My phone rang at 10:45am on the day of our scheduled 11am shoot for singer, entertainer, and Love & Hip Hop Star Amara la Negra. “Hello?” I answered. “Hello, Claire, this is Amara’s manager. We are waiting in the lobby.” Though I had been up already, getting a few last minute things together before taking a 3 minute Uber to the Dream Hotel, I was pleasantly surprised by Amara and her team’s punctuality. They were not only on time–they were early. And ready to roll.
As I made my way to the venue, sweat beads dripped off of my forehead, even while sitting in my Uber on Collins Avenue. It was hot in Miami–the sun was almost abrasive, but that didn’t slow Amara down. She burst into the lobby, an explosion of flawless chocolate skin, bright eyes, and big hair with energy to match.
Amara wheeled a huge suitcase behind her, full of a variety of shoes: Christian Louboutin stilettos, Dolce & Gabbana sandals, and YSL pumps, topped off by a clear box full of jewelry and sunglasses. Amara was ready. Ready for the photo shoot. Ready for the spotlight. Ready for the world to take notice of her tremendous talent.
Though her stylist, Valentino, was running a bit tardy, Amara remained open to what we had plucked for her from FashionBombDailyShop.com. Without hesitation, she slipped on a ravishing red bejeweled Kaftan by Kaftans by Ela, which she accessorized with her own earrings, rings, and glittery Christian Louboutin pumps.
She strutted onto the white washed rooftop, twisting her hips to the music playing over the speakers, and pausing to smile in selfies with adoring fans. She was quick and her boldness was boundless. Hop onto a ledge and face the sun? Sure. Walk in vertiginous glittery heels? You got it. Put on a swimsuit? No problem. Amara explained, “I started as a child star at a very early age. [At] 4 years old, [I was] working at a major Latin network called Univision. I grew up watching amazing artists– watching how they work. I try to be as flexible as possible when it comes to working. I try not to say no. I find a solution at the end of the day, and always [come] extra prepared. If that means bringing extra accessories, leggings, stockings, whatever that needs to be done so that I accomplish my mission, I will do that.”
A few moments later, Amara’s mother showed up, just to survey the scene and make sure her only child was treated well. While I wanted to go for more subdued with the jewelry, Amara and her mother stacked on stone filled rings by Patricia Adelson, which glimmered against Amara’s talon like sky blue fingernails accented by crystals. Amara explained, “Life is too short to be basic. You should be fun and experiment and try different things, whether it’s hair styles, makeup, or wardrobe. It’s not like you’re gonna be with it forever, so why not try something different?”
Though Amara admitted to trying different hairstyles since she was six years old (when she was encouraged to get a perm because her hair was ‘unmanageable’) she quickly adopted an Afro that has become her signature style at age sixteen. She said, “I got to learn about our black history, and the history of slavery. I’ve been brainwashed this whole time to think that straight hair is what makes you beautiful. [My afro was my act of rebellion]. My hair is part of me, but it’s not who I am.”
As Amara uttered those words, her mother looked over at her, adoringly. Their bond was certainly special. Amara says, “The best piece of advice I’ve ever received from my mom is: If you want it bad enough, you will figure out how to make it happen.”
For Amara, there seems to be no limit to what she would do in service of her dream–little she would not sacrifice. She says, “I sacrificed my childhood. At an early age, I was in dance class, modeling, competitions. I don’t know how to swim, I don’t know how to ride a bicycle, I don’t know how to skate, I don’t recall playing with dolls. There are a lot of things you sacrifice. I sacrificed family, friendships, relationships, boyfriends. I sacrifice so much because I believe in my dreams and what I envision for myself.”
And for those young girls who look up to Amara, she offers, “Nothing is impossible. You have one life to live. If you see an opportunity, take it. The worst feeling is regretting not having done it. If you have an opportunity, do it. Whatever your heart wants, go for it. Let people criticize. If you believe in you, that’s all that matters. Only you know what you are capable of.”
Follow Amara on Instagram @AmaralaNegraALN, and be sure to check her out on the next season of Love & Hip Hop Miami.
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Talent: Amara la Negra
Makeup: Lala @TheFashionistis
Stylists: Claire Sulmers & Valentino @ValentinoOmar
Cover Up: Isoken Ofe
Kaftan: Red Kaftan by Ela
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Custom by Valentino Omar
Shoes: Dolce & Gabbana
Custom by Valentino Omar
Rings: Patricia Adelson
Top: SG Couture