By Phenomgirl / July 29, 20218
"You'll never be crowned if you always back down."
"Time is the wisest counselor."
II-Kaya Ises is definitely in control of her empire. Although crowned Miss Caricom Queen 2015, the Trinidadian native wears her own crown that's made up of her natural, glorious, long flowing locks that's sometimes styled in an enormous lop-sided bun that sits on top of Kaya's head to showcase her stunning looks.
But don't be fooled, as we spoke via phone, the soft spoken model sternly expresses what her goals are. One of them is to inspire her followers and others with messages of motivation layered in her instagram posts. Hard lessons learned from her past in the modeling world has made her gained awareness of her true self. Another goal, as a Rastafarian, II-Kaya is dedicated to staying true to her faith and not compromise her values while showcasing her natural beauty.
In addition to being a favorite muse for photographers cameras and creative artists throughout social media, her unique looks have graced magazines feature pages and represented brands such as Blessed Botanicals, Cooyah, Bcicexotics, Tiffany Locs, Khan Makeup, Safari Tribe, Mellow Fellow Wraps, just to name a few. Kaya's on a spirited guided path to become not only the first Rasta model, but also to represent the Rastafarian religion in a positive and respectful manner. With her charm, beauty, determination, and tunnel vision focus, Empress is on course to conquer the modeling world one kingdom at a time.
What’s your birth name and nationality?
First, I was born and raised in Trinidad. However, in terms of nationality, I would always recognize Ithiopia (Ethiopia), Alkebulan (Africa) as home. I don't proclaim allegiance to any other nation but the sovereign land of I and I King, Emperor Haile Selassie I. Rastafari is I birth and rebirth on earth and therefore II-Kaya Ises is the only name I carry from iration (creation).
When and why did you move to the United States?
I came to the United States approximately 12 years ago with a goal to further I education.
How did you started modeling? Was it something you aspired to do?
Ten years ago if you asked I if I would like to be interested in modeling I would probably say no. I never envisioned this part of I journey. The burning desire to live with a purpose is a major reason for I modeling. I love for art, motivating, inspiring and empowering is the fuel.
What was your first professional gig as a model?
Wow, I really can't remember.
"There's always room to be a better person. Always."
When did you start growing your dreads?
This is not something I have kept a timeline of. I locs have always been I crown even when unseen. I natty from iration (creation). Growing I natty is like breathing. I don't count the breaths I take. I just journey.
When and why did you embrace the Rastafarian culture?
Rastafari is inherent in I and I irits (spirits). There are things that are just known on a deep level and for I, Rastafari has always been I calling from I can remember. I was inspired in I earth teens through reggae music and the exemplary rastas I encountered while growing up.
What does being a Rasta means to you?
To I, being Rasta is about recognizing that I am a child of the ivine (divine) Father & Mother; Haile Selassie I and Menen Asfaw. Following the example set by the Most High King & Queen. To live clean, with a pure heart. To promote life over death and to be a positive light in the world. It means complete bliss; most important, it was the best decision I have ever made.
If anyone follows you on social media they can see that you visibly have a deep and spiritual relationship with cannabis. Why not hide that side of you, or is it imperative to reveal your true self?
Cannabis is a natural plant created by Jah to feed and heal the nations. It is a spiritual, physical and mental medication that provides unlimited benefits to those who utilize the powers and don't abuse the herb. There is no reason to hide such a blessed, life sustaining force. I will always show I and I truth as Rastafari; though it may be an offense, it is not a sin.
"Smoke weed live longer."
Do you travel a lot?
Not as much as I would like to but I am thankful for every opportunity.
What's your favorite place to travel?
Currently, my home in the diaspora Trinidad and Tobago.
What do you hate and love about modeling?
I try not to use the word hate. What I dislike about modeling has to do with the modeling industry standard of beauty. What I love most is being blessed to manifest works that are able to inspire I audience visually.
Why is it so important for you not to compromise your values in your profession?
It is said that, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." There is no compromising the values of Rastafari livity because one can not walk with Jah and hold hands with the devil.
What will you absolutely not do if asked for your profession?
I will never cut my locs.
What’s your hair care regime. Do you need help handling all that beautiful hair?
I hair regime is simple.
I use natural herbs and aloe vera of course with black castor oil or organic coconut oil. I don't use any animal product or anything with animal testing. I keep it simple. I keep the regime of promoting life.
What’s the one beauty product you cannot live without?
I need to have aloe vera at all times. Even when I am traveling, I put a leaf in my luggage.
How would you describe your style?
I don't have a style, I have a livity (way of life). Natural is the best way to describe who I am.
Who's your favorite musical artist/s?
I love music! It is difficult to choose a favorite artist but some who have inspired I on this journey are Buju Banton, Bob Marley, Jacob Miller, Vaughn Benjamin (Midnite/Akae Beka), Batch, Sade, I-Wayne, the Abyssinians and surely more than that.
"How do you be different?
By being your true self.
There's only one you.
Your postings on social media are always motivational/inspiring. Why is this important to you?
It is imperative to do good and spread good vibes. As a public figure, I duty is to be a positive example. I want to give as much good into the world as I possibly can.
Who inspires you?
Rastafari, my family and Alkebulan ancestors.
Your 2018 Calendar is titled Satta Amassagana. How did it come about and what does the title mean?
Satta Amassagana means to give thanks. I try to dwell in a place of humble gratitude always and I wanted to fullcourage (encourage) others to do the same. Life has many challenges, but I feel that thankfulness invites positivity into our lives.
What do we expect to see in this calendar?
Inside the calendar, people will see the works of numerous artists who honored I as their muse. Coupled with motivational quotes and many crucial dates related primarily to Rastafari, Ethiopia and Africa. Including ancient Kemetic (Egyptian) months and seasons, birth dates of important figures, days of Ilahbration (celebration), dates of independence and more. The intention is to educate and inspire while providing visual art to decorate one's space.
Will you do another calendar for 2019?
Yes, it's anticipated.
In the next 5 years, what do you think you'll be doing?
I can say so much but I would like to say this much; I live each day as it comes.
I help those that I can in whatever way I am possibly able.
I pray that I will be able to travel more and help build up communities that are lacking essential resources and get I business up and running mightily.
There's much more in store but the goal is to protect I vision. Talk less, Act more.