Once upon a time top model Riley Montana worked as a store clerk in a retail store. Little did she know that she would be the successful international model she is today. It’s taken determination to become successful and stay successful in the world of runways where diversity remains a challenge and the struggle to balance a blossoming career and solid foundation is a constant task. Riley’s story is one of true evolution.

2017 CFDA Fashion Awards - Arrivals

Source: Taylor Hill / Getty

Agencies:

New York: Next New York

Paris: Next Paris

Milan: d’management group, Next Milan

London: Next London

Antwerp: Jill Models Management

Los Angeles: LA Models

Toronto: Spot 6 Management

Claim to Fame: Born Ebony Montana, Riley braved the odds by moving from Detroit to L.A. to launch a modeling career. After numerous odd jobs with Claire’s, Sprint, and and Radio Shack, she started to get noticed after submitting test shots to modeling agencies. Once she got picked up, her big break took place when she was picked to work a campaign with Givenchy.

Instagram: @loveme_rileym

Actually unimpressed* 😴

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Since her career took off after her risky move to New York, Riley’s modeling career has flourished on and off the runway. She’s worked campaigns for Oscar de la Renta, DKNY, Balmain, and Nina Ricci to name a few. Riley has also appeared in hip hop videos, such as Kanye West’s ‘Wolve’s’ video

Riley currently stars in designer’s Brandon Maxwell’s latest campaign that comes with a unique twist of using Riley’s family to form the campaign’s message. Having much in common with their upbringing, Riley and Brandon teamed up to share what it means to be real with oneself, something that Riley has recently come to terms with. She struggled with maintaining connection to her true identity when she changed her name upon entering the modeling world. “I couldn’t be Ebony – I would tell myself that ‘Riley’ has to be this super-polished and proper person. I was traveling the world for the first time, going here and there and meeting these beautiful people, and I just wasn’t happy,” she explained to Vogue. “At the end of the day, they weren’t even getting to meet the real me.

Even though she’s moved from Detroit and resides in New York, Riley has never felt more connected to who she really is and is thankful she has an opportunity to share her happiness and inspiration to those who need it.

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