Ayana Dinha, Editor-In-Chief S.H.E magazine
I usually don’t model for the magazine anymore, but I went ahead and bit the bullet for my feature. Hello everyone! -Ayana
Shot on location, Golden Beach, Miami, FL.
Hello S.H.E Ladies!
As part of the gift to the S.H.E CoverGirl Contest winner, I made custom magazine covers for Liyah and the previous issues. I also had a special custom print of the contestant featured layout. You can see full-size previews in the posts here at S.H.E.
Please download at S.H.E! Thank you!
Ayana Dinha is a former top fashion model who founded S.H.E magazine, an online publication shortly after she retired from full-time modeling. Ayana has always wanted something she could build from the ground up and make a success of it. She was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia before immigrating with her family to the United States at five years old. Ayana’s parents, Ahmed and Faizah Tesfaye have successful careers in the STEM field, and her siblings are headed along the same path.
The Tesfayes didn’t approve her choice to quit college midway through her freshman year to become a full-time model. They thought she’d come to her senses once she told them she had retired from the business, but they were appalled once their daughter told them of her plans to sink most of her savings into a fashion and lifestyle magazine. Ayana is very sensitive to her parent’s feelings, but it would be hard for her to live the life they want for her when she’s always dreamed of publishing her own magazine.
Everything Ayana makes from ad revenue goes back into the magazine. If it weren’t for her best friend and fellow editor, Parminder Patel who comes from a wealthy Punjabi family, giving her money each month, Ayana would not be able to keep a roof over her head. The Tesfayes have money, but they refuse to support Ayana in what they see as foolishness. Ethiopians are very proud people, so when Ayana began working for different fashion houses scantily dressed, she brought shame on her family. Her father didn’t even speak to her for nearly a year once she dropped out of college.
Ayana’s greatest fear is that her magazine will fail and prove her parents and other family members right. When she came over to the US, Ayana dived right into American culture, particularly Black American culture, so much, so she saw it as more of her own than the Ethiopian culture she was born into. Ahmed and Faizah were distraught when they saw their middle daughter turning her nose up at their customs and ways. They didn’t approve of the American guys she brought home during high school nor most of her friends. Ayana even stopped speaking their language to her parents, breaking her mother’s heart. It’s not easy for Faizah to talk to her daughter, she doesn’t get why Ayana can’t be like her sister, Fana and do what is expected of her. Faizah suffered immensely to get to where she is today and never wanted her daughters to go through what she did before she left home. Now that Ayana is throwing her life away, it’s a slap to her face for all of her hard work.
One thing Ayana has always had a talent for was getting men to fall at her feet. She learned from an early age how easy it was for boys to men to throw themselves at her and do just about anything to please her. She desires to have true love in her life, but she is never sure if a man is dating her purely based on what is on the outside. More than one gentlemen of means have offered to give her magazine the exposure it desperately needs. Ayana’s beauty is her asset, but it is also a hindrance in many ways because men find out that she’s in great need of help, help only they can give her, so they use it as a possible opportunity to bed her. However, Ayana’s beauty could be the only card she has to play. If she sacrificed her integrity, how could she look at herself in the mirror each day? Would the ends justify the means if it meant getting what she wanted; fame and success?
Ayana considers herself to be a classic model and she prefers the tried and true institutions and platforms of high fashion. Now, every Instagram girl claims to be a model. Ayana could not be more disgusted with the barrage of IG models, the ones with silicone butt implants, filtered pictures and several pounds of makeup. Whatever happened to real and natural beauty? Not only are the social media girls’ platforms getting larger by the day, but designers are also now flocking to many of them to wear their clothes or sign a branding deal with them. S.H.E and Ayana’s personal Instagram doesn’t even have as many followers as many of the “models” that are getting exposure and attention Ayana feels her magazine should be getting. She gets it, most of the people who follow those girls, are young everyday round-the-way girls, who believe with weave, ass shots, and good Facetune, they too could get millions of followers and get paid by companies eager to endorse them. Their looks and “beauty” isn’t anything special nor is it natural. Ayana was blessed with exquisite natural beauty that millions of women and girls pay thousands of dollars for. She embraces her looks and knows many women covet her features, so she doesn’t feel guilty for making money off her own vanity and allowing her to step into spaces most people could only dream about.
Every day it’s a struggle for S.H.E as Ayana fights for designers to send over their creations for a review, getting companies to advertise on the website, and fighting with Parminder about the content they should be showcasing. Parminder knows that Ayana needs to get her head out of the clouds; thinking S.H.E will be on the same level as Vogue or ELLE. If Ayana wants to get more viewership, she is going to have to market to the online social media crowd, no matter how much it pains her to do so. Ayana has a lot of pride and doesn’t want to sully her brand with the IG aesthetic, but her tunnel vision only allows her to focus on the more low brow side of social media modeling.
As an idealistic person and purist, Ayana’s methods are not cutting it in the cutthroat world of fashion publishing. She could barely deal with the backstabbing when she was a model. Usually, she has been the type to stick her head in the ground when she didn’t want to deal with something or give up when the fight got too tough. Ayana refuses to give up her dream, but if she doesn’t start getting in the game, making the right connections with the power players that can get her what she needs, Ayana will inevitably fail, and her family would look at her as the disappointment they believe she is.
One thing is for sure, if Ayana is unwilling to put her game face on and make changes to take S.H.E to the next level, she’ll pass on her one chance at success and lose the game. A lot of other players are more skilled than her, and they are willing to do whatever it takes, no matter what; something she may not be cut out for. As Ayana will soon begin to discover as her ambitious drive grows, she could be capable of almost anything to get what she wants. The world is waiting to see if Ayana can step up and survive the game of power.
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