Shanyce McAlmont: living her modelling dreams
Second year University of Guyana student Shanyce McAlmont, who is reading for a degree in Public Management, is following her dreams by modelling on the side of work and school, something she has been fascinated with ever since she first strutted about as a child in her mother’s heels.
Born in Linden where she spent the earlier part of her life, Shanyce attended Mackenzie Primary School but completed her primary education at North Georgetown Primary. After that, with her mother pursuing studies of her own, Shanyce moved back to Linden where she attended Mackenzie High for three years, then returned to Georgetown finishing her secondary education at St Joseph High School.
Growing up, she was always active, involved in table tennis, dancing, swimming, singing and athletics while trying her best to maintain good grades. Her two favourite subjects were Mathematics and English Literature. School became her first stage when it came to modelling, as she took the opportunity to either model or dance at various school events. In fact, Shanyce’s interest in fashion went beyond modelling.
At just four years old, Shanyce was walking mini nursery school runways and found herself being drawn to not only strutting but a love for clothes. “I loved the clothing. I was fascinated with the outfits more so because I like designing. I like nice garments and I believe this stemmed from being around my aunt who was a seamstress at the time. I would watch her do tie-dyeing or fabric painting on materials, later creating them into beautiful outfits. Growing up in Linden, there was not a wide range of activities to be involved in, so I began helping my aunt with her clothing like drawing on materials and helping her to paint. Then I learnt to stitch and began practicing on my dolls making clothes for them….”
Using her art sheets, she created designs for her dolls but quashed thoughts of doing this as a career after constantly being told that she would not go far as a fashion designer in Guyana. And so Shanyce told herself that if she could not be the name behind the pieces, she would be the face wearing them.
“My mom always knew about my love for fashion,” she said. “One day… while browsing her Facebook, [she] saw an ad posted by Traits Model Management for their fashion show Strut… this was in 2015. She encouraged me to try for the casting and I was shortlisted.”
She was part of Strut that year and soon after was signed with the agency. Shanyce has since participated in most of the events put on by Traits, a few Rotaract events and photoshoots.
Modelling, Shanyce said, has benefited her in more ways than one including helping her to keep a proper posture and remain poised when necessary. It has taught her to be confident about herself and helped her to improve on her communications skills especially when interacting with different personalities in the industry. What tops all of these is strutting the runway, she said, adding that the runway brings with it, sophistication and poise. There is nothing better than seeing an audience stop what they are doing and turn their attention to the model making a statement on the catwalk. This, Shanyce said, has taught her humility.
Shanyce McAlmont in one of her most loved pieces (Photos by Terrence Thompson, Samuel Maughn and Keno George.)
On the other hand, she noted that models are underpaid and have to spend time updating their portfolios, making appointments and seeking potential clients among other things which is time not paid for.
Some challenges of being a model include persons thinking that models are only about being nude, wearing the skimpiest clothing, clubbing or sleeping around. This was one of the things that affected her, Shanyce said, since she is someone who is always conservative. This sort of judgement led to her blocking comments and, in some cases, persons out of her life. Today she is no longer worried about what others think; she knows what she is about.
While locally she’s inspired by those around her Shanyce said she has always admired Naomi Campbell.
Her biggest supporter in all of this has always been her mother, though she added that she had always been a daddy’s girl. Unfortunately, her father died. If there was one thing she could change, it would be to have her father again. Yet Shanyce said all that she has endured has moulded her into the individual she has become and there is nothing she would change about that.
The young woman has great aspirations; it is her desire to become a paediatrician down the road. She wants to also to own her own business. Modelling, she noted, will always be a hobby and if time permits and the opportunity is there, she will always be gracing the catwalks.
She encourages aspiring models to stay determined if modelling is what their heart is set on, to never be persuaded by naysayers, to stay positive, confident and keep a feisty spirit. Shanyce further admonished models to keep fit and remember to maintain a healthy diet.
The Sagittarius-born model admits to having a love for gowns especially Randy Madray’s. Her favourite colour is purple; black comes second to this.
When it comes to dishes, she loves cook-up, curry chicken and dhal.
Her hobbies include travelling and singing, yet her free time finds her listening to music or sleeping because she works and is a student as well. She has been employed at the National Insurance Scheme for the past four years.
Shanyce can be followed on Facebook or Instagram at Shanyce McAlmont.
- The University of Guyana