle) A true artist…..Long time photographer and kindred spirit in the Detroit Fashion Industry. His experience and eye for what makes a model’s look, (work or not) is priceless. He knows what must be done to create a successful professional model from diet, to make-up, to proper photo angles that compliment. He’s our guru.

Board Member and Beauty Consultant: Teddie Nairobi. Multi Time Magazine honored braid artist, who’s been featured on Good Morning America, with styles so lovely that she was also featured on Ripley’s Believe it or Not, lends our models expert attention on their styling and fashion. Teddie knows about what makes a model look like a million dollars and adds that to Bella!

Boardmember Dr. Hakim Shahid, Minister and Financial Advisor, with a sharp eye for the arts. He was formerly an automobile designer/engineer. He brings wisdom, spiritual counseling and a very serious concern for the plight of metro Detroit area models and a SHARP eye for fashion design, which ALSO lends itself to helping Bella Models look their best. He directs, and advises, models who are looking for DIRECTION.

Board Member/Bella Cinematographer/ Owner of Wyatt’s Wonders Film and Sound Production Studios, ordained Minister Pastor Bobby Wyatt! This Pastor has been literally traveling the globe since he was thirty five. His is currently in his late forties and his FOCUS is God’s work and FILM. IN that order! Bobby Wyatt is a master craftsman in the editing room. He brings to Bella his dedication to help others, his devotion to excellence in fine film production and is a part of the Bella Team to record weddings, fashion events, promotional videos for small businesses, entertainers, and any project that needs a highly skilled cinematographer. Bobby Wyatt is available either in association with Bella Design in conjunction with our modeling team, or through Wyatts Wonders. Bobby Wyatt directs acts, edits, and arranges music for ALL of his videos to protect against copyright infringement.

Administration/Admissions Coordinator Sylvia Taft Ramirez: Former sports model. Extreme fashion / modeling industry savvy. She knows her way around, and understands promotional model necessities, model psychology, temperament, training requirements. She’s dedicated to Bella’s ideology for Safe Modeling Programs, which is uplifting, professional, and gives models support from experienced team player’s points of view.

Tracey Lee: Tracey Lee is a previous model herself. And very much like Sylvia Taft Ramirez, she understands a models way of thinking. She assist in any and all facets of Extremely Bella with her own creativity in fashion and music, from the perfect pose in front of the lens to sophisticated style. She is versatile, artistic and fabulously beautiful. Tracey brings a wealth of experience in several areas, extremely photogenic herself, she understands how to make Bella models SPARKLE! She is also very concerned about the plight of young people on the streets of Detroit trying to be models, and highly dedicated to community service in the Metro Detroit Area.

Bella’s Model Management Team Leader / Photographer Shawn Rochelle: Working on her own coming Model Management Agency, {Durley Model Management}. Shawn brings quite a bit to Bella, one of which will be a direct connection to Durley Model Management after Bella models have proven themselves with Bella. Not only that, but first and foremost, Shawn Rochelle is a gifted photographer who brings warmth and sensitivity, and inspirational feel to everything she photographs. When I look at Shawn’s work, I see a photographer destined for greatness. She is imaginative, and excellent at creating “moods” that you feel when looking at her photos, I love her style and I’m sure her models will as well. She leads by excellent example, and she’ll take care of models needs, schedules their shoots, styling, makeup needs and so on. She is a pro!

When your confronted with those that are threatened my the new kid on the block {Exclusively Bella Fine Art & Fashion} ,questioning your qualification as a persons that knows what it takes to handle any area in the fashion industry. What will be your answer to them?

I will say what I’ve been saying to them all along. I am not a designer but I grew up in a home full of bolts of material, power sewing machines, and patterns in McCall’s envelopes, pinking shears, and thimbles and thread everywhere. I am the daughter and sister of professional seamstresses and one designer. I think the first pattern I tried to cut for an outfit, I wanted to wear to school began continually coming loose at the seams in my second hour gym class one day.  I learned from experience that sewing a finely tailored garment wasn’t as easy as my mom and sisters made it look, so I left that up to them from then on. But I learned what tailored quality was, the difference between cheap fabric and that which draped well naturally. My mom taught me to not wear any perfume that cost below $45.00 was to smell like a “French bordello”.  laughter   My parents wanted me to come out into society so I was taught how to dress, how to carry myself, how to eat in the company of friends in the finest restaurants and I can.  I’m comfortable at a mayoral ball or a backyard barbeque. Fashion is truly in my blood, passed down from my mother to sisters to me. It’s as natural for me as breathing. I recognize great fashion; I have an eye for fine art, a palette for the finest cuisine and know which fork to use…laughter. Martha Stewart has nothing on Deb Faison.

I just don’t think I have what it takes to construct a garment like my mother and sisters, but I have the rest of the genes. “As she smiles widely “

Can you tell me where you envision Bella being in the next five years, and what your hopes are for the future?

I envision Bella being a household name of sorts. A standard of excellence in fine art and fashion, and on the tips of all models tongues when it comes to propelling them into stardom. When people hear that a model comes from Bella or they have received any of our services, they will be highly impressed and know beyond a shadow of doubt that like God, Bella “don’t make any junk.” Bella will also excel in humanitarian projects around the globe.

I’d like to thank Deb for her candid conversation and her openness and willingness to share her thought on the fashion industry.

Calvin McDaniel is the Husband of 29 years to Cynthia McDaniel & Father of Calvin McDaniel Jr and Matthew McDaniel. He is a Photography student at Oakland County College in Royal Oak, MI. He has been a life long resident in the Metro Detroit area. Born and raised in City of Detroit and educated in the Detroit Public School system. He has been self employed for over the last 15 years, first running a Landscaping business and now operating a Photography/Videography Business (CC Photography Enterprise LLC). He is currently pursuing a degree in photography.