JaKayla and Layla are the daughters of very dear friends from our days in the Pacific Northwest. Our friend had been wanting to do an AfroArt style session for years, so we were so happy to finally meet her girls and make it happen. The girls had been learning Mandarin from a very young age and recently took their first trip to China. They wanted to incorporate Chinese culture into their AfroArt session. The girls both enjoyed their time on set and even came up with a few ideas of their own by the end of the shoot. Check out our interview with Layla and JaKayla below.
What challenges did you encounter when learning the Chinese language?
JaKayla: “I had a problem with the tones, but got better in 3rd grade.”
Layla: “I struggled with the tone and got better half way through 3rd grade.”
What is your favourite element of the Chinese culture?
JaKayla:”I ‘loves the seafood on a stick, such as squid. I first tried it at a street market in Tianjin, China.”
Layla: “My favourite elements are the legends like Confucius” Confucius was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician and philosopher. His teachings, preserved in the Analects, focused on creating ethical models of family and public interaction and setting educational standards.
What was your most enjoyable part of the Chinese culture?
JaKayla: “I love the Chinese art in the temples. We visited the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and the Lama Temple.”
Layla: “Visiting the Great Wall of China. It was very long and you get a great workout.”
How do you feel embracing your natural hair, did you feel empowered?
JaKayla: “People always comment that they have to pay to get hair like mine and I don’t. *said with a big smile* I don’t like to get my hair combed, so my favorite style is in one ponytail, pulled back out of my face, and flowy.”
Layla: “I love the different shades of my hair color and that I look different from everyone else.”
How was your experience doing a professional photo shoot?
JaKayla: “My favorite part of the photo shoot was coming up with ideas for the photos (like using the fan over my face)”
Layla: “It was awesome. I enjoyed having my hair down, putting on earrings, and getting dressed up. I would like to model for fun.”
Despite not having much experience in a professional modelling environment both girls came out of their shells and allowed us to create stunning images which evoked the Chinese culture as well as their own personalities. The images turned out amazing and we can’t wait to see them up on the walls of their home.