More Omahyra!

Omahyra/NY Models. Ph Betty Sze for MDC

Omahyra Mota was made for fashion and fashion for Omahyra Mota. Individuals like her vindicate the idea of fashion as a form of self-expression, as an act of defiance and as a means of escape .That’s the sentiment that comes to mind when flicking through the new Ellen von Unwerth homage to Omahyra and her beau, Boyd, titled succinctly enough: Omahyra and Boyd. (See exclusive snippets here) In the five years since Ms. Mota made the modeling scene, this Dominican rebel beauty has highlighted virtually every major magazine and runway in the business. She’s walked the extremes from Micheal Kors to Gucci. She has posed as a seductive dominatrix for Dutch and in a shot that still burns in memory, as Prince for Vogue. She’s been a campaign icon for Gaultier in Paris and for Roc A Wear in Times Square. And in all of this Omahyra hasn’t lost her mind, still remains unaffected, still lives with her Mom in Queens and still marches to the beat of her eclectic drummer. OTM caught up with the coolest girl in town on the hottest day of the year for the low-down on her latest doings. This is the story.

MDC: Mighty Omayhra. Break down how the book “Omhayra and Boyd” came to be. Page after page, you two are like …reverse twins… constantly intertwined.
OM: (Applauds gleefully) I like that. Well Ellen told me she wanted to take some pictures because she had this assignment to shoot someone with lots of personality. So she calls George and asked If I would do the shoot. Of course I was like “Cool!â€? It was going to be something small not big and then we started shooting and she was really happy. From the very beginning it was fun. You’ve seen the book. It’s crazy. Don’t ask. It’s all true. Ellen would be like. Go-go-go! We’d go backstage at the shows…To my house in Queens…To (stylist) Lysa Cooper’s house…We had a great time. It was really her. It was really a vision that she had. I was there doing the best job I could and it turned out really beautifully. I really like that I have this whole book about me and my boyfriend and my sister and my friends like Renee (Dorski) and that moment in my life. It’s like an album ..

MDC: In black and white. By a world famous photographer…
OM: Yeah. It’s just a beautiful, artistic professional look at a few days in my life. It’s not like anything dirty . There are people who might ask why’s there so many pictures where I’m topless or not wearing a lot but..that’s just what happens when I’m with my boyfriend (lol)

MDC: Please.This is the generation that grew up with Madonna’s Sex book. What could shock?
OM: Exactly! Though on one of the first nights of shooting this crazy fight broke out at the club we were at. This girl..I guess she was jealous of one of my friends Renee and threw a drink on her. Drama! It was like something you would see in a movie

MDC: Speaking of which we’ve heard on the grapevine that you’re about to break into the movies?
OM: Actually I already did parts in State Property 2 and Rush Hour 3. And I’m going back this summer to see if I got this role in a really big film. Big special effects and everything. If it works out it’ll be amazing but I always feel like once I give it my all, then if it happens wonderful. If not. Wonderful. It passed me by but there’s always something else coming.

MDC: When you started 5 years ago did you picture all of this? Paris parties…Picture books devoted to you. Hollywood castings?
OM: Listen five years ago, I graduated from my modeling school in Queens and went to all the agencies in Manhattan with my diploma, going “I’m ready ! You see this here! This is official! And I have trophies too!â€? I wasn’t playing!

MDC: (Interviewer dying laughing.)
OM: How crazy was that? I didn’t know anything about modeling and I really thought it was going to be like it was in my modeling school. But then when I started going out into the world, it just blew me away. I’d never been outside of The States except for my country, The Dominican Republic. It’s like next thing I know is I’m a 15 year old in Monaco with women wearing Chanel to the beach and then I’m shooting with Helmut Newton.

MDC: That’s the one great thing about this industry . It recognizes and rewards you for being unique .
OM: It’s true. It was great to see all that stuff. And to see everybody so excited and inspired by their job. I didn’t realize it then but to have Helmut Newton telling you how great you look. Which other business gives that to fifteen year olds?

MDC: There are shots of you performing with your band Omi in the book. How’s the music career evolving?
OM: I was in Omi with two girls and one of the girls decided to go back to Brazil to study.

MDC: Who ? Mayana?
OM: Yup. God you remember everything! Mayana now has her own band and she’s handling it really well. There was usually three of us on stage . We’d look over and we’d see each other and everything was perfect. But Mayana by herself now is amazing. She’s actually better than when it was the three of us. I’m really proud of her.

MDC: So you had at one point started to concentrate more on music and less on modeling.
OM: Totally. Hopefully when Mayana comes back we can get together and play again. We have the songs. We’ll break them up into parts. You learn this. I’ll learn that. And then Pow. We play again. For right now I’m focusing more on the movies and the modeling because I want to earn as much as I can so I can put money again into the music. I was putting all my money into the band and I was going broke. It was so important to me that it was OK but now is the perfect time to really think about where I’m going next.

MDC: It’s funny that you were making rock tracks while profiling for hip-hop ads and catwalking for luxury labels. Can’t pigeonhole you can we?
OM: That’s the NY thing. Going to high school here. Taking bits and pieces from everybody’s culture and shit . You always want to look fun and very cool but elegant at the same time. Whatever you’re wearing, wear it like its luxury y’know. And people will believe it’s luxury. Sometimes I feel like wearing this really feminine make-up. Sometimes I’d dress like a boy. However I feel like that’s how I dress.

MDC: I love that you have always been Omahyra to the max whether you were in fashion or not.
OM: You know…I pray a lot. If God wants it to happen it will happen. If things go wrong it’s because that’s the way things are supposed to go. A lot of girls get destroyed when they don’t get the jobs but I always felt like you always get the jobs that you are perfect for. I understand that everybody is doing their job and they have this idea or this vision in their mind and they just really want a girl who fits the vision of that shoot that day. I can’t take that personally. I love it when I’m booked for a shoot because people feel I’m going to be a perfect part of their vision. That’s what I love about the book. Ellen had her vision and I was happy to make it happen. It’s about everybody working togther towards this dream.
MDC: Omahyra that is one of the best descriptions of modeling I’ve ever heard .
OM: Thanks. It’s true. It’s why I love modeling and acting so much!