HUES OF YOU - Yabi Drame
By TADHI COULTER
Our cover model Yabi Drame - shot by Roberto DeLaCruz - on finding purpose, maintaining his creativity and focusing on entrepreneurship (while still meeting the demands of the fashion calendar) with our feature series for this homme edition of The K|W Report, ‘In Quarantine'.
TC. What was a key or critical moment of the Hues Of You shoot for you?
Yabi Drame. That’s a great question! It was when Robert gave me the green light to be myself, my truer self, where I’m creating in my own playground. From the details of the looks to the colorful lighting, everything was in sync! A shoot that would’ve usually been a challenge for me turned out to be a walk in the park.
TC. What has been your greatest “in quarantine” life lesson since the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yabi Drame. Not to resist change and to adapt along with it. The future may seem especially uncertain these days, but honestly, it always has been. [I see it as] you're a cocoon first before you become a butterfly. When life slows down, you tend to notice more. Though we usually miss it, we’re surrounded by so much beauty all the time. We miss the most important beauty of it all--ourselves. As survivors, we go through numerous trials and errors in order to become the best version of ourselves. [We should] be intentional about our relationships and invest the time to nurture them.
TC. How has your modeling been impacted “in quarantine”?
Yabi Drame. I was in a dark moment in quarantine. I came back from a self healing trip in London after my father died because I lost sight of who I was and what my main goal in life was. One day I looked in the mirror and I looked at all of the flaws from my scars, teary eyes, puffy face. Low [inaudible] words cracked before I started crying again, “I love you." As an African American in this country I only learned how to bottle up my emotions and to not share them with anyone. Quarantine made me realize it’s okay for a man to cry; it’s okay to share your thoughts with someone else whom you trust because the power of communication and reassurance helped me realize who I am and whom I’m determined to be.
TC. Has the fashion calendar being affected by the pandemic changed the way you think about booking runway shows, higher-paying campaigns or projects?
Yabi Drame. This ‘New World Order’ we are living is very different. Everything’s done virtually. I live in the projects and where I’m from there isn’t decent good lighting in my home [he laughs]. It's difficult not being able to woo clients since I don't have decent lighting set up in my home. I’m sorry I don’t have the exact answer for this particular question [he laughs]. I was getting one booking a month or so.
TC. How has tech such as Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Duo, etcetera played a role in your daily life or casting experiences "in quarantine"?
Yabi Drame. The new way of casting is a bit tough! I’m so used to lighting up the room when I walk in the casting room. I can bring the energy virtually but it’s a bit of a challenge. Change is inevitable--we live to grow and adapt.
TC. What was something you feared or caused you angst that has actually turned out to be a valuable or beautiful experience, opportunity, or life lesson?
Yabi Drame. Person vs self narrative was a fear factor I’ve endured during quarantine. I was my only opponent during the time. I was afraid of this new change, afraid to change off my old routine and replace it with something new. Over time, I managed to love that stage that I was in. It made me realize that 'it’s okay!' to adapt to change. As I mentioned earlier, “You’re a cocoon first before you become a butterfly,” no matter what pain you’ve endured or pain you’re trying to recover from. Remember, only you have the ability to yourself where you [with emphasis] need to be. I was also in mourning of my father's death while fasting during the month of Ramadan. [he laughs in disbelief]. Just thinking about it now...it’s like a horrible nightmare. One day, a 'Good Samaritan' stopped me by the park and told me, “Take advantage of your genetic abilities." Ever since I got that memo, I've never looked back!
TC. What have been some of your favorite go-to items to wear or groom yourself “in quarantine”?
Yabi Drame. Socks and Crocs with athletic shorts have been my go to items during quarantine. When I wasn’t able to head to the gym, I would do calisthenic workouts in my home to help me keep sane [he laughs].
TC. What’s on your bucket list, “post quarantine”?
Yabi Drame. [He laughs] Don’t laugh...but I want to learn how to swim and do a backflip, land a commercial campaign, finalize my personal trainer certifications, and become the life of the party!