Beauty and brains: an interview with the fashion show organizer and runway model Mercedes White

by Minister of Information JR

Mercedes-at-Caribbean-Fashion-Show-0410-by-JR1, Beauty and brains: an interview with the fashion show organizer and runway model Mercedes White, Culture Currents Hanging out back stage at a recent fashion show in Oakland, I met the beautiful and intelligent model Mercedes White. I wanted to profile her because she was not just an arm piece or a nice body profiling clothes; she is modeling to pay for her education.

She told me that she is driven to become a medical doctor. In this media age where most Black youth want to be rappers, singers or athletes, I thought that it was important to speak with Mercedes, who is using her beauty and hobby to become a doctor and being able to recommend products as And we all know how much of a novelty a Black doctor is in our society.

I wanted to speak with her so that other Black young people, primarily young women, can read the words of another young Black woman on a mission. Check out Mercedes in her own words …

M.O.I. JR: How did you get into modeling?

Mercedes: I started by creating a Model Mayhem account and uploading a view pictures of myself. The photographers started pouring in, requesting photo shoots.

After a few shoots, I was ready to hit the runway. In November 2009, a friend of mine who is also a make-up artist was being featured in a hair and fashion show. She knew I wanted to model and the rest became history!

M.O.I. JR: What and who inspires you?

Mercedes: My cousin Angela Henderson is my ultimate inspiration. She is a model and dancer in Los Angeles. We grew up together dancing, performing and putting on shows for our family. She put her mind into modeling and dancing and made it. She has been featured on an ipod billboard, performed for Beyonce, Trey Songs and more.

I am also often inspired from superstars and models in the industry today. I look at Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Beyonce and Tyra, just to name a few. I realize that their image, their style, their hair and clothes comes from a team of professionals consisting of image consultants, fashion designers, make-up artists and more. It’s no wonder that these superstars look like a million bucks! If I had a team of professionals behind me, I would look just as good. My goal now is to do just that.

Mercedes-White, Beauty and brains: an interview with the fashion show organizer and runway model Mercedes White, Culture Currents M.O.I. JR: How long have you been organizing fashion shows?

Mercedes: I started organizing my very own hair and fashion show in December 2009. On May 21, 2010, the first annual Platinum Status “A Hair Affair” hair and fashion show came to life. It had a big turnout!

M.O.I. JR: You recently told me that you were organizing these fashion shows for a purpose. What is that purpose?

Mercedes: The purpose of my show was to help promote and showcase up and coming hair stylists, fashion designers and models like myself. I wanted to give others an opportunity to experience what someone once gave me. The proceeds of the show went towards my education. My ultimate goal is to be a doctor.

M.O.I. JR: What made you want to become a doctor?

Mercedes: I have always been a total freak for the medical field. I eat, sleep and breathe for the medical field. I’ve always wanted to be a registered nurse because of my innate desire to help other people, but why not be a doctor? Not only could I help people in need of medical attention, but I can encourage my people that you really can make it if you put your mind and heart in it. I truly believe that we succeed at what we point our attention at.

M.O.I. JR: What are the next steps in you becoming a doctor?

Mercedes: My next steps include continuing my education. I work full time to get by, which means I can only go to school part time. Thus far, I have completed over 30 units with a 3.8 GPA. I recently completed the EMT program at Merritt College in Oakland in an effort to get some hands on experience. My next step is to volunteer more in the community as I continue to knock down my prerequisites.

M.O.I. JR: How can the readers help you?

Mercedes: Positive feedback and encouragement is usually enough. In the past I have won a few scholarships and I am always looking for more, so information regarding such would be great! I love volunteering and I am always looking for new opportunities to help others.

M.O.I. JR: How can people get in touch with you online?

Mercedes: The most popular way to reach me if you have a Facebook is to search “Platinum Status, A Hair Affair.” You can stay updated on upcoming shows and events, as well as send me a message. I can also be reached by email at Thank you!

Email POCC Minister of Information JR, Bay View associate editor, at and visit