Transcending Conversation: DD Smith
Before we get started, what name do you currently go by?
Has your name changed throughout your life?
Yes, I’ve always had nicknames and stuff like that but, my middle name, Dante, was my name that a lot of people know me as. But now it’s DD, to, you know, keep on brand.
What are your pronouns?
They and them. I don’t mind he or she, but I think it’s very important. Especially when I'm working as the first non-binary person for certain companies. They think it’s very important that I use they and them.
For me, it’s not a big deal, but there's a lot of people within my community where it really is a life or death matter; where it’s just emotionally better to just use they or them––which is not hard to do at all. So, they and them.
How do you identify?
I identify as androgynous, non-binary, gender-neutral. I just feel like I express myself through masculine and feminine energies. I love being and playing with both spectrums.
What’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to you in the past month?
In the past month we finally got word that I can tell people about "Project Runway". So that’s been the best news possible. Next month, December 5th, is when the premiere is; and being the first non-binary model in "Project Runway" history is crazy to me. It doesn't even sound real.
You recently walked in New York and Paris fashion week. Was it your first time? Do you have any favorite moments?
Yes, NYFW I've been walking for a couple years now but Paris fashion week, it was my first time, and I literally went with just one casting in mind. I didn't know I was going to book it. Thank God I did, I literally had faith and the story itself is just my favorite. You literally went out there without knowing you’re gonna book it, without having any sort of knowledge of what's going to happen. So much great stuff has come from just going to Paris for two weeks, it was amazing. I also got to shoot with Gay Letter magazine while I was out there, which is big. It's just crazy.
How different was it compared to your modeling experiences on Bravo’s "Project Runway"?
It was the first time for me where I was the only one without an agency that was working. All the other models came from really nice agencies. I got to speak to them all about that. They just thought it was crazy that I was there as a freelance model, you know?
Usually I’m put in these sorts of situations, but I actually think it's the best for me because now I get to keep all my coin.
On your Instagram, you’re always rocking so many different looks in terms of hair, makeup, and styling. Can you tell us a little bit about your relationship with makeup? What are your go-to products?
Oh my God, yes! I just started getting into makeup maybe two years ago. At first I was not that good at all, but of course practice, practice, practice. I'm so inspired by YouTube. I love all the YouTubers. I love watching all the makeup artists, and Ii've learned to accumulate my own skills.
Of course I love Fenty Beauty; let's not play around, that's the best. I'm very passionate about it now, and Fenty Beauty lip balm would have to be my go-to. I can't leave the house without it.
What scares you the most?
Heights! I'm scared of heights.
How can everybody do their part in helping the trans community?
I think it's so important to make sure if you’re in the community or an ally to the community, make sure you’re actually supporting someone. There's so many trans women I know as friends as well who are probably too strong to tell anyone, “Hey, I'm actually going through a tough time.” This can also be just having a strong friend in general. You should always see if they're okay and offer as much help as you can even if they say no, because you never know what anyone is going through.
It's just so much harder for trans women of color in general to live in this world where these women are constantly dying every single day. It's terrible and you always have to keep an eye on them and seriously protect them.
Any parting words for any younger people who are embarking on a similar journey/struggle to understand their identity and where they fit in their lives or in specific industries?
As far as just finding yourself, it's not a rush. It's not a game, there's no one that has to be first or anything. Just be you and test different things if you like. Put some makeup on to see if you like it. Just experiment.
For me it took such a long time. I’m now, oh my God, I don't like saying my age... But now I'm 23. And I finally feel like who I’m supposed to be. It took so long for me to come to terms with this. It's just to say, there's no rush to it all.
In one word, what does the future look like?