V IS FOR VISUAL
staged, styled, and shot by Baseme Osuamkpe
We’re introducing our “V is for” campaign, an interview series shining a light on trailblazing medical professionals in our community. The campaign explores topics in healthcare that conveniently begin with our namesake letter V.
V IS FOR | JULY 28, 2021
Jack of all trades. Master of none tons. Baseme is a student dentist, model, visual designer, and all-around creative pushing boundaries in her personal and professional life. Take a peek through her editorial lens as she walks us through her process.
"My self-portraits emerge out of protest, claiming that I am worthy of all the spaces I inhabit personally, physically, and intellectually."
how did you get started in modeling?
I started modeling a couple of months after graduating college in 2016. It was something I had always wanted to do, but my parents strongly emphasized education and wouldn't tolerate me spending a large amount of time in the fashion industry. I had always been a curvy woman, but by the time I was 23, I wasn't even close to sample size (0-4). Despite my proportions, I told myself that I had always been photogenic, and that God wouldn't have blessed me with these longs legs and facial bone structure if I wasn't supposed to use them in some fashion. So I began shooting with local photographers who shared my vision. Eventually, through networking and photoshoots, I was able to book paid runway shows and other gigs while being a freelance model.
what informs your work?
My dreams inform my work. I got into self-portraits during lockdown this summer out of anger at being type-casted. The shoots I was being considered for tended to merely highlight my blackness or emphasized maturity through regality. Although I am Black and I do hold myself to high standards, I'm also quirky, playful, alternative, and masculine. In the fashion world, that kind of spread tends to be reserved for thinner individuals of lighter complexions. My self-portraits emerge out of protest, claiming that I am worthy of all the spaces I inhabit personally, physically, and intellectually. I mirror editorials from magazines while using my dreams and aspirations as a muse with the intention of seeing myself represented as I deserve to be.
"I have never been one to be boxed into an image, and I don't plan on doing so with my career."