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Model used ridicule of physical traits as driving force for success

Model used ridicule of physical traits as driving force for success

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‘Tough Tannia’. ‘Black attack’. These were taunts that would often ring in Yugge Farrell’s ears as a child – teased mercilessly for her dark skin and her slender physique.

However, the tables have now turned in the favour of the 21-year-old – whose trademarks are her flawless chocolate-coloured skin {{more}}and her natural hairstyle.

The physical traits that she was once ridiculed for are the same ones that are now helping her navigate her way successfully through the world of modelling – on a quest to become an internationally known supermodel.

Explaining that she has learnt to shut out the naysayers, Yugge asserted: “Now, it doesn’t matter anymore… I try to ignore negative vibes and people who come around me… If someone comes around me and criticizes my look, I just block them out. I don’t respond to people with their negativity!”

Although she has been known in local modelling and design circles for a few years, Yugge’s popularity with the general Vincentian public received a boost last year when she made it to the final five competitors in regional reality show Caribbean’s Next Top Model.

And just last month, Yugge set social media abuzz when US-based Vincentian photographer Kareem Quow published photographs of her – some of which were artistic semi-nudes.

The Golden Vale resident recalled that she had been told by a friend about a call for entrants for Caribbean’s Next Top Model only two days before auditions were scheduled to take place in Trinidad.

“I went and booked the flight and went down the next day. I tried out for it, and when I came back, a couple weeks later, they called me and told me that I got through to do the show.”

The photogenic lass recalled that she had been ecstatic at the news that she had been selected, because it was the first time in her modelling career that she would gain regional exposure.

“It felt like a dream come true!” she enthused. “Even before all this happened, I used to be like ‘boy, I can’t wait til I get to do this’. And when the time really came to do it, it felt like a triumphant day… I’m really grateful for the opportunity.”

Speaking about her experience taking part in the competition, Yugge described it as “really great,” but not without its challenges.

She explained that with 17 women residing in the same abode, there were some tensions at first, but after a few days, things settled down and friendships began to be forged.

One of her most memorable moments on the show was a photoshoot with a snake.

“That was the first time I actually handled a snake, and I didn’t even know that I liked snakes until that day!” she chuckled.

Regarding her photographic collaboration with photographer Kareem Quow, Yugge admitted that she had been expecting there to be some negative feedback, because Vincentians can be quite conservative when it comes to nudity.

Instead, she was pleasantly surprised when persons lauded her for “being brave” enough to take part in the photographer’s project. Even her mother was supportive of the venture.

“I’m not reserved when it comes to showing my body like that. I wouldn’t shun someone for posing naked or even looking naked… As a model, you have to expect to be naked all the time.”

She further explained that fashion designers are more interested in how models look in their creations, and that often involves being nude or scantily-clad.

“It was a really good photoshoot. Obviously he has more experience than me, because he’s shot a lot of professional models before. He gave me some good advice, some tips on posing. I was really glad to work along with him, because he can contribute to my career.”

The daughter of Gailene Farrell and Calvert Charles, Yugge is one of seven siblings, and is very much the free and independent spirit – having moved out on her own at the age of 19.

Her modelling career began very much on a whim in 2012/13 when she responded to a casting call in a local newspaper for local designer Kimon Baptiste. She was chosen to do the show, and the rest – as we say – is history.

Yugge, a past student of the St Joseph’s Convent Kingstown and the SVG Community College, shared her ambitions of one day migrating to London (England), strutting the catwalks of Italy and the rest of Europe, and even gracing the covers of internationally renowned fashion and lifestyle magazines.

But in the meantime, she is on the grind – improving her skills and expanding her portfolio.

Apart from her modelling career, Yugge is interested in make-up and beauty, experimenting with creating her own recipes for skin and hair care; and quite unusual for someone her age, she revealed that she doesn’t watch television.

“Television doesn’t interest me. I don’t think that I can learn anything from watching TV… I’m a more outdoorsy person. I like nature, I like to be outside.”

Yugge also enjoys writing poetry, cooking and consuming vegetarian dishes. (JSV)

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