Beauty Behind the Brand: Introducing my female friends who are fashion designers on the rise. Celebrating them with full love and support because they are turning their passion projects into reality.


Through my years living in NYC, I have dabbled in many different industries. What started out as the hope for a career in the entertainment industry, became winding roads in the beauty, fashion, and fitness avenues.

The Designers and brands I will mention are un related. I have met and worked with them all on separate occasions and stages in life. The experiences I’ve had modeling, traveling, curating brands, etc. has been the best eye opener to the fashion world. Even though my background had nothing to do with fashion, besides enjoying the usual trends from the runways, I appreciate the kindness, education, and friendships that developed with these woman and look forward to see their careers grow and expand.

  1. Carla Lopez, Navalo Shoes

Carla and I met and traveled together in 2016 to Europe. Hitting the top fashion cities (London, Paris, Milan) to trend shop before the designs hit the USA for fashion week. Assisting Carla was unlike any other assisting job I’ve had( You’ve seen “The Devil Wears Prada” and I lived it!), she was so down to earth, patient, and fun to work with, especially trying to find designs on a deadline! Our relationship grew into a beautiful friendship, as well. The past four years had brought us to London, Paris, Milan, Copenhagen, Antwerp, Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Athens, Los Angeles, and New York, so far! Carla’s eye for fashion forward designs and functionality in her shoes, was something that strongly plays in my mind, while curating brands. The eyes of a designer are far more expansive, playful, creative, risky, and intuitive than I have ever really imagine, but it all connects when you are exposed to that mindset. Here is where you can find Carla, as well, as following her @Navaloshoes.

2. Grace Huang, GH Haus

What happened to be a networking event for a modeling job, brought me and Grace together in 2017. Originally connecting on a friendship level, I’ve seen Grace beautifully transition her career from Finance to Art & Fashion. Grace launched her brand GH Haus, which not only adapts paintings from famous artists onto clothing, handbags and accessories BUT she gives back to the art community, as well! Her name perfectly describes her personality. She is “Gracefully” expanding her brand from art galleries, to being featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, etc. I’ve even had the pleasure to shoot with Grace. She is a jack of all trades, even her photography is stunning.

Here is an update as to what Grace is working on You can follow her @ghhause_official.

3. Gabriela Pires, Gabriela Pires Beachwear/ The Panty Box

My night attending the 75th Annual Theater world Awards on June 3, 2019 became the night I also met Gabriela. What really sparked our connection was offering to take pics of each other for social media… when asking strangers to take photos works out well! From that moment on, we connected and started getting to work together! If you are a Sports Illustrated fan, like me, you will definitely see Gabriela’s work there! Her beachwear graced the bodies of cover models for the last several years! Model Jasmine Sanders, was the most recent model to wear one of Gabriela’s beautiful bikinis. What makes Gabriela’s beachwear special is not only the beautiful material and fit, but the TLC that Gabriela gives to her designs is outstanding. All handmade in NYC, Gabriela’s passion for helping women feel and look their best, makes her stand out.

When the Covid-19 Pandemic hit in March 2020, Gabriela was quick to adapt her brand, to the circumstance. She went from creating beachwear to face masks, donating face masks to essential workers, as well. Gabriela’s adaptability and variability in production makes her such an inspiration. From beachwear, lingerie, accessories, masks, etc. Gabriela is proof that you can do whatever you put your mind to. For more of Gabriela’s designs, click here You can follow @gabrielapiresbeachwear to see what’s next on the fashion front!

4. Angeline Hayling, Island Tribe

Shortly, after I started working with Gabriela Pires, I met Angeline. Gabriela told me about her friend who has a beautiful bohemian dress company, at the time, and said she would love to connect us. It turned out to be another wonderful connection. I was also so happy to know more designers, shared the same passion as mine, helping others succeed. Angeline and I met in July 2019, and traveled to work the WWD Magic Trade show in Las Vegas, that August. Working with Angeline was a delight because her peaceful, positive, approach to business and fashion was unlike the cut throat, competitive, nature of New York, I was used to. The brand, Island Tribe, also brought out the free spirited, wanderlust inspired woman, in me. Angeline’s vision has expanded recently, getting global recognition in fashion publications like WWD, Vogue, Pop Sugar, Fashionista, etc. Island Tribe is a eco friendly, sustainable brand, leaving an impression in our hearts by helping our earth. Angeline values the “Sisterhood” she creates with her brand and has curated a wellness community, to set up future retreats. For more information on what’s happening next for Island Tribe, check out You can follow @islandtribe_ on IG!

5. Pettie Chong, Wantsuit/ Bodysuits me

Last Christmas, I met Pettie Chong while filming a fashion segment for TV Host Nicole Young. Pettie owns bodysuits me, which is a line of beautiful bodysuits for all shapes and sizes. I will admit. My love and appreciation for bodysuits was greatly expanded after working with Pettie. Pettie gave me such confidence and inspiration while modeling her bodysuits.First of all, I have a long torso, so, to me body suits were rarely on my radar to wear in the past, because of the average suit being uncomfortable. I also have short legs, and my perception of the “perfect body” in bodysuits is a long legged woman. But, I cannot think that anymore for multiple reasons and many of them I learned from Pettie. Her perception of beauty and bodysuits is what we all need to experience, as women. It is not about “perfect bodies” but more about, how to find ways to help you feel perfect in your body and suit. Pettie, recently, launched “The Wantsuit” which is a multifunctional, sustainable, comfortably, chic, bodysuit and more! Her dream of helping women stay comfortable, stylish, and ever evolving, is what makes her brand and purpose so necessary for the time. For the latest stlyes and sales, check out My friendly discount for you can be applied with this code NIKIB25. On IG you can follow both pages @wantsuit & @bodysuitsme

6. Jillian Brown, Remember Me Green

The Sustainable fashion movement is so impactful. Not only do designers have the opportunity to showcase their talent through the creativity in their products but they also create a positive change in our environment. A mission to keep our Earth green and clean is one change that sparks others. When I met Jillian in 2018, I immediately fell in love with her brands mission and fun styled products. I had the pleasure of modeling for her collection and got a sneak peak of the “Behind the Scenes” of RMG! Anyone who is a true New Yorker would appreciate the fact that you have a piece of New York with you at all times!

What was once a Billboard is now your bag! Jillian established a way to create products from vinyl billboards. This helps reduce waste by repurposing material that would be thrown away. A true visionary in the world of Green Fashion and Up cycling. RMG is a timeless work of art!