Sasha Shantel looks like a model but beneath the surface, she's more entrepreneur than paramour. The London-born and raised starlet keeps a nine-to-five while writing and editing several magazines, including her own.
In addition to that,she's building a buzz around her brand as a model with sponsorships from Baby Phat and Apple Bottoms UK. She has appeared in several music videos and has more in the works. Having recently launched SashaShantelUK.com, Sasha is well on her way to making herself into a brand.
DX caught up with the British starlet over Skype because her ever-hectic schedule and time difference made it difficult to get in touch any other way. Naturally, during the interview, Sasha was also meeting with her manager.
Beauty & Brains: Reading your bio, I get the sense you're very accomplished and yet you are very young. Can you talk about some of your magazine ventures? One, I understand, is with your mom? How does that work?
Sasha Shantel: That's right, one is with my mom. Magazines have been a major part of my life for a very long time. I began writing for a local magazine and became their gossip and entertainment editor, a position that for more than six years. I then moved away from writing but came back to it when I started writing my blog. I didn't want it to be all about me, so I decided to make it into a space dedicated to promoting positive people who are striving to be the best in their field. From there, I decided one day just to start a magazine. There was no planning, no real reason for it apart from the fact that I love writing. It has developed into something much bigger than I could have ever imagined and it is currently in its eighth edition. In-spireLS, which stands for Lifestyles, is a magazine dedicated to promoting positivity. My mum and I are the editors. I also have U.S.-based writers who contribute.
Beauty & Brains: That's not the only magazine you're working on, though, correct?
Sasha Shantel: I am also the editor of another UK magazine called Inbox Magazine. It's a men's lifestyle magazine although it is much more than just a typical men's magazine. There are articles on all sides of a men's life, from career to entertainment to women, of course.
Beauty & Brains: Writing and editing is consuming work. How do you manage your time? How do you model and edit magazines?
Sasha Shantel: I have a great manager who helps me organize everything. I also have a great team of writers - 16 of them, in fact. They are based all over the UK and in the U.S. My mom helps with a great deal of the work I have to do, too. I write for a fashion blog and am starting a business with my mom. It's a lot to deal with and I put in the late nights. Madly enough, I also work in a very stressful nine-to-five that funds my projects. It's nothing that I can't handle because I believe in myself and my abilities. Being tired everyday but being fulfilled is what I strive for.
Beauty & Brains: Who are some of your role models or people in the industry that you look up to?
Sasha Shantel: There are a number of people that I admire and am inspired by, in fact my magazine features some of these people. I call them my #supermen and my #wonderwomen. Among them are UK models Saffi Karina, Sashia Summers, presenters Miranda Loy and Donatella. All my amazing supermen such as DJ James, DJ Slick, DJ Longers, RawDeejay and the fastest man on the world - Usain Bolt. My magazine has some of the best talents in the UK and U.S. I am inspired equally by them all.
Beauty & Brains: Tell me more about this affinity for deejays and your passion for music.
Sasha Shantel: I love my deejays! I have appeared in videos for a couple of underground artists and they were fun. I would love to do more, but I would need to be the lead. I have a video that I will be appearing in soon for one of the artists that is featured in my magazine. I would love to work with artists across the UK and in the U.S. Things are moving progressively and I feel it is only a matter time before I get to work with mainstream artists too.
Beauty & Brains: Let's talk these sponsorships you have with Baby Phat and Apple Bottoms. How did you secure these?
Sasha Shantel: My management Pink 'n Black Entertainment created a wicked press kit that listed all of my accomplishments to date in modeling and writing. The kit went to UK distributors of both brands and we connected with them. After seeing my photos, they decided to work with me. Baby Phat provide all clothing for my photo and video shoots. I am also sponsored by hair company Sleek, which makes weaves and wigs. My manager and I attended a casting with them and left with hair sponsorship, which was a very good look. I am very proud to be working with all of these great brands.
Beauty & Brains: What are your thoughts on your countrywoman Naomi Campbell? She was compared to a candy bar in a commercial and didn't take too kindly to that.
Sasha Shantel: I think that Naomi [Campbell] is given a hard time, all the time. So many other models have been embroiled in scandal but they don't get the same treatment in the media that she does. She really doesn't need to answer anyone. By getting into it with the media, she is only adding fuel to the fire. Ignore something - it will soon die down. I live by that.
Beauty & Brains: You won a beauty contest, from what I understand. How exciting was that and did it help launch your career?
Sasha Shantel: Miss Flavour 2008 was a beauty contest that I won. It's run by Flavour magazine here in the U.K, an urban lifestyle magazine. The competition was a great opportunity for me to get into the industry and from that opportunity things have got better and better. I am still actively associated with the magazines.
Beauty & Brains: What's your vision for the next five years? What do you want to do?
Sasha Shantel: I see all of my ventures under one roof in a media business empire that includes my modeling, magazines and all of my other ventures. I see myself as self-sufficient and not working for anyone. I am determined to make all of my dreams a reality.
For more information on Sasha Shantel, visit her Facebook page.