Agency: Elite Models London/ New York Models
Claim to Fame: The video of Cheyenne learning that she would be joining Winnie Harlow, Grace Bol, Winnie Harlow, Cindy Bruna, Herieth Paul, Leomie Anderson, and more on stage at this year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion show caused a huge stir on social media.
Cheyenne Maya-Carty had a plane to catch. Her luggage had gone through security, her new wireless headphones were tucked tightly beneath her curls blasting her favorite playlist full of afrobeats, and her favorite travel blanket was nestled safely in her carryon. She had done what she had set out to do and it was time for her journey to Heathrow, or so she thought.
Before she could make her way on the flight her agent called to tell her she couldn’t leave yet because he had just gotten a message…from the people at Victoria’s Secret. Heading home to London would have to wait.
“At first I didn’t believe it,” she told Hello Beautiful in an exclusive interview. “I was actually on my way back to London. My bags went through and I was on my way on the plane and my agent called me like ‘Oh my god! They wanna see you tomorrow. Don’t get on the plane!”
Her authenticity resonated with the those in charge of making the call. “I really was just being myself and I wasn’t trying to be like you know somebody else and like those other girls. I thought if they like me they like me if they don’t they don’t I’ll just keep trying,” she said.
When she found out she booked the gig she was completely shocked. “I just didn’t believe it. I didn’t think that I could actually get the show in the first place because there was so many amazing beautiful girls that were sitting next to me in the castings and the call back.”
Two weeks away from what she considers “one of the biggest jobs you can ever book as a female model,” she’s still thrilled. “I’m over the moon!”
Maya-Carty’s career was full of Cinderella moments way before this romantic comedy style airport interlude. She actually has one of the most unusual scouting stories in the industry.
During a summer night roller skating in London’s Victoria Park her agent who she refers to as “like a second dad,” and “my best friend” spotted her beauty while he was enjoying some pints with his friends.
Initially he was hesitant thinking that the venue and circumstances were unprofessional but he finally decided it was worth the risk.
“It was summer so everyone was drinking in the park and everyone was having a good time so he was a little bit wavy he said you have nice legs and I was like ‘okay um thanks’ and then my dad came over.”
Papa Bear wasn’t thrilled with her agent’s choice of compliments and requested to see some credentials before they could discuss his underage daughter taking a turn on the catwalk.
“He obviously spoke to my dad about everything because I was a bit young at the time and my dad kind of took over. He was like ‘who are you’ ‘what do you want’ ‘what do you do’. My dad was very concerned. He was like ‘so where’s your business card’. So he’s like digging in his pockets trying to find this business card and he ended up finding one.”
Not long after she was signed to one of the world’s top agencies.
Her first modeling job was working for Rihanna and while she has worked with some of the biggest names in fashion and beauty she would still love to have a full circle moment with Fenty. “My first paid gig was walking for Rihanna’s first collaboration with River Island. That was amazing because I was only like I think 17 going on 18 so it was a big thing. And I had braces at the time so I was like a baby. That was definitely a highlight of my career.”
She’s had a lot of fun in the industry but she’s managed to avoid some of it’s negative aspects by remaining in contact with people who knew her before she was the face of brands like Chanel and Pandora. She said “Your surroundings play a big part in mental health and emotionally as well. If I wasn’t around the people I’m around today I probably wouldn’t be where I am.”
That includes her family who has been by her side since that first fateful summer evening on four wheels. “My family they’re really supportive. I have a great boyfriend and he’s also in the industry. It’s been a lot of love. Everyone’s super excited.”
Skating is still one of her favorite forms of exercise. “I’m never really chilling to be honest,” she says.
To keep her water from becoming too bland she often tucks some proper English treats into her bag. “I usually have some tea bags. Mint tea, peppermint tea, and green tea, just to keep hydrated because sometimes water can be boring to drink.”
She believes in hydration inside and out and she isn’t shy about letting people know she didn’t wake up like this without a bit of effort and Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream.
“I put a lot of time and effort into my hair. I’m always trying new things. I put a hair mask in and whenever I have a day off I’m always about letting my skin breathe and putting leave-in conditioner.” Her current favorite is DevaCurl Melt Into Moisture ($36.00, DevaCurl.com).
“I use different products for different seasons so in the Winter I might need a little more moisture in my hair and a little less in the summer or you know depending on what climate I’m in. If it’s very humid out I might need something thicker to hold my curls.”
While she’s an expert at taking care of her curls unfortunately not everyone she encounters on set is.
She said, “I would say it’s getting better” but there were difficulties “definitely at the start skin-wise and hair-wise.”
“Now people are less scared of it. Because when I would walk into a shoot a lot of people didn’t like to touch my hair. They were like okay she’s done, and it’s like ‘no there’s still stuff to do, you just probably don’t know what to do with it.”
She’s hoping to facilitate change with her own line of hair care products one day.
“I’m looking into more about hair care as well because hair is a big part of this industry. There’s a lot of girls with my hair type that are still struggling day to day keeping it healthy when they’re getting it straightened. They’re having to have it straight one day and then the next day they’re with a different client and they have to have it curly again. A lot of girls struggle so I would love to have have maybe my own hair care range of treatments for keeping your hair hydrated.”
She’s hopeful because “the industry is growing and people are becoming more educated on how to deal with hair and curly hair and black skin tones. I’m definitely seeing the growth in that.”