Reesa Sooklall: Model, gynaecologist, chef and more in the making

Model Reesa Sooklall has been making fashion waves in Guyana and New York and recently strutted on the catwalk at the New York Fashion Week for renowned fashion designer Cesar Galindo.

Sooklall, who always had a liking for the runway having watched models like Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Taylor Hill (Victoria Secret’s Angels) and Emily Ratajkowski, first took to the catwalk at the National Cultural Centre on July 6, 2014 where she won the coveted Miss Guyana Talented Teen 2014 crown and reigned for two years.

She has been modelling for two years now and shared with The Scene that although she dreamt of modelling it was mostly makeup artist Kerry Woolford’s doing that set her on the path. One look at the 5’ 8” teen and Kerry insisted that Reesa participate in the pageant. That was in 2012 and when 2013 came the makeup artist brought it up again. By the following year Reesa had reached the required 14 – 19 years age range for the competition and decided to enter besting five older contestants.

Her training with Simpli Royal head Pamela Dillon paid off and she caught the eyes of Traits Model Management which was scouting for fresh faces and she was almost immediately signed on. Today, Reesa has an agent (name undisclosed) residing in the United States who keeps an eye out for castings for models whenever she visits.

“Being on the catwalk is such a thrilling feeling. I do feel nervous but at the same time I feel like I own it [the catwalk]; it’s an ‘on top of the world’ feel,” Reesa gushed in a recent interview.

Talking with The Scene on the advantages of being model she said, “Modelling has bettered me in a number of ways. I have gotten over the fear of public speaking. It helped me to become more confident in myself and somewhat taught me self-worth.”

And modelling has its own hiccups as well she mentioned which started after she won the Miss Talented Teen title. Some persons wanted to become friends on the basis of just saying that they hung out with the teen queen; others decided she came in handy in helping them in their homework. However, Reesa said, she knew who her real friends were. They were the ones who stuck it out with her before it all began. And even during our one-on-one conversation she wasn’t alone since they sat not too far behind; some of her “biggest supporters,” she called them.

“I get tremendous support from my parents, my friends; if I have an event, they’re there, my grandparents, my aunt in the States and my trainer, Jaryl Moore.”

Her two years so far have seen her in New York Fashion Week twice; modelling twice for Cesar Gallindo and once for Mauricio Alpizar. Sooklall also modelled for Caribbean Airlines for Labour Day last year in New York.

Although Reesa would proudly represent Guyana any day she’s not so keen on modelling in Guyana and gives her reason as to why. “It is challenging to be a model in Guyana because of the meagre pay and our time seems unappreciated. I think models in Guyana should demand respect and with respect would come better pay.”

For the past six years Reesa has been a student at Queen’s College. Though she only recently turned seventeen in October she’s headstrong on her aspirations. Already a model and a former queen, not forgetting a pro belly dancer, she’s hoping to add Obstetrician/Gynaecologist to the list and with a love for cooking she’s trying to squeeze-in being a chef also. However, her mother, probably the level head around, keeps reminding her that she doesn’t see how all that would be possible as to top it all she hopes to one day have her own line of cosmetics.

Such a dreamer you may say but Reesa holds steadfast to the quote, “You don’t have to be great to start but start to be great.” Another favourite quote of hers is, “Beauty is not only about having a pretty face. It’s about having a pretty heart, a pretty mind and a pretty soul” and from our conversation with Reesa, it is obvious that this is who she is.

Apart from being a student and a model, Reesa takes after-school lessons, practices her steel pan skills since she’s a part of the school’s band and works out at the Fitness Paradise Gym.

Her limited free time would find her baking (peppermint chocolate chip cookies, coconut cakes, cheese straws and pastries) for her friends, playing basketball, volleyball, table tennis, playing the guitar, painting, doing calligraphy (lettering) and playing with her pet rabbit, dog and cat.

Her favourite colour is black but if she has to throw together a getup, she would more choose a white turtleneck top tucked into a pair of black jeans tucked into a pair of black boots and to add a bit of colour, a red scarf-tie.

Reesa admonishes youngsters like herself to, “Eliminate all negativity, negative thoughts and negative people. Be confident in yourself, believe in yourself and likely you will succeed. Have a positive mentality,” she said, then added another quote, “Hard work beats talent.”

She wishes to acknowledge her past sponsors for the Miss Guyana Talented 2014 pageant, Grand Coastal Hotel and Continental Group of Companies especially because they have been a great support and are checking up on her to date.

To check out more of her photo-shoots look for Reesa Sooklall on Facebook and Instagram.

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