“I am inspired by so many things; the good, the bad, the successes, and the failures of others before me through their different struggles,aspirations, and most importantly, the need to become successful in order to help others so [that] they won’t have to struggle like I did in trying to come up in society,” Raia James in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.
Multi-talented, creative, athletic, determined, beautiful, are a few words used to describe the ambitious Raia James.The 23 year old sat down with The Caribbean Current and shared a little of her life. She was recently selected to be Jamaica’s representative at the upcoming World Championships of the Performing Arts (WCOPA) competition. The auditions for selection was her first time entering a modelling competition.
“In the months prior to the auditions I kept seeing the ad about the competition and auditions, so I decided to sign up online, then went and got chosen.” – Raia James in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.
A Bit about Raia
James was born in St. Thomas, Jamaica on October 19, 1993. She was an active child and she was very involved in track and field at a young age,through her high school years, and for a short time while in university. She battled with financial challenges to the point where it affected her schooling; she had to drop out of the University of the West Indies.
“It was very heartbreaking for me and I don’t even know how I will feel about it because I know I have what it takes and money shouldn’t be a reason I lose the chance to display my talents.” – Raia James in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.
She has also faced challenges with travelling expenses, because living in the rural area of St. Thomas, Jamaica without a car and limited funds makes travelling to Kingston— a central and busy parish where most activities and events occur— very difficult. The commute from St. Thomas to Kingston was basically an hour away and the roads are oftentimes impassible.
Raia is highly motivated by her father who has been a huge guiding force in her life since she lost her mother tragically at a young age. Her father has been more than a biological dad but also her teacher, provider, and protector.
I would like to be able the make his life more comfortable so he won’t have to continue working so hard, it’s my time to step up and take care of certain things, and of course I want to become a success and not another sad story of talent going to waste like so many others.” – Raia James with The Caribbean Current.
Her Prospective Modelling Career
While there is no specific person who encouraged her to pursue modelling, she was always told by persons that she has the qualities to become a model. She thinks that the best perk of being a model is the exposure and the availability to perform different jobs in entertainment such as being in commercials and television features. Since taking it seriously, she has fallen in love with the idea of entertaining people and she believes that she can do that on the runway or acting. In early 2016 she was in pursuit of modelling but her health did not allow her; she has a chronic disorder and as a result had to put her dream on pause. However she’s back and charting her course with the continued support of her family.
“My message to potential clients and sponsors is that I am ready and willing to continue to learn and work hard towards accomplishing their goals and mine, and to also be a professional working model who will always get the job done in a timely and orderly fashion, the way it was envisioned or even better, while representing their brand or business.” – Raia James in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.
If modelling does not work out for her she says she will “fall back” on her other skills, creativity and talents that were undisclosed in detail. However, she told us that maybe she would go into starting a business. She stated that she was not about to give up so easily but she would have to source the best option.
“My best advice to [prospective models] would be to do some research first and gather all the necessary info and seek help or advice, if and where you can, before pursuing anything, especially in entertainment, because the industry is tricky and very harsh if you don’t get it right.” – Raia James with The Caribbean Current.
Although she is not yet known as a professional, she is certainly working on getting there. She finds that Jamaica doesn’t present many avenues for her to explore a modelling career so she aims to enter the international stage. She gets herself promoted through social media and reaching out to people and companies. She gets valuable feedback on the photos she posts on her Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Resources and Funding
She sources funding for her campaign to Los Angeles because she is finding it hard to gain sponsors. Her approach to negative or harsh criticism is to not let it bother her. She keeps confidence and hope at the front of her mind and she acknowledges the help and support from those who believe in her dream.
“The reception is not good thus far, as you know, getting help through funding or donations is not easy and especially here in Jamaica. People don’t really help you to elevate but they do love to join in to celebrate. The only reason I have not dropped out is because of help from some family members.” – Raia James with The Caribbean Current.
A Future for Raia
Five years from now she sees herself being a successful model or entertainer as she invests in her own business. In the future she hopes to work with the best agencies in the world and be signed with modelling agency giants like Elite, IMG and Ford.
“I am confident that with the necessary help and support, I will be able to represent myself and country well and inspire others like me who have struggled and are fighting to reach their goals.” – Raia James with The Caribbean Current.
Five Things You Never Knew About Raia
- What is her best physical feature? Her Height.
- What is her worst physical feature? Has a slight hunch.
- Who are her three favourite models? Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks and Winnie Harlow.
- What are three things a model can’t live without? Technology, Social Media and the Internet.
- What does she do for fun? Watch movies, listen to music, enjoys solitude and hang out with her friends.
Where You Can Find Her
Follow on Raia James’ journey with her social media handles – Facebook: Raia James | Instagram: @raiajames | Twitter: Raia.P.James
You are welcomed to donate to her GoFundMe Page
For more information, visit her WCOPA Page
About the World Championships of the Performing Arts
The “World Championships of Performing Arts” (WCOPA), is cited as the one and only “official Talent Olympics” for aspiring performers and entertainers. It is the only premier international talent and modeling competition of its kind, it is held annually in Hollywood, California the entertainment capital of the world. Similar to the Olympic Games, only invited and qualified competitors (called Worldstars) representing countries compete each year in a fierce competition for “the gold”.
There are six (6) categories of competition for juniors (ages 5 to 15): dancing, singing, modeling, acting, instrumentals, and variety arts. The six (6) categories for senior competition (ages 16 and over) are: dancing, singing, modeling, acting, instrumentals, and variety arts.
This year’s staging runs from June 30 – July 9, 2017.
By Alexandra Daley