Perhaps you recognize her from cycle five of America’s Next Top Model. Or, could it be from her leading lady role in Wale’s Lotus Flower Bomb music video? In any event, there’s a surefire guarantee that you have come across the brown-skinned beauty that is Bre Scullark. Though the ANTM and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation alumna has made splashes in the entertainment industry since her late-teens introduction, Scullark has since evolved into her own brand away from the television screen and into self-care, motherhood, and minding the business that pays her.
I had the pleasure of hopping on the phone with Bre Scullark herself about her early modeling career, how yoga has developed her passion for self-care and self-love, and the best lessons that being a mom has taught her.
It’s 11:09 AM and I hear Bre enter the conference call dial-in soft-spoken and sweet. After connecting via email, text message and Instagram DM, she and I were finally able to connect before her virtual run through for the upcoming CURLFEST summit this Saturday.
Our first topic of conversation was her modeling career and she brought it all the way back. “I would say when I got accepted onto America’s Next Top Model,” Scullark said about when her passion for fashion and beauty kicked in back in 2005. Though this moment was nearly fifteen years ago, she credits the challenging experience as one of the most rewarding for her career to come. “I don’t think I realized it at the time, but I love the idea of art and men and women creating stories out of images.”
As a 19-year-old girl, Bre was still figuring out herself, her personal style and her place in the world of fashion. If she could sit with young Bre today, she would tell her to be confident, have balance and practice patience by giving time, time
“When the world met me, I was still meeting myself,” she admitted. “I’m still learning who I am and we’re always evolving, but in this moment today, I have a stronger idea and everything I do supports that.”
Following her cycle on the Tyra Banks-created franchise, the top three winner continued on her path down the road of fashion and style. Securing a contract with Ford Models and shooting with Cosmopolitan Magazine were just a few moments in Bre’s life when she realized that modeling was not only her talent, but a gift. Though in her younger years her parents did not fully support the idea of her being a model, she walked for Phat Farm at the age of thirteen as the youngest model in the room before being pulled from the show. “[There] were just all of these little moments that added up to, ‘this is what I’m supposed to do,’” Bre affirmed.”It was like a series of events that happened over time that was just like, ‘this is like a calling in a sense.’”
As a Black woman, the modeling industry isn’t as easy to enter as it would be for the Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevigne’s of the world, but Bre Scullark is making her mark where she can by combating standards of racism and colorism.
“To answer your question, ‘do I believe that there’s colorism?,’ yes, but I just want to note that from the time that I started back in 2005, the times have changed and there’s a lot more color,” Bre told me giving credit where it’s due about representation. While pointing out that Black-owned designers and brands are taking the fashion industry by storm, Bre thought back to her own experience as a 22-year-old tenderfoot in the modeling world and how New York Fashion Week and shmooze-filled parties have more color in the picture. “It just looks different now because the expectation has changed. It’s become the expectation that you need to show color,” she said passionately before speaking on her personal experience with colorism.
“I remember with my natural hair and I was on [ANTM] cycle five when this happened,” the competition reality show alumna reminisced about her experience with a colorist hair stylist when straightening her hair for a shoot. Born and raised in Harlem, she was used to predominately Black settings, so being in this new environment that was America’s Next Top Model was an outer body experience for her. “When she finished blowing and straightening it out, she goes, ‘I can’t believe I did it. I actually straighten your hair. It was so nappy,’ and it was off-putting,” she remembered the puzzling and awkward experience of her beautiful then-head full of hair being called out of its name.
While co-star Lisa D’Amato, a young white woman, came to Bre’s rescue to defend her hair, the hairstylist insisted that Bre’s hair was in fact “nappy.” “That’s when I first realized people see me differently than I see myself. I can’t say it discouraged me in any way, but I definitely felt like there were two different worlds happening, and this world I wasn’t really familiar with, and I don’t and didn’t necessarily agree with it.”
I brought the conversation back to her New York roots, with her reigning from Harlem and myself from Brooklyn – and we instantly bonded like two sisters from the same block. After laughing and kekeing, she let me in on what she loves the most about her New York swag.
“New York women, what I like about us is we have versatility, you understand? I know you understand,” the Harlem native told me. “We could do the homegirl thing all day and then dress it up at night.” She compared her Harlem hometown to her experience in Los Angeles, which taught her about keeping it classy, being manicured at all times and having your body right. She cites Teyana Taylor as a prime example of style versatility inspo from her sweats and Jordans to going glam and being snatched.
“If you only have one look, I feel like it goes against the grain. Fashion is about versatility. It’s about being so many different women and showing that; not just one girl. I just can’t be one look for the rest of my life and it’d never be me,” Bre told me.
Onto the topic of motherhood… Bre was gushing when we brought up her beautiful baby boy, Knight. She disclosed to me that her beauty routine since becoming a mom has turned into more self-care implementation with heavy emphasis on spirituality. “When that baby goes to sleep, if that means that I have to sit in the shower for an hour, pray, meditate, I have to make an effort,” Bre said to me about the necessity of taking care of herself as a mother. “I cannot be a full cup for my son if I’m not giving myself nothing.” She’s continued to embrace her outer beauty by treating herself to self-manicure sessions at night during quarantine and dressing up for her son’s doctors appointments to stay rooted in her fashion and style power.
In addition to the mommy title, Bre can add “host” for this year’s CurlFest Beauty Summit featuring Taraji P. Henson and Jidenna. “What’s refreshing is this is what was missing from fashion and beauty when I started in 2005, which was versatility and Black women being ourselves,” Bre told me in excitement about how she’s seen CurlFest evolve since her involvement in 2016 as media.
“You just see Black girls being great and standing in that power. That’s what CurlFest represents for me. We’re bouncing off of each other’s energy all day and I don’t have to stand on my own. That sh*t is a recharge on the low and we need that.”
In order to balance being a mommy, host, a model and an entrepreneur, Bre is graceful enough to share her number one self-care secret with me. “Drink water and mind your business,” she said powerfully as we both joined in laughter. “I can’t stress that enough. Mind your business and that’s it. Whenever you gotta question [it] or think, mind your business. Mind it.” As she told me about how much she loves when her friends’ mothers remind her of the same mantra, she affirms the importance of staying in your joy and your power.
“I care about everything, but absolutely nothing. If it’s not about my son, personal growth or business, don’t even bring it my way. There’s nothing I could do with that. I’m grown.”
To watch Bre Scullark, catch her on the CURLFEST digital stage, which airs on Saturday, September 19th between 11:45 AM and 7:30 PM EST.