Not all glamour
Born and raised in Queens, New York, to a Caribbean (Turks & Caicos) family, Bianca Golden says she was first inspired to pursue a modelling career when, at 13 years of age, she heard super model Tyra Banks’ personal story of being young, insecure and awkward.
“I was like, ‘that’s me. That’s me too’,” said Golden excitedly while gesturing with her slender arms as if the moment was just yesterday. She then wrote Banks a letter telling her how much she looked up to her. Banks’ reply was more than enough encouragement.
“It was just an inspiration and I was like, I’m gonna be like her. I’m going to be a model.”
Five years later, Golden got her big break. Despite no high-profile modelling experience, Golden was selected as one of 13 contestants on America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) Cycle 9, the reality show created by Tyra Banks herself.
“I was so new to everything it was such an amazing experience,” she says. But as a self-admitted amateur she failed to emerge as the winner. Still, she fared well as the tenth contestant eliminated and left her mark with her outspoken personality.
“I think with a West Indian background we’re just like, say whatever comes to your mind and if you don’t like it, too bad. It’s never to hurt your feelings. It’s just how you feel. Now, I have a better understanding of how to control myself and how to think before I speak. But I’m still a very honest person. It’s just my downfall when it comes to reality television.”
Fortunately, her candid nature wasn’t too much of a downfall. Immediately after the show, Golden’s perfect frame and budding abilities got her signed to a modelling contract – a moment she says was a blessing. She is now signed with multiple modelling agencies and has gone on to achieve success greater than many of her ANTM peers. She has modelled at New York’s Fashion Week and Los Angeles’ Fashion Week, and she has appeared in magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Essence, among others.
And as a contestant in this fall’s America’s Next Top Model All-stars, which begins airing this Wednesday, Golden is poised for further fame and fortune.
However, her road to success hasn’t been easy. And it’s still under construction. Golden says modelling is a constant hustle. Early mornings, late nights and being pulled in multiple directions can all be part of the game. “I have days where I’m in a corner crying ‘Why am I doing this to myself? Why is this my life’?” But she says that overall she wouldn’t change anything because “the bad days make you stronger and build character”.
Golden says she gets a steady flow of email from young girls asking her if they have what it takes to make it as a model. She tells them to be honest with themselves as modelling is not always as glamourous as it seems and can entail a lot of hard work. Furthermore, she cautions that the modelling industry seeks certain looks and standards. She says, for her, being black in the industry presents constant challenges.
She breaks her smile for a brief moment and says that not everyone is cut out for modelling and not everyone can make it. Still, she always encourages her fans to never give up. “I tell people to follow their dreams no matter what, because a lot of people told me I couldn’t do it. So I just say go for whatever you want to go for and go hard at it.”
She says in the end, perseverance pays with success.
But despite her own success, Golden says she never loses sight of where she came from. She maintains a strong bond with her 16-year-old sister and strives to be a positive influence in her life by making the right choices.
She adds that her family is a constant source of support and they help keep her grounded.
“My mum is Turks & Caicos to the bone, so when I’m flying off the handle to some, I know how to pull it back because I can’t go home to my mum like that. It keeps me in check.”
Golden is currently interested in branching into becoming a television correspondent, but she says that when her days in the limelight are over she hopes to become a teacher.
“I have teachers in my family and it’s just something that I love. I love working with kids and they hold a special place in my heart.”
Still young herself, Golden says that watching her brother and sister grow up, she feels that sometimes all children need is someone to talk to, but if you can talk to them and teach them, you’re providing the best of both worlds. She feels that her successes could serve as an inspiration to others.
Golden has come a long way from being inspired to becoming an inspiration. She admits that her outer and inner image can still be concerns of hers as when she was younger, but she loves her life and who she is.
“I think all women have flaws that we hold on to, so I am guilty of that…but I’ve heard all the worst so now I’m like ‘what can you say to me now’?”