Kyemah McEntyre wowed the masses when a photo of her in a prom dress she designed went viral. The floor-length, African-print dress was the talk of the town after the 18-year-old from East Orange, New Jersey, shared her piece with the world. Her hope was that others would see that it’s OK to follow the beat of your own drum when it comes to beauty and style — a lesson she’s learned since going natural in the seventh grade.
"At first it was difficult for me to be very comfortable in my natural state because a lot of people around me had not gone natural," McEntyre told MadameNoire. "But I was always taught by my family that my own standard of beauty is what’s more important and you don’t have to be ashamed of your natural beauty. Also, I always just liked the look of a large Afro."
McEntyre has since been tapped by Power actress Naturi Naughton to design a dress for her BET Awards 2015 appearance, a thrill for budding designer.
"Our conversation lasted about 20 minutes and she wanted to uplift and show what the generation was about,” McEntyre said. "She said she really liked my story and my positive message. As far as the dress, she pretty much told me what she needed for the BET Awards. She told me a couple of things she wanted the dress to feature. And I pretty much included all of these things in my sketch and we went from there."
The result was a gorgeously form-fitting gown with mermaid hem in shades of gold, green and red, and now other celebs like Niecy Nash and India Arie have started reaching out to the teen. Hopefully this launches McEntyre’s career as a fashion designer, a path she’s hoping to continue pursuing at the Parsons School of Design. She’ll also be cultivating her love for fine arts; she already has an Etsy shop filled with prints of her artwork.
"I will be starting at Parsons School of Design in New York, where I got accepted for fine arts, but I do plan on changing degrees. I might push back starting until January as I get my business set up. And I will not just focus on my fashion designs, I want to showcase my work as a painter as well. I have a few projects lined up, so I will be doing both."
To read her entire interview, click here, and to help fund her Parsons education, visit McEntyre’s GoFundMe.com page.
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(Photo: Kyemah McEntyre via Instagram)