Photographed by Kia Chenelle, Styled by Courtney Michelle, Hair & Makeup by Andrea San Martin, Model Bri
It’s officially Memorial Day weekend, and we’ve got travel, travel, travel on the mind. Not that summer in NYC isn’t amazing (cause we’d be lying if we said otherwise) but with so many other cities to explore and so much talent to be seen it wouldn’t be right to be confined in these 5 boroughs the whole summer. That’s why we’ve decided to get up, get out, and explore with our #dosummerright series! This summer we’ll be traveling to a few different cities, linking up, and shooting with fresh talented creatives (photographers, stylists, makeup artists, hairstylists, models, designers) to highlight a cool area in their city we need to know about.
First stop Miami, and why not, with a 2 hour plane ride it’s such an obvious last minute getaway for New Yorkers. We always think of South Beach and scantily clad college spring breakers when we talk about Miami but it’s so much more than that. “We wanted to create something young and fresh,” says Miami based photographer Kia Chenellle. That’s why we chose Wynwood. It’s such a booming and bustling neighborhood full of art and a fresh perspective on Miami. It would have been easy to showcase the traditional art deco Miami that everyone knows but we wanted to show something different.”
Keep up with us for our #dosummerright travel series and find out what cities you need to see ASAP!
Kia and Courtney shoot and style as a creative duo in Miami known as BLK | Mode. Find out everything about these ladies from how they got into their fields to their favorite shopping spots in Miami!
Kia Chenelle, photographer
How did you get into photography?
KC: I would often collaborate with photographer Jeff Butler as a stylist. One day I asked if he could teach me how to use the camera. From that moment on he would let me shoot beside him during our sessions. I fell in love with photography and that was it.
What are your thoughts on being a female photographer in a very male dominated industry?
KC: My first mentor was a male and he was and still is very supportive. But there is a huge gap when it comes to the support from male photographers. It used to bother me but not so much anymore. Now, we have groups like BGWAC (Brown Girl With A Camera), BFP (Black Female Photographers) and many more. We connect on a level that’s perfect for us. So for that I’m grateful.
What was your favorite part of this shoot?
KC: The team! They were absolutely amazing. It was an all female team and we all put our heads together to create something magical.
Favorite thing about shooting in Miami?
KC: The weather!
Favorite place to eat in Miami?
KC: I’ve been lucky to find some pretty good restaurants in Miami but my favorite spot is Pubbelly. It’s an Asian fusion gastropub. If you find yourself on Miami Beach, ask for the butter crab roll and their signature old-fashion.
Favorite place for shopping?
KC: I really enjoy shopping at the boutiques in Wynwood. I recently discovered the trendy and pocket friendly Style Mafia and I’m obsessed.
What’s your favorite place to hang out?
KC: My favorite place to hang out is Bodega. It’s a Mexican restaurant/bar. During happy hour you can find me sitting in the back eating $2.00 tacos!
What’s your favorite hidden gem in Miami?
KC: Lagniappe! It looks like a storefront but it’s the cutest wine bar in Miami! It’s a shabby vintage backyard with live music, cheese plates and some of the best wine I’ve ever tasted.
Courtney Michelle, stylist
What do you love about BLK | Mode?
CM: Kia is such a rare talent. She has an eye for editing that I’ve never worked with before and she makes everything I style look even more amazing!
How did you get into styling?
CM: I’ve always been intrigued by magazines, movies, television shows, etc. and how they were dressed. Once I learned you could win an Oscar, my interest completely peaked. I learned about costume design and started designing my own clothes in high school. In college, my mentor was one of the top agents at FORD Models Chicago-after our first meeting, she started booking me on paid jobs as an assistant.
What was the inspiration for the styling?
CM: Everything is so relaxed in Miami. Causal and carefree. I wanted to capture that while combing trends from the current season.
What was the best part of the shoot?
CM: Watching Bri (the model) get busy on a skateboard! It was more than a prop.
What was your favorite look?
CM: The black lace leotard from Zara paired with the white blazer from Zadig et Voltaire, so chic and sporty. Bri looked playful and sexy at the same time, that was the goal.
What are the trends for the summer?
CM: Off the shoulder, slip dresses, fun platforms, cropped denim, graphics, embellished footwear, clear accessories.
What’s your favorite thing about shooting in Miami?
CM: The lighting. Everything is gorgeous here.
What’s the best place to eat in Miami?
CM: Bodega. Tacos and burritos are amazing and it’s mostly locals!
What’s your go to spot for shopping?
CM: Style Mafia. They have pieces at an affordable price.