GRL IN PHOTOS - GYASI WILLIAMS KIRTLEY
My name is Gyasi Williams Kirtley. I'm born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I don't really have an official occupation – I do a lot of different things all focused in the media realm. I'm a journalist, photographer, I model and do social media management. I like to keep myself creatively stimulated and busy.
What inspired the creation of the Last Days project?
My godmother Marjory Smarth inspired the project initially. She was a legendary house dancer who unfortunately passed away from cancer some years back. I wish I could have spoken to her (and a lot of other family members who have since passed) about goals, self-preservation and surviving life. It's hard, and every time you think you've got it, you don't. I'm certain there's a balance though – of structure and chaos. That's why I focus on questions surrounding legacy, to build an open conversation that continues to grow and develop.
3 people you would like to shoot for the Last Days Project.
I'd love to photograph Pharrell for the project. Kid Cudi.....Stevie Wonder, he's my favorite artist of all time.
What are a few of your life/career goals?
My life goal is to be less hard on myself and build a good relationship with God. Career-wise, my goal is to build my own media company. I just want to have fun and be creative for a living and work with people who share the same mindset and worth ethic.
What advice would you give to your 14 year old self?
I'd tell my 14-year-old self to focus ON self. Young girls are trained to do everything for others. To make others comfortable and to forever be aware of how the world will view them. That's a lot of pressure. Society and media are hella powerful and drill false messages into our minds.
The narrative should be focused more inward and for the betterment of self. Be kind because its good for your soul, not because it will make others like you. Sometimes you're kind and people treat you like shit. That's reality. If you do things for self you're free of peoples energies controlling your emotional reaction. Study hard because it will help you explore the world and navigate it fearlessly, not because other people will give you a job and think you're smart. Take care of your body because it will take of you, not because people will like you if you're pretty. My mom used to tell me all the time: "pretty is as pretty does." I never thought I was pretty so I rolled my eyes at it in my youth, but now I understand it more.
What self care steps do you take when you are feeling overwhelmed, specific with social media?
Self care......is tricky. I'm not consistent in it, but I try. I stretch, dance, read the bible, sing. These things help me the most. There's was a point where I was failing high school and ended up cutting myself off of social media for the whole quarter just so I could focus. Honestly, I think I'm addicted to my phone and to social media. We all are. I have to cut myself off sometimes like WHY am I still scrolling through this thing at 5 am? It can make you compare yourself to other people and really mess with your self-esteem.