Contrary to popular belief, there are people striving and thriving beyond the Las Vegas Strip, in the Las Vegas valley. There are dreamers dreaming of something much larger than the strip. Milan Dixon proved to be one of those Las Vegas dreamers NOW residing in Los Angeles and thriving in the global modelling world.
More than another model or another inspiration, Dixon is a family friend. Milan’s mother has been my mother’s hairstylist for over two decades. Naturally, when Milan started making her mark in the fashion industry—whether it be her Elle Magazine South Africa cover, billboards across Las Vegas, or beauty cosmetic campaigns—my mother would share the excitement and share the news.
With the grandeur of her news growing weekly, I’m thrilled I had the opportunity to converse with Milan about her modelling journey, her personal graytness, mantras she lives by, and advice she has for aspiring models and/or millennials about building a brand and building a legacy.
Eager to learn about what compelled Milan to pursue a career in modelling, we opened the conversation with Milan detailing her foray into modelling as a journey to identity. Taller and thinner than most, Milan felt as if it wouldn’t hurt to try modelling. In an industry that is built on confidence, Milan noted that she, “started with such low confidence.” Nevertheless, her willingness to test out what others told her when she was younger—that modelling was her lane to strut—paid off, noting that she “Gave it a chance and it worked, [even helping] me with the confidence.”
What are your earliest and/or fondest memories of modelling before you booked your first major modelling gig?
Milan’s quest for identifying a world in which she fit in, was finally fulfilled in one of her fondest modelling memories—booking an exclusive with Paul Mitchell. Beyond stereotypical confidence boosters—lights, cameras, attentive hairstylists, makeup artists, stylists, etc.—it’s Dixon’s awareness and revelation of her client’s happiness that proved to her that she was, “Really doing it! What I’m supposed to do & I’m doing it right!”
What values have you brought with you from the beginning of your modelling journey to shape your perseverance towards fulfilling your purpose?
Milan has “done a lot of cool things.” Nevertheless, her faithfulness to the small things is what has brought to fruition the BIG things in her life! When conversing with Milan about the values she has carried with her throughout her modelling journey, humility and resilience proved to be major keys in unlocking Milan’s success.
Growing up, Milan noted, “In high school, I didn’t really try that much, but I was okay with being mediocre” As Milan forayed into modelling, her appreciation for her craft began to foster humility and resilience. Sharing on humility, Milan admitted that she doesn’t book every job, as “You win some, lose some.” Nevertheless, throughout time, she’s learned with resilience you have to “Be okay with all of these no’s before the yes! When you learn about timing, that makes so much more of a difference in your daily life. Go with the flow and you start to book more”
GRAYTNESS: The state of mobilizing confidence to excel beyond “good” and courage to excellently embrace [grayt]—best explained by the actualization of an individual’s potential, purpose, and perseverance to collectively impact their surroundings, with distinction.
What do you identify as your differentiating factor among other models? What is your [graytness]?
Milan’s personality is what sets her apart from your average model, noting that that her willingness to work—fused with her humility and resilience—takes her far. Sharing on her personal graytness, Milan confessed, “it makes the difference when you show that you have the work ethic. Giv[ing] my all to everything, small job, large job, as if it were my first job.”
What advice can you give to an aspiring model or millennial about using their gifts and talents to build a brand/legacy for themselves?
As a model and individual willing to go hard on whatever task or job she is given, Milan more importantly shared that there is significance in patience, perseverance, and gratitude when it comes to using your gifts and talents to build a brand for yourself, expressing:
- Be Patient
- Keep Going & Always Show Up!
- Be Happy for the small things
What are three (3) routine practices you implement to nurture and sharpen your differentiating factor?
Milan dropped further gems when sharing three (3) routine practices she implements to nurture and sharpen her graytness, expressing the importance of:
- Coming back to who you are: “Be comfortable with it! Be okay in that!”
- Separating yourself from the industry: “Make sure you have a lot of time alone!”
- Just showing up: “Personality always wins. Just be you! Just as long as you own it!”
(Photo Source: Photogenics LA)
EFFORTS & ETHICS
What and/or who do you attribute your [graytness] to?
If you’re wondering what gives Milan her zeal—when she feels the heat of rejection or criticism—it comes from her mother, Milan’s “go-to for everything.” As the woman who “knows the right things to say [amidst] all the cries & depressed moments about work,” Lonnie—Milan’s mother—is the cheerleader keeping Milan “in a good place.”
What makes you challenge the status quo in the fashion industry or withstand any adversity you may experience in challenging the lack of diversity in the fashion industry?
With that good place as the foundation, Milan goes beyond challenging the status quo in the fashion industry with her uniquely beautiful features (her Godiva chocolate complexion, her crown of a fro, or her signature gap). Milan challenges the status quo and withstands any adversity, with her persistence. Exemplified in her Fashion Week chronicles (one of the most cutthroat times for her), Milan’s willingness to “Just keep going! Just keep doing it! Show up!” is her way of challenging diversity within the fashion industry!
What are three (3) defining philosophies that you try to live by?
Understandably, the modelling world is not the most encouraging or uplifting of worlds—considering representation issues, pay issues, or issues with genuineness. Nevertheless, Milan abides by three defining philosophies that aim to push her life forward, including:
- Being & staying positive: “The older I get, I really believe that. Everything that happened in my career has happened because I put it out there.”
- Occupy your mind more on other things: Don’t put so much into [the overwhelming things in life] that it’s controlling your whole day!”
- “Spend more time on educating and empowering yourself!”
What was one moment of failure or success that would motivate someone else?
In closing, Milan shared on the importance of timing when it comes to internalizing a failure or a success. Models deal with rejection all of the time; Milan is no different, highlighting that, “Failures are overwhelming.” Nevertheless, Milan goes on to share that, “The highs are so much better because you were so low.”
At times we can’t control our failures or our success, Milan shares that when it comes to timing and realizing the manifestation of our dreams, sometimes, “It has nothing to do with you, and once you understand that, you’d be okay and willing to put yourself out there even more!” Even if we have all of the support—managers, publicists, agents, mothers, parents—it is our job to just go, and “Just do it!”
Evident in her ever-growing list of accomplishments, Milan Dixon is a living testament to the idea of “Just going & just doing it!” The only thing we have to lose, are our dreams! Are you willing to lose your dreams? If not, “Just. Go. Do. It!”
[GRAYT PEOPLE] Profile Series curates an informational collective of inspirational individuals who have shown what it means to mobilize confidence to challenge [GOOD] and mobilize courage to champion [GRAYT]—highlighting their past, their journey to their [graytness], their efforts and ethics, their motivation, and their aspirations.