My first encounter with this beauty was during Savannah Fashion Week in 2013. Shaunii Rawls is one of Savannah's most celebrated models and just one look at her on the runway makes it easy to see why. I finally got to meet her at an event and she promised me an interview. This gorgeous, yet down-to-earth chick was just fresh off of a 6-page spread in Savannah Magazine and I'm so glad that she took the time to share her story with us!
What do you consider your most significant accomplishment in your modeling/journalist career?
"As a model, to be on the cover of the 2015 Visit Savannah tour guide and to have a 6 page spread in the July/August issue of Savannah Magazine, will forever be my biggest accomplishment, until I have children. I got the chance to represent the city that I was born and raised in, and to motivate young girls, who not only want to become a model but that are from Savannah. Anything is possible. I don't want anyone to be intimidated or fear their own backyard, because I know that feeling and it's definitely a mirage.
I have the most fun as a journalist, being able to capture the journey of Young Savannah natives, who are born and raised here. It will never become old to me nor bore me. Every single person that I have interviewed and featured on my blog, Spottedbyshaunii.com, hold a special place in my heart because it's not only about the interview but it's about the connection. I'm in their world now, that's what I want my audience to feel when they watch each video, the connection."
Who inspires you and why?
"My heart and soul. My sister.
I've watched my sister suffer from the moment she began walking. At a young age, I never understood what or why, the overnight stays in the hospital, or why she could never do as much as me. I've constantly seen my sister pricked with needles, having to take daily medication, constantly told no, and at one point not having the ability to walk. She inspires me, because through all of the pain, she has grown stronger and wiser each day. She has always kept a smile and treats everyone with love. You will never be able to tell her no, she can't do something, because she will prove to you that she can and then tell you how she did. My sister was born with Sickle Cell Anemia, a condition in which there aren't enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout her little body. 70,000-100,000 Americans have sickle cell anemia. In order for her to have the possibility to be cured, she would have to undergo the bone marrow transplant procedure. I am the ONLY match. I am proud to say that she is starting Volleyball this year, has made honor roll, and will be a rising 10th grader."
How do you prepare for shoots/interviews/etc. (mentally/physically)?
"First and foremost I pray before any shoot or interview. For a shoot, I become a blank canvas, so that I can give the client 110% of what they are looking for, to portray their clothing or product, such as a tourist, a witch, or a nubian queen. Physically, I take a walk in my neighborhood and eat a light snack such as almonds or grapes.
For an interview...
Pray!...Research, research, and research...Write my script for my stand-up...Create a story board...Write down my base questions in my notepad....Make sure I have all of my camera equipment charged and ready...Last but not least, be ME."
What have you learned from your accomplishments and what have you learned from your mistakes?
"I've learned that anything is possible and that mistakes are only lessons learned."
How have you changed in the past 5 years and where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
"I am aware of my surroundings and my mission. I'm a storyteller. I've learned to listen and to live in the moment as in, loving and enjoying the presence of the good people around me. I've learned to smile more, worry less, and take each day one day at a time. In the next 5 years, I will have my Masters, be on a red carpet interviewing the biggest celebrities, and traveling around the world, only to come home to my beautiful city and a 5.0 foxy body Mustang."
What are your goals as a model and what are your thoughts on the industry?
"As a model in Savannah, I want to prove that anything is possible in your own backyard, that you don't have to move to another city to start. Start, learn, gain, and execute, as much as you can, with what your city has to offer and the possibilities are endless from there. In the words of American rapper, Vince Staples, "Nothing matters, but where you come from. Without that, who are you?"
I can only speak on the market that I have worked in and for me, modeling has been a platform to story tell and to connect with and motivate the people in my city."
If you want to find out more about Shaunii Rawls, visit her social media links:
Until next time!