Topaz is a single mom with big dreams. The 23-year-old Bronx NY-native currently lives in the suburbs of Orlando and gracefully balances caring for her son, working a 9-5, and pursuing a career as a model and actress. Oh, and she just finished school. talked to the daughter of a West Indian and Irish mother and African-American dad about her tireless hustle, what she does to escape the grind and how her son changed her life. – Calvin Stovall (@calvinstovall) Do you have another job besides modeling?

Topaz: I have a regular 9-5 job, but I keep the worlds kind of separate because it’s a corporate job. But I’m also trying to get into a little bit of acting right now. My ultimate dream is to be a brand. I just like the entertainment industry, period. Modeling is probably my favorite, and acting just came along the way with an opportunity so I’m gonna try it. But modeling was the number one. And just being a household name with a fashion line. I did fashion when I was in school, so that’ s a big thing for me, I wanted to have shoes and accessories and things like that.

What do you do with your free time?

I have a son. I have a three-year-old. So, I’m a mommy. Once you put the son, and the trying to be a model and actress, and becoming a brand, and a 40-hour job, you don’t have time left. And in addition, I just graduated from college. That was only two weeks ago. From community college, I just got my AA degree. Just doing all of that you don’t have anything extra.

No time for hobbies at all?

The things that I like to do in my spare time are I love to shop, I’m a big shopper. I like listening to music, I like to travel when I can. That’s one of my favorite things. Like, going new places, seeing new things. So, I would say travelling is probably my number one hobby.

What did you learn from your mom about single motherhood?

I’ve learned that as a woman period, if you’re gonna have a child, whether you’re in a relationship or not in a relationship, you have to think about yourself as a single mom. You have to say, “can I take care of this child with or without this individual?” Because one, relationships are not guaranteed— people die, people have divorce, people break up. And as a mom, you’re truly responsible for this individual for the rest of at least your living life. And it’ s a big responsibility. It’s a period in your life when you have to sacrifice a lot and be willing to give the child everything that they need. So, it’s taught me to be selfless, it’s taught me patience, and honestly it actually changed me as an individual. It made me a better individual. I’m actually grateful that I have my son.

Has your son affected your love life?

I don’t think my son affected my love life, I actually live in a suburban area. I live out in the suburbs of Orlando, so the guys that I come across in my area are not ambitious, they’re not driven. They’re comfortable working in a small town doing the ordinary. And because I’m a woman who’s such a go-getter and so about doing her own, when I meet a guy in my town, it’s kind of intimidating to see a 23-year-old woman with a three-bedroom house, a car, a child, a degree, a hustle. So I think that deters me. Now when I go to the city, there are a lot of great guys who aren’t afraid to date a woman who has a child. So, my child doesn’t really play a part in that, but because I’m so far from the city, I don’t really get into relationships because the people that have minds like me, I don’t live close to them.

When you meet a man with a mind like yours, what else do you look for?

I guess I look at someone who can make me laugh, someone who can keep my attention. Someone who’s educated, diverse— especially culturally diverse. I like an individual who can fit in at any place. I wanna be with somebody who can sit and have dinner with the president but he can go to the hood. (Someone) who knows how to act in different places.

Are you culturally versatile?

I was raised by my mom who has a very strict British and West Indian background. The way they raise their children is very strict, polite and appropriate. So when you’re raised British, you’re kinda raised to eat with the queen when you’re in the house (laughs). That’s kind of how they raise you.

Does she think that some of your photos are improper?

No, my mom always knew I was a child who wanted to do performing arts. Even as a young child, I was a dancer, and I was always really artistic in my expressions. And I kind of started modeling really young. When I started doing the urban modeling my mom was a little surprised, I would say. But she also understands that it’s something that I love, and anything that I love and am willing to put 100% of, she’s always right behind me.