Name: Nicque Marina
Agency: Seeking Representation
Claim to Fame: Marina appeared in this year’s CurvyNoire NYFW event. She has also performed in critically acclaimed off-Broadway productions and is about to launch a cabaret act.
Years before she pressed send on her submission to be featured in New York Fashion Week Nicque Marina envisioned herself as a star. “I’d done some modeling when I was younger I did theater and stuff when i was in high school. It was more like print stuff, like way back in the 90s,” Marina told Hello Beautiful, in an exclusive interview about what happens when a dream refuses to be deferred.
The model and singer sought an education that brought her to unlikely places and tucked her talent right along in her suitcase. “I joined the military mostly out of necessity ‘cause that was the only way I was gonna go to college. So I went to the Air Force Academy because they gave me a full ride and I just kept on performing even though I was in the Air Force. I just kept on seeking opportunities and I never let that go.”
Serving in the Air Force gave Marina a chance to sharpen her skills and pick up some new ones.
“When I was traveling, my job actually for the Air Force was to be a singer. I worked for air force entertainment. I was in a group it was a traveling show of Air Force members and we performed for other Air Force members around the world and so yea we were pretty much required to be in makeup all the time and look like Miss America all the time. But we also we were the load in and load out crew. I was in charge of constructing the stage and overseeing that and so we were doing all this heavy labor. We were screwing things together, we were doing a lot of heavy lifting and we had to be in makeup all the time. We were in heavy makeup all the time we had to look pristine and perfect while doing all of this real rough stuff.”
The strenuous experiences prepared her for what many models have learned while enduring the realities of fashion week. “You have to be pleasant and smiling all the time, even though you’re sleep deprived and tired and you just don’t wanna smile anymore.”
It was a revelatory time for her.
“I was based out of Grand Forks, North Dakota but I traveled pretty much world wide I’ve been to like sixteen countries I deployed during Christmas time to the Middle East. We were in Kuwait, Jordan, Djibouti, Qatar and United Emirates quite a few places.”
It pushed her physical and spiritual abilities to the limit, and forced her to expand her ideas of womanhood. “It was a struggle to keep your femininity and also do all these really rough jobs, but I think it gave us a better sense of our femininity. Like to be able to feel empowered to look pretty and dance, and sing, and everything but also be there right alongside the guys. You know throwing things into the truck and putting set cases together setting up lights and everything it made no difference and so I think that was really cool.”
She found strength as apart of the group but sadly she did not find true community there even after returning to the United States. “I’ve been in North Dakota for a long time and there’s not really a lot of diversity there.”
Marina remained engaged with media sources that catered to black women including Madame Noire and Hello Beautiful when she could and soon she saw an opportunity to comment with the outlets offline through a model search opportunity. “I didn’t expect much to come of it I just sent an application and said okay we’ll see what happens,” she shared.
“I’m a reader of the site I follow MadameNoire on Facebook and I read a lot of their stuff day to day and I come across their traffic site quite often and I just happened to see that and I decided to go for that. I think it’s really cool highlighting all these different women some that we’ve heard of a little bit and then some we haven’t heard of just learning about their stories the unique things that they’ve had to overcome and their unique journey because there’s no one journey to success.”
“It was really it was really cool to be around Black women again and like so many beautiful, beautiful, confident, women! The energy was palpable and it was really refreshing to be in that environment,” she said about her experience at CurvyNoire. Maui Bigelow and MadameNoire gave her an experience that she was missing while in uniform.
“I haven’t been able to do that in a really long time.”
Sitting on the smaller end of the plus-size spectrum, she wasn’t sure she would be selected. “I’m not the largest or curviest person especially compared to those models but I’m definitely heavier than I had been before.” Engaging in a space dedicated to body positivity, where she was celebrated for her beauty meant alot to her after being criticized for gaining weight.
“I’ve been told like that I need to lose weight and everything before I seek an agent and thats been kind of disheartening,” she revealed.
“It was more about being able to be confident in my body as it was at that moment and so it felt pretty cool to be able to step out and feel okay about it.”
The next place Marina will be stepping out in the stage. After appearing in the show “Rebirth of Rabbit’s Foot”, she is preparing for her own cabaret act, and continuing to find places to promote her talent.
“I’m just looking for more opportunities to perform and get out there.”