It is so common for us to fall in love with girls off first Instagram follow, but it isn’t as common to learn about their layered personalities – hence why we knew we just had to have a chat with Salem Mitchell. A rising star with a refreshing perspective, Salem is known for her gorgeous look, innovative style, and quirky sense of humor. Anything but ordinary, we get to see the 19-year-old classic beauty bloom in this set photographed by Ali Mitton. Get to know Salem below!
LF: Who/what is inspiring you the most right now?
SM: Right now I’m heavily inspired by those closest to me – my friends, my boyfriend, and just a lot young people I’ve been able to work with. I’ve noticed that everyone I’ve been surrounded by is so free and willing to take risks. It’s an interesting shift from when I was younger because growing up I was always a little bit afraid to step too far outside of the lines, I always wanted to be practical and so did a lot of the adults around me so it’s extremely inspiring to be around creative people around my age who are willing to go for what they want.
LF: What are your passions outside of modeling? If you weren’t a model, what would you be doing?
SM: Outside of modeling, I’m honestly still trying to figure it all out. I really enjoy public speaking, so I’d love to eventually be able to host or create some type of workshop or space where I’m able to speak to others and engage in exchanges of ideas, values, and just spread positivity.
LF: Your taste in fashion is unique and eclectic. Who are your fashion muses? What is the best style advice you’ve ever received?
SM: My biggest fashion muse at the moment is Ashley Banks from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Her style is so great and she has so many looks depending on occasion that are so different but true to her… Or her character in the show ha. The best style advice I’ve received is to be yourself with your style. Sometimes, I’ll second guess myself and wonder if an outfit is too weird or a skirt is too short, but I’ve learned to just go for it and wear what I feel good in.
LF: You, as well as many of your close friends, are young women of color who are equal parts gorgeous and aspirational. Do you ever feel a pressure to perform or please your followers? If so, how do you deal with it?
SM: I wouldn’t say that I ever feel pressure to please my followers, but you have to be careful with your words when so many people are watching what you’re saying. You never want to come off as rude or insensitive to any of the people that support you and want the best for you. I think the best way to handle it is by communicating and asking questions. If someone disagrees with me or how I’m addressing something or someone, I’ll always ask why they feel that way and make an effort to understand another perspective.
LF: What is the last pair of sneakers you bought?
SM: The last pair of sneakers I bought were Nike Air Jordan 1’s!
LF: Who are your favorite artists?
SM: My favorite artists are definitely SZA, Travis Scott, Lil Uzi, and Frank Ocean.
LF: You seem very confident, secure, and at ease in your skin. What is your advice for other young women who are struggling with low self-esteem?
SM: My advice to those with low self-esteem is to take your time finding yourself and what you makes you feel good about yourself. Also, try to ignore those around you who may be clouding your judgement about yourself. Sometimes friends, family, or romantic partners can try to change or comment on things you do, how you identify, what you want to wear, etc. It’s best to live for yourself and not get stuck trying to please those around you.
LF: What’s on your bucket list?
SM: One thing I really really want to do sometime in my life is be on an episode of Law and Order: SVU. Even if I’m just an extra, I’d love it hah.
LF: How fast do you live?
SM: I don’t live fast at all honestly, I try so hard to keep things where they are. I was always a kid who never wanted to get older and now I’m 19 and I’m missing being 9. Obviously, I do genuinely enjoy the privileges that come with being older, but every part of my life is so valuable and special to me that I wish it could slow down sometimes so I can just bask in how wonderful life is.