HHD: What led you to begin modeling and then from there to form Eminent Modeling & Promotions?
EJ: My twins actually led me to modeling. Before, I was working full time. I was going to school full time. I would run into a lot of women and they had children. It’s like a whirlwind. It’s a different side of the world, working from corporate and going into the industry. You work with people. You meet these different people. Especially with women, once they have children, or get married, or get a boyfriend — something’s holding them back. So, I felt like I was put on this earth to help people. Once I started modeling and everything that’s why I started the company. I grew up in a single family home. My mother, she worked two jobs. With me, I would always want to provide a different lifestyle for my family and for my mother.
HHD: Can you describe what an Eminent model is? If a girl wants to be an Eminent model, what qualities are you looking for that girl to exhibit?
EJ: It’s not hard. She must have respect. Once you get into the game, being a women, it’s very hard. I think men expect things from you as a woman. If a man is helping you, they’re gonna expect something. I teach all my models, and I think I got it from my morals growing up, is that you have to have respect for yourself. Present yourself as a businesswoman, then that’s how people are gonna treat you. If you present yourself as, excuse my language, a hoe, as a bopper, or even as a bitch if that’s what you want to present yourself as that’s how people are gonna take it. An Eminent model first of all has to have presence and definitely has to have respect. It’s not so much as the looks. We try to pick girls that are industry standard.
HHD: What I liked about looking at your company and its setup is that on the business-side you mainly have women, except for the men modeling I saw that there’s a man that coaches them. Is that someting that you did intentionally as a means of female empowerment and support or did it just evolve that way?
EJ: When I started this company, I can say I started off as a promoter. I would work with a lot of different promoters. They would be like, ‘Man you need to get a group of girls together and have your girls come out and promote and everything.’ I worked very closely with Mike Moodswing. He’s the one that actually gave us the opportunity and how we got started in this industry. We would go to all these different interviews and meetings and nothing came through. And the night we were supposed to meet with Mike I told my mama ,’I’m not going. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of being let down.’ She was like ‘Girl, get up and go down there.’ I had no makeup on. I put my slacks on. I had my briefcase and my white collared shirt. I didn’t even know who Mike was. He takes us up to this floor where all these girls are rehearsing. I was looking at him like, ‘Sir I have a meeting with Mike.’ He was like ‘Okay, stay right here.’ This girl takes us up to his office. He was like ‘Hi, how are you? I’m Mike.’ I felt stupid cause I did not know that was him. That day he layed everything out. I’ve been working with Mike for years and years. He’s pretty much been like my business mentor. This past year he came to me and said, ‘How do you feel about KiKi J?’ I said, ‘I see her around. I don’t know how I feel about her. She seems petty serious.’ He said, ‘I think ya’ll will be great.’ He contacted her and I sent her a myspace message. We had a meeting and we sat down and talked. The standards were there and the chemistry and the vibe were definitely there. One thing led to another and she’s been on my case ever since.
HHD: Eminent Modeling & Promotions specializes in urban modeling. Can you let us know exactly what urban modeling is and why you decided to go that route?
EJ: Well urban modeling is pretty much like your Rocawear and your things like that. It’s not that we specialize in it, we started out in it. Eminent got the foot through the door through the Texas Summer Music Conference. So I was able to meet and shake hands and build relationships with these people. That’s how we pretty much set the trend for the urban pretty much here in Dallas. Once I hooked up with KiKi J we are now trying to take it more mainstream.
HHD: One other thing that I really loved about your company is you actually take your models, you invest time in teaching them the business side and most of them transition into business roles? Is that a core value of your company to mentor models about the business or did you just luck up and find a bunch of ambitious females to join Eminent Modeling?
EJ: Oh no, no, no. I feel that if you don’t share what you’ve learned then you’ll block your blessings. That’s how I was raised. And I was raised to give. It’s definitely frustrating because you want more so for people than they do for themselves. You learn all these things and you try to prevent other people from hitting their head. I didn’t start the company for myself. I feel like they have to know the business side. They have to understand their contracts. They have to know what they’re signing. They have to know the research about their photographer. They have to know the research about Eminent. They most definitely have to know the research about Ebony J. You have to be able to learn and you have to be able to take criticism.
HHD: Can you talk to me a little bit more about the promotions side?
EJ: We are the hand sanitizer for promotions. I love promoting, personally, because you never know who you’re gonna meet. I’m a very personable and sociable person. If we’re doing something it definitely has to be promoted in some kind of way. We have to promote it in a way that no one else is promoting it. We promote like an artist from our banners to our myspace campaign to the campaigns that KiKi J comes up with. We have an entire strategy for it. The way we promote at the clubs I’ve learned that from all the promoters here in Dallas. My mother actually gave me the idea of saying Eminent Modeling & Promotions.
HHD: Who would you say are the top three most influential female rappers and why?
EJ: I would say Lil Kim. I’ve always been a fan of Lil Kim since I was a little girl. Any song can come on from Lil Kim and I will get in the mirror and act like I’m Lil Kim. Ever since I saw the movie Notorious I have so much respect for her because it’s not like she slept her way into the game. She did what she was doing and she was able to get that advice. My second one is Queen Latifah. My last one would be Trina.
HHD: What projects are Eminent Modeling & Promotions currently working on that we can lookout to see them?
EJ: You can definitely check us out at the Texas Summer Music Conference July 17-19. Definitely make sure you look out for our anniversary party. It’s coming up in August.
HHD: What is your definition of a hip hop diva?
EJ: To me the definition of a hip hop diva is Ebony J. I say that because when you go into a room you must definitely have to demand your presence. Your personality must stand out. Anyone can be a diva in their own right. I think it would mean something different for each and every person.
Check out THEHIPHOPDIVA.COM’S feature article on Ebony J on the Spotlight on Hip Hop Divas Ebony J and KiKi J page.
Check out Eminent Modeling & Promotions at www.myspace.com\eminentmp,