Shaye Davis may be balancing a budding modeling career with studying film and TV at Tisch School of the Arts, but she is surprisingly relaxed about it all. Sitting in the Think Coffee on Mercer Street, and she wears a T-shirt, navy blue coat and Vans, comfortable choices for a packed day of classes and work.
Davis, now a junior, started modeling during her first year at NYU. She had considered it for most of her life because of her height, but could not work it into her schedule before college. She eventually started exploring this interest through the networking website Model Mayhem, which helped her meet people and book test shoots to build her portfolio. Davis spent spring break of 2016 going to open calls, ultimately signing with BMG New York in April.
As a film major, Davis says her favorite part of modeling is the collaboration with photographers.
“I really appreciate it more as an art form,” Davis said. “I see it like singing or dancing; it’s a skill and you’re bringing something to the table.” She also enjoys seeing the finished product. For her, the job’s biggest challenge is maintaining confidence, due to the constant rejection and focus on physical attributes.
Davis would like to see more positivity in the fashion industry in general; she hopes designers will start emphasizing health over thinness. Legislative measures in other countries have promoted this, but she thinks responsibility ultimately falls on the designer’s casting.
Trying not restrict her activities to class and modeling, Davis in fact holds four additional jobs. She interns for Teen Nick at Viacom, is a campus representative for Vans and is a part of Fusion Film Festival, which promotes women in film, television and the media. After our interview, she is headed to her work study job at NYU TV.
Obviously, these obligations leave little free time for the student-model. She balances everything through careful time management, squeezing opportunities and obligations wherever they fit.
“Yesterday I went to a casting during my lunch break on my internship,” Davis said. “I didn’t tell anybody I was going and just went. Thankfully, nobody noticed I was gone a little longer than usual.”
Davis also prioritizes her commitments depending on the time of year: she dedicates significant time to modeling in the summer, but focuses more on film when classes are in session. While she enjoys being a model, she is not sure if she sees herself doing this long term. Earning a film degree always remains her top priority. Ultimately, Davis wants to work in late night television like Fred Armisen; she mentioned “Saturday Night Live” in general as well as Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers as some of her career aspirations.
A rising model with intelligence and artistic interests, Davis is certainly one to watch. Whether it is Fashion Week, a successful career in television or something else altogether, she has promising talent and a strong work ethic that will lead her to fascinating opportunities.