Tehya was shot exclusively for MODELS.com by Franco Schicke (assisted by @killqiao), with styling by Ali Claire Marino, hair by KIYO Igarashi and makeup by Crystal Gossman. Glasswork by Aida Ruilova. Shot at Candy Studio NYC. Thanks to Rachel Payne and Gary Dakin.


My name is Tehya but some call me T. My last name is Elam.

I am signed with JAG Models in NYC and Natural in LA.

I just turned 19 on April 17th this year.


Place of Origin:
I was born and raised in Las Vegas, I’m a Vegas baby!

Ethnic Origin:
I am mixed with Oglala Sioux, Irish and African American.

My zodiac sign is Aries, my moon is in Libra and my sun is in Aries.

@precioustehya (my name means precious).

How were you discovered?
The JAG scout Rachel found me on Instagram after I did a makeup shoot with Lina Mourey and the photo went crazy on Instagram. After I signed with JAG, I moved to NYC two weeks after graduating high school.

What was your first modeling job?
My first job was a shoot with Urban Decay which was the coolest because my family came with me. The hotel they put us in was on the beach so that morning I just went down and sat there then headed to work. On set, there were lots of snacks and I LOVE SNACKS! I’m so grateful for that job!

Do you have a favorite designer/brand/product?
I’m not a big designer person but I do love designer shoes. My mom bought me Gucci slides for my birthday and I wear them every day!

What’s your beauty routine?
My beauty routine starts with brushing and flossing day/night. Next, I clean my face with Neutrogena’s pink pomegranate oil-free acne wash. I use witch hazel then I use Clinique’s gel moisturizer and finally I spray Mario Badescu facial spray. During the week I will randomly use an eye or face mask.

Favorite modeling experience so far?
Shooting with Franco for this was my favorite experience by far because Franco is a friend of mine and we’ve been wanting to create something together for a while now, so to have that opportunity was such a humbling one. And for it to be for models.com is so cool to me! It was so fun creating a vision with such attitude, it tested my fierceness.

What would you be doing if you weren’t modeling? Or what do you want to do after modeling?
If I wasn’t modeling I would have finished my first year in college, probably still living in Vegas. I think about what I’d like to do after modeling but I’ve been practicing being present and as of now I’m just trying to live every moment in this career until the time comes to start a new journey.

Which brand would you really love to model for?
Not fashion but… I have this dream which is really big: I want a Coca-Cola commercial.

Some of your favorite things:
I love to journal and create visions. I couldn’t live without my journal seriously, it’s my life in a book.

What are you listening to at the moment?
So I love music and I’m interested in listening to all genres. I was introduced to the Fugees yesterday so they’re on repeat right now. I’m into hip hop, rock, and EDM. I love to rave, I love listening to rap hearing the flow of lyrics, and I’m a Rolling Stones girl.

Favorite movie(s) or TV show(s):
My favorite movies are White Chicks, anything Will Smith is in, and the Scream series.

How was your life different 12 months ago?
Last year I was just graduating high school, coming from a small city about to be introduced to the real world. I was kind of self-centered, not aware of society and not spiritually connected. Now I’d like to believe my mind has opened and I’m practicing being aware now.

What always makes you laugh?
I crack myself up because I’m so awkward and I don’t know what I’m doing so it’s all pretty funny.

Currently you’re obsessed with/about:
Spirituality has consumed my life, I surrendered to God earlier this year and since then I’ve been practicing being a genuinely good person (which is a journey) but I’m also trying to become one with my mind, body and soul.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Someone once told me everything in life is a choice. Since then I’ve approached situations with this mindset and it’s brought me patience.