“I know what I want,” Keyshia Dior, XXL’s 2010 ECOTY, says when explaining why she adds input on all of her shoots. “Whatever photo shoot I do, I always incorporate myself… ’Cause you’re shooting me, you picked me for a reason, so let me be me.” Who’s going to argue, since the 25-year-old 305 native has been “doing me” all year, after her breakout role as Timbaland’s caramel-dipped, Mohawked muse in his “Say Something” video, featuring Drake. Since XXL’s May 2010 Eye Candy’s rap clip debut in December 2009, the cutie with Jamaican roots—whose 36C-27-42 frame would make any man yell bombaclot—has been capitalizing off the chance opportunity. Ms. Dior has locked down a few more video roles (Young Jeezy’s “Lose My Mind,” Gucci Mane’s “911 Emergency” and Young Money’s “BedRock”) for her budding résumé, launched keyshiadior.com (her own website) and a cosmetic line called Secret Kisses by Keyshia Dior, and is set to open a high-end boutique on South Beach in 2011. Yep, shawty’s goin’ in.
Earlier today, during our shoot, you mentioned that you don’t want to do too many videos, for fear of being tagged as a video vixen. Why is that?
I don’t like that name, because it has so much meaning behind it. Once you do a video with a rapper, you’re automatically sleeping with them. I don’t want that behind me, because, at the end of the day, I’m a brand as a whole.
Is it safe to say that you’re one and done in terms of your video-modeling career?
Right now, if someone were to request me for a huge video—when I say huge, I mean Jay-Z or Kanye West—where I can play a similar role I played in the “Say Something,” as an actress-slash-lead-model, I definitely would do it.
What are your thoughts on earning such a distinguished honor as XXL Eye Candy of the Year?
I feel I was [selected] because there was not a model to do what I’ve done, ever.
What I mean by that is, I have fans cutting their hair like me. I set trends, and I have girls wanting to be like me, wanting to do what I’ve done—and especially in such a short time.
You sound pretty cocky.
Confident, not cocky. —Sean Malcolm
Photography courtesy of Sarah McColgan