AJ LOVE FEATURED IN LOOT & RIOT MAGAZINE
Ink Tone Swep
Images Christopher Cloud, AJ Love, TSE
Though you are originally from Los Angeles, I sense your ethnicity is deeply rooted in the Black/African diaspora. Share a bit about your ethnic heritage and how those traditions may have influenced your home life, upbringing, and present outlook on life. Well the crazy thing is, I do not know specifically what my origin is. I’m going to do the Ancestry dot com blood thing really soon because I get this question quite often and there has even been Twitter feuds and social media debates about my ethnicity (Laughs!). I be looking like: ‘Guys, I don’t even know!’ Both of my parents were raised in the heart of California and their parents are from different parts of the United States, but as far as my great-great grandparents, I have the slightest idea.
You identify as African-American though correct? I find myself really close to the black culture because it is a part of who I am. I know that’s a fact at least. Even though I do not specifically know my origin, I know that black culture and it’s entirety is a representation of me like it is for many others. When it comes to the music, fashion, sports, politics, and social media I feel like minorities are at the top of the field with it and fucking love it (Laughs!) We are in a time where you can be proud of your skin tone, wear it with pride and dignity. Sky’s the limit and that’s where I plan on going all the way to the top!
How long have you been modeling? What initially attracted you to the craft? It’s taken me a long time to refer to myself as a model. I wanted to model so bad when I was younger but I was often rejected until my later years when I started to fill out more and puberty finally decided to kick in. I would say I’ve been modeling for about a-year-and-a-half now, but acting has always been my first love. I was attracted to modeling at a young age because my aunt who I lived with was represented by Ford Models. I remember seeing her images all over the Staples Center and going through her portfolio. It was just a big inspiration, and I admired it so much, I told myself I will do that one day.
Now you are one of the most popular, in-demand influencers. As years progressed I started to come into my own woman mentally and physically, and I realized that I didn’t need the opinions or approval of other modeling agencies or people in order for me to make my dreams come true. That’s when I just hopped on social media and started doing my thing. One of my friends at the time was a photographer. I posted the images on Tumblr and they went viral! My first shoot got over 70,000 re-posts. It was insane!
What do you feel makes you stand out? My skin tone. I embrace the hell out of my dark skin. I wear it with pride, grace and dignity. And I wouldn’t change it for the world! But I also think another factor is my personality. I am able to do a variety of different faces to show different emotions. People know I am genuinely a good-hearted person. I feel like that comes off in most of my images which makes me so happy to hear. All I try to do is spread positivity, this world is already negative enough.
Name some of your favorite fashion and cosmetic brands. Top five favorites are Fashion Nova, Oh Polly, Nike, Motel Rocks, and Lululemon. Cosmetic brands are Fenty duuuhhhh (Laughs!), MAC, Revlon, Morphe, and Jessica Simpson has an amazing vegan make-up brush set that I am up obsessed with!
Where do you enjoy traveling to? I love traveling in general, I love getting a taste of different cities in different states and different countries. You learn different peoples lifestyles and then when you expand it to different countries you learn different people’s cultures. I recently went to Costa Rica this year and that was a life-changing experience. I also went to the East Coast for the first time and I love me some New York people (Laughs!). I just love east coasters in general. They just have a vibe and a blunt mentality about them where they really just dont give a fuck what anybody thinks about them for the most part.
What artists are you currently listening to?Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child are always my go to albums on a long drive home or when I’m getting in a good workout. Besides them I love listening to Kendrick, Afro Beats, Tupac, Drake, and I’m such a lover of the oldies like Jagged Edge, Boys II Men, and Aaliyah. I love that era of music.
What has been your most rewarding personal experience thus far? Going back to school. I took a semester off and I learned so much about myself. I experienced so much life. I got a taste of adulthood in it’s full force, but I told myself a long time ago that I would finish up and get both of my degrees which I am going to do. So this personal experience that I’m going through right now is very much rewarding and it’s happening at my pace. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
There are those who wished they looked like you, those who wish to be with you due to how you look, and those who are jealous of you based on all of the above. How does being sexy, being attractive, and being envied by some while coveted by others empower you? Oh My God! (Laughs!). This question though. Honestly, I look at myself and I just see a normal ass person. I have two eyes, one nose, one mouth, a normal body and hair on my head (Laughs!). I am very confident and aware that some find me attractive but I don’t use my looks to run my life. I want to be known for more than just someone who’s good looking. I personally don’t like being envied or receiving negativity, I’m a very positive person and I get it! Trust me I get it! We all get insecure at times, I get insecure at times you know because we too often compare, especially with social media at our disposal we compare ourselves to other people’s lives.
Without realizing or acknowledging that those lives we are attempting to emulate aren’t even real. You are following a highlight reel, like SportsCenter, not watching the full game with all the missteps and mistakes. Exactly, what they make it out to be. Failing to realize that on social media people only show you what they want to show you and that’s it, so when people come to me and envy me based on just appearances I suggest to them to save that shit for the birds. I try to keep it real with my supporters without giving too much of my personal life, you have to have balance. I show them pictures of me with no make-up on, random things like me working out. I’m always hanging out with my grandparents. I’m not flying to Paris on the weekends and spending my weekdays on yachts in Miami. I’m busting my ass every day to become the woman I am going to be in my future and if anybody wants to envy anything I believe it should be my hustle before it’s my looks.
If you had to choose one to best describe yourself – are you a Tease, a Snob, or a Seductress? Tell us why. I would say a tease. Even that is walking on a fine line but you know it is what it is. I’ll show some skin in a bathing suit here and there. It’s just harmless fun, I just like taking pics. I try to represent myself as classy and sexy in the best away as possible at the end of the day.
Name someone who inspires you. Name something that positively influences you. Name somewhere that enlivens your spirit. Now, if you were with that person, doing that thing, at that place, what would occur? Someone who inspires me easily is my grandfather. Something that positively influences me would have to be going to the gym and getting my workouts done, they keep me focused and grounded because I do them on a daily basis. It kinda gives me that order and serenity in my life. I love traveling but if I could just be one place right now it would have to be the beach, easily. It’s something about the sound of the waves and the beauty of the ocean and my toes in the sand. It just does it for me. If I knew where the most beautiful ocean in the world was, I would wanna be right there. If I was at the beach with my granddad working out it would definitely be the best memory of my life.
Is he cheating because he’s a hoe with no morals? Is he cheating because he is unhappy with his lady but too loyal to leave her? Or is he cheating because the sex is bad, but everything else is cool, so he steps out to fulfill a need and fill a void? Well, the main word is cheating. My thing is, if something in our relationship is unfulfilled in any of those circumstances let me know and we can just part ways or I can work on it. Communication is everything to me. I feel like when you decide to cheat and step outside your relationship is when you put yourself and that persons emotions at risk. And that is a selfish act. I’m not for the drama and I’m definitely not for the bullshit, so whatever reason he decided to cheat let me know you not feeling it or feeling me anymore and we can part ways. It’s as simple as that in my book.
You are also an illustrator. How often do you draw and what compels you to do so? Do you sketch to get into or away from something? Drawing has always been something that I’ve dabbled in. I do it on my free time and it is just a way for me to get my creative thoughts out. Art allows me to be spontaneous and carefree and there’s no room for judgment when it comes to drawing because everything can be as abstract as you want it to be, and can be read differently for different people. I started an art page because I am such a lover of the arts. I wanted to share my art as well as the art of my supporters who take the time out to draw me. I love seeing how people view me in different forms. It can be the same image drawn in 1000 different ways. I sketch for both, honestly. Art is my get away, whether it’s me in class trying to pass the time or me going through something emotionally and I’m trying to mentally get it off my mind.
What makes AJ Love one of the best friends anyone, anywhere, could ever have? Man I just want to be happy in life and spread that to those around me. I like to uplift others and create awesome ass memories along the way. Moments like these.