Kyla Coleman: "A lot of people are scared of breaking down boundaries"

Rihanna quizzes the winner of America's Next Top Model.

by i-D Staff
20 January 2020, 6:00am

This story originally appeared in i-D's 'Rihannazine' Special Edition, no. 01, 2020. Order your copy here. For this one-off project, Rihanna put a series of questions to the women shaping culture today, and invited them to share their visions for 2020.

Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Kyla Coleman, and I’m a model. Or, at least, that’s what I do for money!

How’s that?
I love it! I wouldn’t have travelled as much as I have if it weren’t for modelling, and most of my friends now are people I met through the industry in some way. And just helping create someone else’s vision, and create someone’s art, feels amazing. Not that many people can say they do that for a job.

What do you think your biggest personal or professional success has been so far?
I know it's going to sound extremely cliché, but I feel like my biggest success has just been learning about myself.

What would you describe as your biggest failure?
I feel like I fail a lot. I don’t think I necessarily call it failure myself, though, because everything’s a lesson learned. I’m a model, so about five times a day I get told “no”. I’ve been in failed relationships, I’ve quit jobs, I’ve done things that weren’t the best for me. But it’s a lesson learned. Call it a ‘backwards success’ rather than a failure.

As we’re heading into 2020, what are you taking with you into this year, and what are you leaving behind in 2019?
Every year, I think, “This is my year!” But I do really feel like 2020 is my year. What I’m going to take with me is my heart. My heart is so pure and so soft, and it’s been through some shit, man, but I’ve tried not to let the world make me into this hard, tough girl. I’m just the biggest baby ever.

If you could ask Rihanna one question, what would it be?
I feel like as a woman of colour coming up at the time she did, I’m interested in knowing how she stayed so true to herself. And not only stay true, but she paved the way for a lot of people, and I want to know how she did that.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to her, that isn’t a question?
I would say thank you. Thank you for showing women, and women of colour, that they can be a boss and have their own brand. And thank you for creating a space for women with all different kinds of bodies, and of all races, and of all shapes and sizes. A lot of people are scared of breaking down that boundary, but she’s doing it.


Photography Mario Sorrenti
Styling Alastair McKimm

Hair Duffy at Streeters.
Make-up Kanako Takase at Streeters.
Nail technician Alicia Torello at The Wall Group using Chanel.
Set design Jack Flanagan at The Wall Group.
Colourist Lena Ott for Suite Caroline.
Lighting technician Lars Beaulieu.
Photography assistance Kotaro Kawashima, Javier Villegas and Jared Zagha.
Digital technician Johnny Vicari.
Styling assistance Madison Matusich and Milton Dixon.
Hair assistance Lukas Tralmer, Juli Akaneya and Allie J.
Make-up assistance Kuma and Tomoyo Shionome.
Set design assistance Colin Walker and Joe Arai.
Production Katie Fash.
Production coordinator Layla Némejanski.
Production assistance Fujio Emura.
Casting director Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING.
Casting assistance Cicek Brown for DMCASTING.
Model Kyla Coleman at The Society.

Lede image Kyla wears bra and briefs Savage x Fenty.

Mario Sorrenti
kyla coleman