Just when you thought Florida A&M University couldn’t continue to be the hot topic after all that happened during homecoming, brace yourself: a FAMU student’s work is featured on the front page of the Nike SNKRS app.
Christina Stapleton, a senior criminal justice major, who didn’t expect her photographs to land her a collaboration with Nike. Stapleton’s boyfriend, who is also a photographer and goes by the business name StretchLife Visuals, works for FAMU’s athletics department and was asked by one of the staff members if he knew of any female photographers for Nike to work with. He gave Stapleton’s contact information to the staff member and, just like that, she was on a call with Nike.
“I think Nike chose to feature FAMU’s homecoming because they already have a partnership with FAMU,” she said. “I don’t remember the entire reason because I was so excited. The first half of the meeting I was like, ‘Oh my gosh I can’t believe I’m on a Zoom call with Nike right now. Is this real?’ I missed the first half because I was astonished and didn’t want to say anything wrong because I didn’t want to lose the deal.”
After receiving the assignment from Nike, Stapleton had to get her shots within 48 hours. She posted the list of shoes Nike wanted featured to her personal and business Instagram stories asking for any students who would like the chance of being on the app. As a Marching 100 band member, Stapleton made sure to extend the opportunity to her bandmates too.
“Of course, any sneakerhead that shops on the Nike SNKRS app would love to be featured on the app so pretty much all the sneakerheads at FAMU hit me up afterwards,” she said. “I put it in the band chat too because sometimes I feel like people in the Marching 100 don’t always get extended opportunities to do things so I wanted to make sure one of my first families at FAMU was taken care of.”
Out of all the 25 shots Stapleton captured, Nike chose the first picture of the feature to be of a Marching 100 band member, junior Lawrence Goss, holding his sousaphone.
“It was really a crazy feeling,” Goss said. “I knew I had a good chance of making it because she told me the Nike representative that she talked to loves the band, which is what inspired those pictures. When I actually saw it, I was super overjoyed. First thing I did was call my sister and a couple of my friends so they could see as well.”
Goss wore the Nike Rubber Dunk x Off-White ‘Green Strike’ sneakers.
Stapleton photographed students standing in front of the new Rattler statue, near the Set, by the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, and even on the Quad near the Eternal Flame. Nike included all the students’ names, their Instagram names and the specific type of sneaker being worn in the bottom left corner of each shot.
“It felt pretty dope seeing my picture on a national platform,” senior accounting student Christian Miley said.
Miley wore the Nike Dunk High ‘Championship Navy’ sneakers.
Stapleton’s love for photography traces back to middle school when capturing the “beauty of nature,” as she recalled. It was something she found that she enjoyed.
“I was always that friend growing up taking pictures of people,” she said. “They would say, ‘Hey Christina, you always know how to make me look good. Take my picture.’ It was once I came to college that I started my business. A couple of photographers were giving me the push by saying there needs to be more female photographers and that I have a natural eye. So, everything has blossomed ever since.”
One of Stapleton’s dreams is to be a photographer at the Olympics capturing shots of gymnasts. She has always admired gymnastics. The next brand she can see herself working with would be a cooking show or restaurant as she already has a food page where she takes pictures of various dishes.
“This is honestly a fun job that doesn’t feel like a job half of the time because I’m doing what I love,” she said. “I love seeing people smile and happy with their results. Everyone wants to feel and look like a celebrity. I feel like I’m able to make people feel that way through photography.”
You can find Stapleton’s work on her photography Instagram page @shotsbystapleton and her website is www.shotsbystapleton.com for more information regarding her business.