It doesnít matter whether youíre six or sixty; one always has a story to tell. Here at Beauty & Brains, we pride ourselves as being an alternative to what you read in your other favorite menís magazines. Ms. Sierra Horstin is a testament to what HipHopDX and Beauty & Brains wants to push forward as we go deeper into 2008.
An Ohio native, Ms. Horstin has overcome something straight out the movies. In this interview, the 18-year-old Kent State University student takes you, the reader, deep into her closest and allows you to examine with her the pains of growing up beautiful in an ugly and broken world. Beauty & Brains is proud to have talked to Ms. Horstin as she also discusses drugs, how it all made her stronger and why through it all, she wanted to smile for the camera.
This is truly a must read.
Beauty & Brains: Youíve
had to overcome a lot of adversity in your life. Can you talk a little
bit about your home life, growing up?
Sierra Horstin: I grew up with my grandparents. My mom and dad were on drugs. I didnít know when I was going to see them. We had a lot of money problems. My dad had a cocaine addiction; my mother was a prostitute and had a heroine addiction. How they met was my dad was a pimp and she was one of his girls. They had a one night stand. They tried to make it work, but they were both on drugs and it couldnít work. My mom and my dad gave me to my momís mom. In the past, my grandmother had her issues too. She lost one of her kids due to drugs and alcohol. She had to stop all that to take care of me. She didnít have a husband or a job, so she raised me on social security and food stamps. We had to live in the projects and all that.
B&B: So, if you say that
your mother and grandmother lived a life of sex and drugs, how do you
manage to not fall into that same trap in an industry such as urban
SH: I donít know. You just learn from it. I want better for myself and my family. You just learn from your mistakes. They hit on me when I am in the clubs. I have a manager and sheís always around; so I donít put myself in a position to where that can happen. Iím in college, so I have a lot of guy friends, so when they ask me to come over to kick it or whatever, itís interesting to say the least.
B&B: How so?
SH: This one guyÖ who will remain namelessÖ in just five minutes was trying to get all up on me. That was not cool and I was not having it and I left afterwards.
B&B: What even made a person
like you, who has been through so much at such a young age, want to
be involved in a business that profits off of picking apart someoneís
SH: I donít know. Itís just something that I enjoy doing. Everyone has a hobby. Everyone has something that they like to do. I canít explain it. Just like how you like writing and you enjoy doing it, I like modeling. I guess, you can say that Iíve always been moved around and I never got to stay in one place, so I never had a place that I can call home. So, home to me, is more so a state of mind and modeling to me is that feeling that I can get.
B&B: Has the abuse you
suffered throughout your childhood made yourself more vulnerable or
SH: Stronger, most definitely. When people criticize me, I donít take it to heart. I donít cry or get emotional, I just look at it like thatís the problem and Iíll work on it. A lot of people get into relationships and depend on that other person. I donít get attached to people all like that. I donít trust anyone, really. There are only two people who I trust in my entire life. So, in the game that Iím in, networking is important. But you canít take everyoneís word, either. Truth is anyone can be a grimy personÖ especially in modeling; you have to be extremely careful.
B&B: After your mother
passed away Ė how did you and your father reconnect?
SH: After my mom passed away, I realized that my father was all that I had. He was changing his life. He had a stable environment. He got the house that was passed down from him from his father. So, I moved in with him to reconnect. It was good for about a year or two. But when he would get his paycheck, he would use that to go on his binges. That was really hard because bills werenít getting paid. We almost didnít have a Christmas because of that. There was a lot of tension in the house. My little step-sister was around my father in that environment, where he smoked crack and you canít have that around a little girl, like that.
B&B: So, how did doing
well in high school with all those activities help you deal with the
things going on at your fatherís house?
SH: It was a way to get away. I knew that the only way to get out of that situation was to get out and make something out of myself. If I did well in school, I could get out and have scholarship money to pay for higher education. It was less time at home and I needed that. I went to Church after school to help tutor kids. I was on the student council. I was a statistician for the track team. I would find anything that I could get involved in for me to get away from home.
B&B: All wasnít just
atrocity and sadness in your life Ė what would you recall were some
of the happiest moments in your childhood?
SH: I really didnít have any good times when I was a childhood. I had to move all the time. I wasnít going to say that I was alone or anything like that. Itís just that I really didnít get a chance to go out and do things like the other kids. I had to be home and take care of my sister or do school work.
B&B: Do you think that
your tragedy has something to do with your success?
SH: Yes and no. I feel like itís made me a stronger person, it has made me more motivated. I have to be careful in modeling. So, I think that it has. Sometimes people can rely on their parents to help them and they can go to them for money and support, but I never really had that. I had to become more independent and growing up, I was more mature than other girls. We had a flood a while back and we had to move in with my fatherís mother and it was really weird. I had never met her until I was eight years-old. She was ill. She couldnít do much for herself and at the time, my dad was suffering with his addiction. I had to go to school and try to find ways to feed myself and my grandmother because he wouldnít be around. A lot of people would quit during all that. Other kids may fall into that same lifestyle. It was something that I had to do and thatís when I knew I was different than other kids.
B&B: Now, that youíre
at my old school of Kent State Ė how have the people been treating
SH: Real good. I havenít had any problems here. Everyone is real humble and out-going. Itís a really nice school. Itís not like a big school where youíre always meeting new people. But at least, Kent State gives me some sort of structure.
B&B: All adversity aside,
youíve managed to be able to be successful in a place thatís not
really known as a major market city. What if the goals youíve set
for yourself cannot be accomplished? What do you do then?
SH: Itís still kind of up-in-the-air with me right now. At first, I wanted to be a social worker because of all the things Iíve been through. But I realized that Iím too empathetic towards people and I get emotional about it. My major is Fashion Merchandising and Public Relations, so, I want to be a personal shopper or buyer. I would be that or a fashion publicist. So, those would be my plan Bís.
B&B: As a model on campus
Ė are the fellas able to handle the gigs that youíve been doing?
SH: I donít know. Sometimes I donít think people see me as regular person. I go to parties and thatís the first thing that they notice me. It makes me feel good that people notice me, but at the same time, itís annoying. I just want to have fun like everyone else.
B&B: And what about the
ladies? Are they supportive of your aspirations?
SH: Some girls are real supportive. They say that they like my pictures. But there are girls who say that theyíre really provocative or that Iím just trying to get attention. I deal with a lot of jealousy with girls. In real life, they wonít talk to me or theyíll make comments to their friends about me.
B&B: For what you want
to do with yourself Ė how are you able to handle criticism and the
haters and still stay focused?
SH: I just take it as structured criticism. I use it for motivation. If youíre not doing anything, then they wonít have anything to say, but when you do, thatís when they start talking. Itís foul that they do that, but I like the haters to keep talking. What happens if I get famous, then itís the paparazzi, so itís just something to deal with and Iím dealing with it.