Beauty & Brains: Felicia "Feeva" Daniel
After working with Ne-Yo, this model and business-owner speaks to HipHopDX's Beauty & Brains about her path, hiatus, and a future in film.
From videos featuring Rick Ross to a childcare center, Felicia “Feeva” Daniel is trying to find a balance. This is nothing new to the seasoned model. When she was seventeen, Daniel was already getting major magazine coverage, appearing in Teen magazine as the first African-American Teen Beauty from her state. That success in the modeling world was stalled by motherhood, but true to form, she found a way to balance being a mom with being a student and obtaining her qualifications for a childcare business.
Once her business was settled, she began to reconnect with her modeling roots. Now, she’s back on the scene, with a renewed vision and focus, a drive that has allowed her to travel with Ne-Yo and work with other artists. She recently caught up with Beauty & Brains to discuss the difficulties of balancing two sides of her life and the advice she would have for anyone trying to break into the modeling world.
Beauty & Brains: When did you get into modeling and what led you to choose that path?
Felicia Daniel: I started modeling as a teenager, although I didn’t continue. I modeled for two years and then I stopped for quite a while. I picked it back up four years ago. What led me to that path was a love for the craft. I had a knack for being in front of the camera. My uncle’s a photographer and he used to take pictures of me here or there. He used to tell me I was photogenic and that’s how it came about.
Beauty & Brains: What made you stop for a while?
Felicia Daniel: I just took a break for it. When I was younger, I was modeling for the more mainstream type of modeling, the more typical modeling. I had a child and took a break to start my family.
Beauty & Brains: We hear you’re a business owner. What type of business did you start?
Felicia Daniel: I started my own childcare business.
Beauty & Brains: Why did you choose to get into that field?
Felicia Daniel: I have a love for kids and I always have. I did some studying on early childhood education and from there I knew that’s what I wanted. So, I continued on that same path.
Beauty & Brains: What would you say has been the most difficult part of modeling in the industry?
Felicia Daniel: Just branding yourself is really difficult. There’s a lot of politics behind modeling and it’s just a lot of work in general. Balancing my business and family, it makes it very difficult to brand myself the way I would like to. That’s what took me so long to start back up after starting my family.
Beauty & Brains: Seeing what goes on in the industry and what a difficult field the modeling world can be, what advice would you give a former student of yours who comes back and asks for advice on modeling?
Felicia Daniel: I feel if you follow your heart and basically work as hard as you can, something may come out of it. I can’t say something will come out of it because sometimes, people have dreams that may not be something that’s possible. I always feel you should have a backup plan but that you should follow your heart. Follow your heart, see where it leads you but also, always have a backup plan.
Beauty & Brains: What are your goals for the next few years in life and work?
Felicia Daniel: My goal right now is to basically brand my name and see where it leads me as far as modeling but also keep a hold of my business and continue with that. The market, right now, isn’t that great, for modeling. So, as far as financially, I don’t know if that will hold me up but that’s my passion. I will continue with that, see where it leads me and I have my business as a backup plan.
Beauty & Brains: Do you have an interest to get into movies?
Felicia Daniel: I definitely have an interest in going into movies. I don’t have the resources where I am here so much, so it’s hard for me to get in the door that way. So, I figured I’d get in the door through modeling. Hopefully that carries me onto that next step. That is my ultimate goal, my ultimate dream. I know a lot of the times, it’s meshed together, nowadays, it’s meshed together, like movies and music. A lot of musicians are on the big sreen now and vice versa. You need a lot of actors for modeling gigs and models for acting gigs. It’s all meshed together now.
Beauty & Brains: I know you’ve been an extra in a 50 Cent movie. What kind of movies would you like to be in?
Felicia Daniel: I’m open to anything, really. I love comedies. I love action. I like dramatic roles. So, whether it be a dramatic comedy or a sci-fi, I just would like to be able to show my talents in a strong way, not doing something too similar to my own personality. I would rather reach out and get something far from how people normally see me.
Beauty & Brains: In life or in the industry, who are some of the people you looked up to through life?
Felicia Daniel: Um, Nia Long, Tyra Banks, I mean, a lot of different people. Those are the ones that pop into my head right now.
Beauty & Brains: What about in terms of life?
Felicia Daniel: In terms of life, I would say, on a more personal note, my aunt or my grandmother. [They inspired me] just by being supportive and allowing me to be me. A lot of people wouldn’t understand. They want you to just be doing the typical thing, as far as going to school and things like that, to pursue other avenues but they basically supported me with my modeling and stuff. They believed in me. That gave me inspiration.
Beauty & Brains: Is it hard for you to balance the two sides of your life?
Felicia Daniel: Um, it is very hard for me to balance both sides right now. I’m still in the middle of [work] because I have a few clients that weren’t on time today. So, it is extremely hard to balance. I do have a very supportive family that helps me out a lot but it’s hard. Basically, you don’t want your business to suffer because of your dreams and you don’t want your dreams to suffer because of your business. Trying to balance those things out, it goes up and down on both ends. It has to happen. If you’re paying more attention to a career as a model, you’re going to be leaving a lot so you leave your business in someone else’s hand and they might not be as good as you and the clients may not be as happy dealing with another person as they are with you. With the modeling, if I choose my business, it’s an opportunity missed and you never know what could have came out of that opportunity if you could have made it.
Beauty & Brains: But you manage to persevere. What do you think helps you continue going and fight through difficulties?
Felicia Daniel: I don’t know. I feel like it’s just my personality. I’ve been a fighter my whole life and a person driven to reach my goals. For me, it’s a gift and a curse. Once I have my mind made up on what I want to do, it’s like I have tunnel vision for that goal.