If you ever get a chance to meet Ms. Cantria Williams, that would be the first thing that you’d say to yourself. Never mind that the Middle Tennessee State University graduate has a nice frame (36-27-38) to go with those brains – her eyes tell her whole story.
The Tennessee born model looked towards the West to help build her flourishing career. After snapping flicks and uploading them on MySpace -- photographers began to inquire about Ms. Williams look for magazines and commercials. The 24 year-old model has a soft, demure look about herself. But don’t get it twisted, this woman only respects and recognizes the real in people.
Beauty & Brains is happy to introduce you to Ms. Cantria Williams. In this interview, the lovely vixen talks about her start in the business, why Californians have a hot temper and talks about why Bruce Leroy would be able to date her before you do.
B&B: How did you get your start in this business?
CW: I got my start in modeling by doing camera phone pictures of myself [laughs]. I posted them on MySpace and other photographers would see that and inquired about shooting me. My first photographer that I worked with was Rick Dones – he’s worked with Playboy. From that point on it’s been pretty much an up and down battle. A few photographers are kind of sketchy. They’d want to shoot, but then they would act flaky. But with others, I learned how to model from them. I learned more by doing that than by looking in a magazine looking at other women do their poses.
B&B: Every model is armed with a MySpace page, their own website, a calendar and merchandise. What sets you apart from all the others?
CW: Basically, I’m not the typical diva, boogie type of model. Some of the models may be nice, but they have a fake attitude. I’m a very humble person. If they don’t get along with me it’s because they’re either envious or they haven’t met me. I don’t fit in with either side – boogie or ghetto. A prime example was… let’s just say a model, she’s not famous, but she’s very in your face. She sent me notes online and e-mails, saying, “Call me.” But all along she’s been talking about me behind my back. I just don’t talk to people like that. I haven’t really said anything because I don’t give it the attention that some would like. But in this modeling game, you encounter a lot of people who act like that. A photographer was talking about me to another model and it was very unprofessional. I called him out on it. We became cool afterwards, his work may be really good, but I just can’t vibe out like that with everyone. There are a lot of fakes in the industry. Everyone says that they’re real, but they’re not that real if they can’t come to your face and say what they say behind your back.
B&B: Men are a shaky bunch. They like what they like, but we’d settle for anything that’s doable. What would be your response to anyone who didn’t like who you are?
CW: They can move on to the next person. If they don’t like me, then I don’t really care about them. They don’t really exist to me. If someone doesn’t like what I do or respect it, then I don’t have to or want to break my neck for them.
B&B: How do you balance the stereotypes associated with urban modeling with maintaining a regular life?
CW: I do volunteer work at an elderly home. People there don’t see me glamorously made up. I’m in regular clothes. I come across as an average person. I let them know that I’m not naïve – you know, how they portray models? I’m a real individual. I don’t have a sugar daddy. I have a boyfriend. A lot of girls have a man who is financially helping them out with their career. I’m a really cool person. Once you know me there’s more to me than just photographs in magazines. Some people would think that I’m loose or that I’m gullible because of the shots in the magazine, but I’m really focused and smart about my craft.
B&B: Models and celebrities go hand-in-hand. Who’s one celebrity that you’d date and why?
CW: There’d be two. One would be Taimak (Bruce Leroy – The Last Dragon). I would date him. He’s a good friend of mines, but if I had to choose, I’d choose him. He’s into his spirituality and health. I would date Alfonso McAuley (Walt – Pride). He’s very laid back and cool. He has a very calm spirit about himself. I like that about him. I met him in 2003 and we’ve been good friends ever since.
B&B: California gals seem more laid back than girls in cities like New York – what would you say in one of your worst flaws?
CW: One of my worst flaws would have to be, hmm… that’s a really good question – I have a hot temper. I’m way better than how I used to be. But I still have a hot temper. Once you push a button, people tend to get crazy out here [in California]. I don’t have too much patience for bullshit. I don’t sugarcoat stuff and you have a lot who do that and fall for it. I don’t mess with that. When I first moved out here I had a regular job and I met this guy and he had a really bad aura. Nobody liked him and I pretty much went off on him and scared him. I told him flat out that I didn’t like him. Another incident was with some models in the industry and two of them were talking about me behind my back. Once I found that out, I cut them all off. I never responded to their messages. They didn’t know that I know – still to this day, they don’t know that. At the beginning of my relationship with my man, I had to learn that, but now we get along great. Someone has to bring that out of me in order for me to get there.
B&B: With guys ogling you whenever you go somewhere – what is one thing that you don’t like about guys?
CW: One thing I don’t like is when a man is disrespectful or when they’re funny acting. I was in Vegas for the All-Star Weekend and this one guy kept trying to get my attention. He was yelling out about, “Look at her weave, look at her bangs.” This guy was blacker than all-get-out and was trying to say that he didn’t have the time to even be bothered with me. I don’t like when I see our own kind going against ourselves. That’s one of my pet peeves with men.
B&B: Katt Williams had a joke about entertainers in Hollywood acting funny style. Have you ever been around a celeb in a compromising position?
CW: I can count on one hand the times that has happened to me. I’m not a snitch or anything, but there was one girl who’s popular in the industry and she made a pass at me. I (never) thought that out of all these people, she would. I never saw her again after that, but it was just crazy how it happened. We were in the bathroom and her chest was against mines and she said that I was pretty. If someone walked in, that’d be the last thing that I needed for my reputation. She’s one of those girls you see on the TV and you’d never know. With the men in the industry, I’ve seen a few things, too.
B&B: Does it make you angry when people don’t give you any respect because they think that you’re doing “whatever it takes” to be in magazines or whatever?
CW: It really doesn’t bother me. I feel like that everyone who’s in the industry – people who became big – people had opinions about them before they became big. Once you get to that level, no one has anything to say about you. People have their own opinions about what I’m trying to do. But I’m not the only one pursuing these goals. If they’re going to judge me, they should judge everything as a whole.
B&B: There are constant double standards in our business. Men can do a ton of things that women would be lynched for. Can there ever be any change?
CW: I feel that the industry has been changing, but men will always get away with more than a woman would. I’ll never see a female version of Young Jeezy high on the rap charts. Even in the game, three to four years ago, doing an implied nude shot would have been considered risqué. Now, it’s commonplace. As long as you’re not going fully nude, no one would bat an eye. Men have it a lot easier than women in the industry.
B&B: So, where are the women stepping up to do something to even the playing field?
CW: I’m doing this thing called “Queen Cantria’s King of the Month.” Taimak will be the first one. I want to make a magazine where it’ll be the male version of Smooth. Men are gorgeous, just like women are and I think that that should be emphasized. We have so many magazines with sexy women, but where is something that gives the male models some exposure. We see them on TV shows or talk shows, but you don’t see them highlighted and profiled like you’d see women.
B&B: What’s better… money or sex?
CW: You know that’s a hard one. Umm… actually, money is better. Money is more important than sex. If you’re going to have intercourse, you’re not going to be happy if you’re broke afterwards.
B&B: What do you have in the works?
CW: This coming weekend I’m doing Reggae Fest here in California, I may be doing Black Men’s Magazine in June and Currency Magazine, which is a new West Coast magazine.
B&B: When it’s all said and done – what do you want to be known for with your career?
CW: I want to be known as the model that did all she could and that I was a go-getter. I did everything that I could, even if the haters say what they want, but I accomplished all my goals. Regardless of all the obstacles and I still made it.