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Shawnee Mitchell is not your average urban model—she actually is in business for herself, and successfully so. As the Editor-in-Chief of Urban Harem Magazine (UHM)—with the tagline “A Harem Fit For A King”—Shawnee is providing other opportunities for models such as herself with her own magazine. In this interview, we talked about some of the challenges that entrepreneurship brings, as well as her crush on J. Cole, and what professional advice she would give to an aspiring model.
Tell us about yourself. Who are you? What do you do?
My name is Shawnee Mitchell and I am a model/actress/hostess, student, entrepreneur and also Editor-in-Chief of a new magazine. I like to describe myself as a “Wonder Woman” because of all my titles. Don’t let all of these titles bore you, though, because I am also very spontaneous and I love to have fun. I have a strong personality and I am very outgoing.
Aside from modeling, you also own a magazine. Tell us about that.
Urban Harem Magazine (UHM) is a male lifestyle magazine designed to give men everything they want to know about sports, health, sex, fashion, music, and of course, sexy eye candy. I came up with the concept out of frustration. Urban models do not have a lot of opportunities to get paid so I created the magazine to be another form of income for urban models. Each model is paid per magazine sold and although they are not getting rich off of the magazine right now, as it grows, it will be a great financial opportunity for models. Plus I love to write and I love entertainment, it’s always been a passion of mine, so i figured why not put it all together. I’m old school when it comes to men so I love to entertain them with all their interests. Our name speaks for itself: I wanted to create a Harem for all my Kings.
What would you say is the biggest misconception of urban models? Why do you think people have that misconception? What are you doing to combat that misconception?
I believe the biggest misconception is that models are vulnerable or easy to take advantage of. Some girls want this dream so bad and are willing to do anything for it. They end up selling themselves short. But that is not all of us—as a matter of fact, most of the girls that I have met in the industry that are really making moves are actually really smart business women who know how to use their beauty as a business.
Who is your celebrity crush, and why?
My celeb crush is J Cole. He seems to be very confident with himself and humble. His new song with TLC talks about being in love with himself even though he isn’t perfect. Nothing attracts me more than a man who loves himself first no matter what anyone thinks. He seems to be comfortable with who he is and where he is going. Plus his smile is the best thing to look at; it’s like looking up at the sun, it just shines.
Is there anything in modeling that you haven’t done before, that you’d like to do?
Yes, I would love to be on the cover of XXL. That’s one thing I haven’t had the opportunity to do yet. There are a lot of beautiful women out there and I know I can’t get there just for being sexy, so I will continue to put in hard work until I can get there. Other than that, I have so many goals to accomplish. I want the world to see every side of me, not just my modeling. I believe that once people see my vision, the sky’s the limit for me.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring model in the industry, what would it be, and why?
I would tell her to make sure that you love who you are. This industry can tear down your self-esteem very quickly, and part of a model’s job is to own her own skin. If you don’t love and respect yourself, no one else will.