Images by Nelson Castillo
Above image clothing credit: Natasha Zinko, Green feather dress from ODDS, Miami Design District
She is the original badass of fashion, walking for designers such as Tom Ford, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Vivienne Westwood. Many might recall first seeing Omahyra in Jay Z’s hit “Change Clothes” alongside Naomi Campbell.
Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in NYC since age 10, model Omahyra now lives and works on her art in Miami. She is a humanitarian with a passion to give back to the world, enriching the culture through words and visual art. We caught up with her recently for an exclusive BlackBook interview, which also included this provocative shoot by photographer Nelson Castillo. During our conversation, we got inside the mind of the runway icon, painter and veteran of such movies as X-Men: Last Stand and After the Sunset—we were not disappointed.
Accessories credits: APM Monaco Jewelry, Balenciaga Shoes
During Art Basel you were part of the Levi Haus Miami, where guests were able to interact with you and create unique pieces. One of the sayings/options to be transferred to pieces was “OMG Omahyra Inspire The Future.” Can you please tell us where the phrase originated from and what it means?
There are layers to it. O.M.G. are my initials: Omahyra Mota Garcia, and it’s what I’ll be using as my artist name—but it also references my love of and belief in God. So the phrase “O.M.G. Omahyra inspire the future” is actually “OH MY GOD OMAHYRA INSPIRE THE FUTURE.” This was something my best friend Leo Velasquez would say to me. He loves kids and his goal in life was to always be doing something that would inspire the kids coming up behind him. He was just there pushing everybody to reach for their dreams. For me this moment was exactly that.
And Levis was a supportive partner for you?
I have always dreamt of being looked as an artist or creative director, working with a brand like Levis. They gave me this opportunity to achieve a dream of mine, to show a part of myself that I always kept private. So that phrase is me introducing myself as the artist that I am, while paying tribute to my best friend and someone I miss dearly. I pray to inspire the future the same way Leo did.
Your work is vibrant, with use of neon colors, at times, reminiscent of a mandala, geometric shapes, cosmic, as if you were painting frequency or sound. How do you approach your surfaces before you begin the process of painting and what is your favorite medium to work with?
When approaching surfaces, I always begin with feeling and interacting with the surface, feeling the texture on it, envisioning my lines and where they should go. My favorite medium to work on is acrylic on canvas. I love the freedom, it allows me to just paint as I go. I never pre-plan or sketch what I’m painting. I just paint what I feel and canvas and acrylic allows me to add depth and layers and the ability to just go with the flow of energy and frequency about me. Thank God for that!
Clothing credits: Fendi Top, Alexander Wang Pants, Boxers & Cycling Shorts
You recently deleted your grid on Instagram. What was the catalyst for this? Can you tell us why you left just one image from 2016 and what that photograph represents to you?
My Instagram grid was full of my past work, life, etc. I never really shared my passion with the world before so I wanted to start new and fresh, especially with me working toward my debut art show. The photo of me on my Instagram was a selfie in the mirror, which to me represents what I want to show the world. I want you to see a reflection of me, given to the world through my lens. The world has always seen me through the lens of someone else.
You have developed some unique and spectacular works of art. How do people access them? Where does your art live?
My work currently lives in my house. I’ve always painted for myself and my passion. I never shared any of this with the world but I believe now is the time. I’m working on my debut solo show, and from that point forward, my website will launch and you will be able to access everything through there.
Clothing credits: Staud Dress
Turning to fashion and your history on the runway, are there any designers you would want to walk for today? We’ve seen you pop up in Raul Lopez’s Insta stories, for example. Will we see you walking down the runway for Luar?
I’ve been in this state of transcendence and transformation. The only runways you will possibly see me on are those of my friends. Raul is a friend of mine, but we haven’t discussed walking in his show. If he asks, I would definitely consider it. But I’m more at the stage where I want people to see me for my other talents and passions. For instance, I created my own clothes as a child and I want to get back into that. Just giving people a piece of me through different interests I have.
Do you have any daily rituals?
My rituals mostly center around prayer and searching for God ‘s presence while making sure that my kids have everything they need.
What things are still a mystery to you?
God’s physical image! That, and why do the best people leave us so early?
Model- Omahyra Mota @omahyramotaofficial
Photographer- Nelson N. Castillo @nelsonncastillo
Creative Director & Producer- Bianca Carosio @biancacarosio
Stylist- Mariela Ortega @bymo___
Makeup Artist- Autumn Suna using Chanel makeup & La Mer skincare @autumn_suna
Location- Maps Production House