Instagram star Richie Shazam is making waves in the NYC modeling scene by defying gender labels and simply being as fabulous and free as possible. When she’s not serving looks on the runway, you can catch her strutting around Manhattan; and we followed her around a bit to bask in her flirty, infectious glow.
Name: Richie Shazam
Occupation: Curator / Model / Renaissance Woman
Who I Am:
A downtown multi-hyphenate individual who truly defies categorization.
I want to use my platform to show these queer kids of color that we’re out here – that we exist and that we have the right to exist and take up as much space as anyone else. Your pain is our pain, your struggle is our struggle, and I feel you. You don’t have to do this shit alone; I’m here for you.
My rebelliousness is going against the order of what people expect. I felt contained growing up, that I didn’t have room to express myself the way I wanted to and felt trapped. Now, I’m in a different place in my life and able to recognize the beauty and the fun of truly expressing myself in the way I want, when I want. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that gender is a spectrum, and my gender identity has been an evolution. Taking ownership of derogatory terminology, especially within the communities I grew up in, has completely empowered me. I wear the term “faggot” on my chest.
What I Believe In:
There was absolutely no representation for me growing up. I didn’t see any images of queer people on screen, and even rarer were any images of queer people of color. I want to be able to inspire young, queer brown kids, that are coming from similar tough situations, to express themselves freely and openly without judgment. [I want them to know] that there are spaces, not just in their minds or even online, but tangible spaces in the world, where they can live their lives authentically and embrace their sexual and gender identities with other people who are on their same wavelength and support them for who they are.
We’re in such a pivotal time when it comes to gender and sexuality and their fluidity. I want to show them that there is nothing shameful or wrong in owning anything and everything that makes you “different.” They need to grow up in a world that doesn’t fear and hate these differences.
I find myself on the peripheral. I hope to re-shape the definition of what is seen as beautiful and showcase myself within a wider arena. By mixing both feminine and masculine ideals of beauty, it adds to a more pluralistic stance. I want to showcase my body through movement and energy.
My queerness is my second skin and is something that I own, appreciate, and use to inspire others. The non-acceptance of my traditional-thinking family has pushed me to break boundaries in the way I present myself; accepting my idiosyncrasies, my queerness, and relation to gender.