When we spotted Riley Montana alongside Erykah Badu in Givenchy's Spring/Summer 2014 campaign, we thought: where did this brown beauty come from? The fashion industry is infamous for it's lack of diversity, so we were stunned when the ad debuted.
It turns out that Riley herself was just as shocked when Riccardo Tisci, Givenchy's creative director, offered her the gig. The Detroit native had only been in New York City for two weeks when she got the news.
"I literally cried. I fell on the floor," Riley told WWD. “Riccardo took a chance on me. I was brand new. He supports diversity and I love that about him. He doesn’t care about what people think.”
Riley didn't think a career in modeling was an option. "I was insecure. I was a dark-skinned girl and extra skinny," she said. But she was clearly wrong. Since landing the Givenchy campaign Riley, who holds an associates degree in nursing, has walked in fashion shows for Oscar de la Renta, DKNY, Balmain and Rodarte, to name a few. And she's got her sights set even higher for the future.
"I really want an American Vogue cover. Because we [African-American girls] really don’t get it that much. I want it so bad," Riley said.
Fortunately, she's already scored some face time with Anna Wintour, so perhaps the seed has been planted. Fingers crossed!
Head over to WWD to read Riley's full interview.
Riley Montana for Givenchy Spring/Summer 2014
Riley Montana and Maria Borges for Givenchy Spring/Summer 2014
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