You may recognize her as the girl from the Alex and Ani ad, the fierce beauty on her blog shafiawest.com, or your favorite trend-setting stylist. We recently sat down with the San Diego-based model Shafia West to discuss her success, her career aspirations, and her thoughts on this season's fashion must-haves. One thing's for sure, Shafia West is making waves and not just at the beach.
West began her modeling career at the age of 19, modeling for two years for an agency in Miami before leaving to pursue an opportunity with Summit Series, an entrepreneurial company that seeks to unite the leaders of today and tomorrow in surreal settings with immersive experiences designed to catalyze positive personal and collective growth. A couple years later, West moved to Boston, where she worked part-time as a stylist. As her styling career started to slow down a bit, she decided to pick up modeling again. She always dreamed of moving out to California and this summer she finally did with her husband Ryan, who is the photographer behind most of the photographs on her blog.
Since moving to San Diego, West's modeling career has gained momentum. She has had the opportunity to work with Apple Music, Ouintsoul Swimwear, and Styles for Less, to name a few. Her favorite shoot has been modeling for the photographer Dana Neibert at Jeff Goldstein's house in Beverly Hills. West recalls being super excited for the shoot since iconic movies have been shot there such as The Big Lebowski and Charlie's Angels. Although West has gotten to work with great photographers in the industry, she says it would be her dream to someday get photographed by Russell James, the mastermind behind the Victoria's Secret photo shoots.
Traveling, exposure to various cultures, social media and top fashion magazines such as Vogue and Elle have created the backdrop for West's inspiring style. With style icons such as Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Audrey Hepburn and Chiara Ferragni, West knows how to strike a classy and edgy balance that is absolutely eye-catching.
Before she began styling professionally, West was styling in her free time as a young girl. She reminisces on how her friends used to come over to her house and ask her what to wear, saying that it was these experiences in which her passion for styling developed. Since then, West has gone on to style some high-profile clients throughout the U.S. West admits that it is the clients who are full of energy and open to new ideas that make her lover her job. She would love to start styling again in San Diego, and perhaps someday own a boutique, so be on the lookout!
Reflecting on her modeling career, she admits it is challenging always being on call: "One minute you're sitting at lunch with your girlfriends and the next you are hopping in a cab and headed to the airport to go work a job you just booked an hour ago!" But while some might shy away from the constant uncertainty, West embraces the lifestyle with a sense of poise and confidence that can only be gained from time in the industry. When asked what advice she would give to aspiring models, she says, "Sometimes this industry can get the best of you. You have to stay focused and be true to who you are."
West remains focused by taking care of herself as her career demands, which means eating healthy; working out regularly; and getting facials, waxes, and mani-pedicures. West's weekly workout schedule consists of going to the gym four to five times for 45 minutes, going on a long hike, and taking hot yoga classes once or twice a week. One of her diet secrets? "Drink lots of water and juice once a day!"
Whether it be from following her dieting secrets, getting inspiration from her blog and Instagram, or following her throughout the world of fashion, West is definitely someone to keep an eye on. West has lived her career recognizing that "sometimes you just have to go where the wind takes you." One thing's for sure, she has got heads turning, and they're all looking West. When she's not out modeling in L.A. or styling in San Diego, she's working on her well-known style blog. Check out more of Shafia West on her Instagram @shafiawest and Twitter @shafiawest.
Behind the Lens
Ryan West is the man behind most of Shafia West's stunning photos. As soon as she started blogging, he had a reason to get back into photography again. Ryan West first became interested in photography as a kid, inspired by a lot of his grandfather's work. Since then he hasn't been able to put the camera down. He has been collecting vintage cameras for a while; and in the last couple of years, he has got his hands on some professional grade equipment. Ryan West enjoys shooting lifestyle and fashion photography the most, but he has a talent for landscape photography as well. With Ryan behind the lens and Shafia in front of it, make sure to stay on the look out for this power couple.
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