Sports Illustrated model, Ebonee Davis, talks modeling and NY based charity
Ebonee Davis, a model recently featured in Sports Illustrated, sat down with DoubleGSports to talk about life as a model and the launching of her New York based charity, Honey Bee’s. Born and raised in Seattle, she’s a Seahawks fan with a love for boxing and helping other young girls realize their potential. Now through April 15, you can vote here to see Ebonee featured in the 2017 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.
Double G Sports: Can you tell us the story of how you were discovered?
Ebonee Davis: I wasn’t really discovered I just sort of went into a local agency in Seattle because I was really interested in modeling. I was obsessed with watching America’s next top model so I played sick one day, got out of going to class and I went into a local agency in the middle of the day on a Tuesday and they signed me. Then, from there I was asked to go to Miami and then to New York.
DGS: One of the things people are always curious to hear about when they meet a professional model is what a typical photo shoot day looks like. Tell us about that.
ED: A typical day usually starts around 9 a.m. when I arrive on set. I usually grab like a coffee or something and then go into hair and makeup, which is about an hour and a half. Other than that I would say there really isn’t anything typical because I could be in a studio in New York or I could be on the beach like I was in Punta Cana when I was shooting for Sports Illustrated. I guess it really just depends on the location of where we’re shooting. Some days don’t even happen like that.
When we’re shooting out on location at the beach those days usually start at like 5 in the morning because we’re trying to get the first ray of sunshine for the perfect shot. Everyday is something different and I guess that’s part of what I love about modeling. I never really know what the next day holds.
DGS: Where do you draw your inspiration from when you’re modeling?
ED: I guess I draw it from other models. I look and see what’s happening in the industry and I just try to just take little bits and pieces from everybody but still make sure that I maintain myself. I guess it just comes form experience and examining the industry.
DGS: How do you prepare for a shoot?
ED: The day of I’m just resting because I had been working pretty hard up until that point; going to the gym pretty consistently and trying to make sure that I was in the best shape possible, even though prior to that I had been working out. But the week or two weeks before the shoot are very important for me to focus.
The day of the shoot I just want to make sure I am well rested and I go into it feeling comfortable and relaxed. I don’t want to get up at 5 am and go run a mile or ten miles on the treadmill. I just want to be relaxed.
DGS: We hear you’re really into boxing. What are your other favorite workouts?
ED: I guess boxing is my main form. Also jumping rope because it’s the conditioning practice that goes along with boxing. A lot of boxers use jumping rope as their form of cardio so that’s something I’ve been able to integrate into my workout. It’s cool because jumping rope is something lightweight, you can pack it and you can take it with you on the road.
For example, when I’m traveling or I’m in a hotel room and I don’t have a lot of space I can always use a jump rope and go outside or the gym at the hotel to make sure I get a good workout.
DGS: Before you began modeling what was the best piece of advice you received?
ED: I guess the best advice I was given was be yourself. I think that goes not only for modeling but for life.
I think when people are trying to break into a new industry they try to make everything very formulaic because they think, ‘ohh this person is successful so I need to be like this because they have character a, b and c so I need character a, b and c.’ I think instead of doing that people should say, ‘you have that and I have this so I don’t have to change what I have just because you’ve been successful using whatever you have.’
I think that’s the most important, not changing in order to conform or try to use someone else’s strengths as your own strengths to break into the industry.
DGS: What advice would you give other young girls who are looking to be models?
ED: Learn how to talk to people. For me that was the most important thing. When I first started modeling I was so shy. I would approach situations and I would be so shy going into it because I felt like I didn’t know how to really communicate with people. I’ve always been a pretty articulate person but my skills when it came to everyday conversation I always felt weren’t great.
I think developing my ability to just get along with people has helped because ultimately when you’re walking into a casting everyone looks good. You’re not going to be in the room if you don’t, so what else do you have? Personality is super important because they’re basically looking for someone who could spend nine hours of the day and have a pleasant time on set and perform well. If you walk into a situation like a casting or something and you’re not showing your personality or you seem shy or like you don’t know how to get along with people, then automatically you’re at a disadvantage.
DGS: Where do you see yourself in five years?
ED: I could see myself acting in the future possibly. But right now I just want to continue building with modeling. In five years I still imagine myself doing this. I’m not really sure at this point what I see myself doing because I’m just putting all of my energy into the present moment and trying to really enjoy what’s happening right now.
DGS: Can you tell us about Honey Bee’s, your charity?
ED: Absolutely. My goal with that charity is to promote literacy and travel in underprivileged women of color. I think those are the things that made the biggest difference in my life; reading, writing, being able to travel and having traveling opportunities provided to me through the vehicle of modeling. Obviously not everybody gets that opportunity, they can’t afford it or think they can’t afford it. Those things really open you up and change you as a person. Ultimately my partner and I will be starting a reading summer camp and at the end of the three months of summer there will be a travel opportunity.
During that summer camp it will be reading but it’s also much bigger than that. It’s mentorship, it’s preventing people from falling behind in that pivotal year between 5th and 6th grade, it’s giving guidance and it’s showing that there are other aspects to life other than what you see immediately in front of you. There are other ways that people live, there’s a whole entire world out there. It’s much much bigger than just Brooklyn or New York.