Updated: Feb 7
A few weeks ago, we had a conversation with Author, Model, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist, Donvinnie Boykin.
Originally from Humboldt, TN, Donvinnie discovered his love of the fashion industry while attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. After his first photoshoot, he then transferred to Bauder College of Fashion and Design in Atlanta, GA where he majored in Fashion Merchandising.
Mr. Boykin was signed with Ralph Lauren as a fashion model and has also produced several fashion shows.
Donvinnie shares his experience as a Ralph Lauren model:
“That was an amazing experience! At the time, I was in college, and I was around nineteen or twenty. I went to the audition. I didn’t know what to expect. When I went in, the Casting Directors asked me to walk. I walked how I normally walk. I didn’t know if it was how professional models walked. All I remember is the eyes staring at me. I could feel the judgment. Like, they were ripping me apart in their heads. I walked out after my audition, but then I was called back in by the Casting Directors who said they wanted “Donnie back in the room.” The Casting Directors told me they liked how I looked, my smile and my presence. I traveled overseas to Europe and modeled in Europe Fashion Week. I remember my closet overflowing with clothes. Having a lot of clothes is an aspect of being a model. My experience as a model was where my creativity flourished. It happened when I was on set. The Creative Director would give directions to the models about how to move or the concepts for photoshoots. My experience with Ralph Lauren helped get me into fashion show production and being a Creative Director."
= Donvinnie Boykin
Donvinnie also spoke about his project Beyond The Mask which is a men’s empowerment campaign to empower men to take off their masks and see who they truly are. Not only physically, but also emotionally.
Lastly, he shared with us about the book he released in December 2020 titled The R.E.V.E.A.L. The Year Without My Dad ( Realizations, Emotions, Vulnerability, Alienated, Enraged and Loved ) is about coping with the year without his dad who died back in 2019, and how throughout the year, Donvinnie wore a mask because he did not want people to see a successful black man, in the industry, not wanting to miss out on any opportunities.
He goes on to talk about how in the African-American culture - specifically -
“African-American men are taught at an early age not to be vulnerable or show emotion when it comes to how we’re feeling.”
- Donvinnie Boykin
Donnvinnie's hope for his book is to show people they can do anything.
You can purchase a copy of his book on both Amazon and his website.
His advice for someone wanting to start a career in the fashion industry is to "be humble, have tough skin, and have a solid foundation."
Check out the video below to view the remainder of our conversation.