Former Florida A&M student Mya Thompkins left school after one year to pursue her dream of becoming a supermodel.
Thompkins started her college career as a journalism major last fall. She said she looked up to public figures like Oprah Winfrey and chose to follow in her footsteps to become an international benefactor.
“I wanted it to also lead to me becoming a philanthropist, and help out my community in any way I could,” she said.
Growing up in Miami gave her the heart to make a change in her community. While attending Miami Killian Senior High School, the teenager decided FAMU was the choice for her.
“I didn’t only chose the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University because it’s the best HBCU in the world. I chose it because by the time 2022 came, I knew I’d be reborn again and birthed from greatness. “
However, the pressures of being a full-time student took a toll on her. Thompkins wasn’t completely comfortable with being away from family and putting her dreams of becoming a model on standstill.
Since age 12, she had dreams of becoming a model. Her teen years mainly consisted of runway modeling, photography and videography.
During her freshman year of college, Thompkins made the bravest and riskiest decision of her life. She chose to stride into her promising future. She realized she didn’t have to put her modeling dreams on hold.She took a semester off, returned to Miami and enrolled at Miami-Dade College. While being surrounded by family in a major fashion city, she knew she had made the right decision.
Within a semester of her withdrawal from FAMU, the model strutted herself right into a New York Fashion Week runway. She received an all-expenses paid trip to walk at NYFW through a casting call. The winner was chosen out of 16 other candidates.
In September Thompkins “struck a pose” and proved modeling was her destiny. She also met a photographer/videographer who took her under his wing.
“”He always says, ‘You belong in the next generation of models.’ And I know I do,” she said.
Thompkins made her dreams turn to reality, something that everyone aspires to do.
Tony Wintour, a social work major at FAMU and an aspiring model from Miami, believes faith is necessary to reach your goals. He met Thompkins the summer of 2018. He was one of the trainers for fashion cluster, a two-month-long modeling boot camp. As the male trainer of a popular modeling organization at FAMU, FACES Modeling Troupe, Wintour doesn’t agree with leaving FAMU to pursue a passion.
“I encourage all black students to pursue their education at an HBCU,” he said. “The love, light and knowledge this university brings you is unmatched.”
While he doesn’t agree with Thompkins’ decision, he does believe if something is for you, it is destined.
“If being a world famous model is part of one’s destiny, it will be regardless of how long or when it is done. That’s where faith kicks in,” he said.
Faith is indeed all Thompkins needed to get her 6-inch heels wet in the fashion industry. On the last night of her stay in New York, she met a couple models who were signed to agencies. Attending NYFW helped her network and create a name for herself.
“I think it was the right decision for her to make,” said Quintin Guillaume, a former j-school public relations student from Port St. Lucie, said. “I’m glad she made it earlier.”
Guillaume also met Thompkins during fashion cluster where he mentored her. He withdrew from FAMU the summer going into his sophomore year. While at FAMU, Guillaume developed a passion for photography and modeling. He even joined Images Modeling Troupe, another student organization.
He left FAMU to return home and enroll at Indian River State College. He believes modeling is an escape route that allows one to express themselves through art.
Tompkins said her time at FAMU made her stronger than what she thought she could ever be. She gained a sense of independence and social skills.
“I came out of a shell and blossomed,” she said.
Thompkins is determined to finish her schooling at Miami-Dade College, all while furthering her skills as a model. She was also chosen to be mentored by a well-known model, whose name she said she couldn’t disclose. During her mentorship she will attend a celebrities modeling school, all while perfecting her craft.
“There’s nothing wrong with chasing your dreams and making them reality,” Thompkins said.