Leading by example is paramount in all facets of life.
More often than not, when people reach their goals and become a success, they forget about the ones that will come after them. And, while searching desparately for fame they will do whatever it takes to reach some level of notoriety even it means going against their beliefs.
Tera Malichi, a 35-year old international model and mentor from Indianapolis, Indiana is the complete opposite of this description. After speaking with her and researching her journey, I discovered she’s all about staying true to herself, encouraging the youth and showing her mentees the right way to do things.
“I’m doing this for the young girls. I don’t do everything, and money cannot buy me. I’m representing God and my brand. I am very strong in my faith and try to walk in that at all times,” explains Tera.
However, Tera’s confidence level wasn’t always intact.
“…I didn’t fit the criteria of what was around me, blonde hair, blue eyes or fair skinned women. I knew I was pretty but I didn’t have the confidence to show it,” she said. Eventually Tera’s way of thinking changed.
She took a trip overseas to Paris in 2016, and she went to Bali, Indonesia in 2017 for a modeling gig.
“When I was in Bali, I discovered my purpose. I got quiet and started studying the things around me and re-evaluating my life,” she said. Mentoring young girls and modeling are Tera’s gifts and she wanted to find a way to build upon these two things.
Finding your path can be challenging in more ways than one. Especially considering your upbringing and the examples you have in front of you.
Back in the 80s, growing up in Indianapolis, Indiana on 42nd and Post Road, you didn’t hear about little dark-skinned girls wanting to be models. The kids usually aspire to be a famous athlete, work in healthcare, become a hair stylist, go to the military or work in the education field. Tera attended Indianapolis public school no. 91 and graduated from Pike High School.
Later, she attended Vincennes University and graduated with a Liberal Arts degree. She began heading mentor programs through Indy Parks and Recreation. Currently, Tera works for Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) in social services. In this capacity she is able to offer her mentor services and make a difference in the lives of adolescents.
“I’m so into this because I grew up in a divorced, unhappy home. Everything was so hush, hush. I don’t want kids to feel that way. I want to be the listening ear.” Tera said she aims to pull the best out of young girls and develop them in ways they didn’t think were possible.
Being a source for others can be rewarding and daunting at the same time. We all know humans are flawed and have to seek refuge and revitalization at times in order to be our very best.
For Tera’s 35th birthday she teamed up with a group of artists to participate in a photo shoot with a focus on transformation and elevation. Tera said this photo shoot was all about walking into her purpose. “He [the photographer] is taking this chocolate girl and showing a vision through her eyes. The dirt represents nothing [the very bottom] and the white stripes represent purity and calmness,” Tera explained.
Artprenuer Kevin Nance-West, photographer Terrance Lisenbee and make-up artist Chaka Pryor put their artistic talents together to create a thought-provoking photo shoot, one that Tera will never forget.