Who is your favorite fashion designer?
William Henry Rawls, he’s an independent designer and friend to me over the years. He’s made some of my most memorable looks over the years from my music video appearances to red carpet looks to editorial looks. As far as major designers, I love Calvin Klein & Ralph Lauren. They make classic timeless pieces so my closet is full of their clothes. Outside of them I really wish Olivier Rousteing at Balmain made clothes for my size! His work is amazing.
What is your favorite thing in your closet?
Currently it would be this new sweater dress I bought at Diane von Furstenburg (DVF). It’s EVERYTHING and has these amazing peekaboo cutouts in the fabric.
Tell us about The 16th season of Project Runway.
Well it was the very first time that they had models of ALL SIZES be a part of the week to week designer challenges. From size 2 to 22, they showcased various body types as well. I had the time of my life being there! To watch a show for many years but then experience it and to make history while doing it was awesome. I went on to become one of the first plus models to win the model portion of the show. Plus models don’t get many opportunities to slay the runway and I took full advantage. Each week I made the world my runway as viewers watched the show. It was a monumental season which I feel helped impact the NYFW shows for added change since.
What is the funniest thing to happen to you working as a model?
Well recently, I was shooting swimwear on the beach with Shane Suban and I dipped my hair back in the water to get it wet. I started to whip my wet hair around not realizing I never pinned my wig down and it flew off! I hope the bystanders didn’t catch it on their phones…
Tell us about your signature walk.
It’s confident, strong eye contact, nice pace, sexy sway with long strides with my signature Liris turn (half, half & spin out).
Tell us about your family.
I have the best of both my worlds. My mother is from Wilmington, North Carolina so I got those southern roots on her side. My dad is from Grenada, so I have the West Indian roots on his. My parents are retired pastors who also held government jobs. My dad, St. George Crosse, was a trailblazer in politics and in media culture back in Baltimore. I have one sibling, my older sister Karin Haysbert, who’s an amazing life coach and one of my best friends. I can sincerely say I love my family and enjoy spending time with them.
Where is your favorite place to vacation?
For a quick getaway in the US, I’d say Miami so I can lay on the beach all day, then dine at Larios, Prime 112 or Meat Market. Outside of the US, I’d say I love London. From the museums to the shopping to the nightlife, they have my heart.
How old were you when you first started modeling?
Professionally I had just turned 18, amateur wise I started in elementary school with church fashion shows and local shows.
Give us some fashion advice?
Well I talk about this in my new book, Make The World Your Runway among other things. Have fun with fashion by playing with accessories to dress things up and down. Find a great tailor to adjust hemlines or take pieces in or out because every brand/designer cannot make a garment to personally fit everyone perfectly.
Tell us about your favorite shoes.
I have a classic nude pump from Coach that I have been in love with for years. Nice skinny heel and perfect nude shade. It goes with so much. Less is more.
What is up next for you?
I just shot new campaigns for Maggie Sottero Designs and Trunk Club, so be on the lookout for those. I have a photo recreation shoot I did with Rah Mosley as an ode to Naomi Campbell and Tyson Beckford so check for that too. More TV, I ultimately want my own show. I also want to produce different shows. My own online boutique soon since people always ask about the clothes I wear. I’d love to get a great recurring role on a TV series. More speaking gigs to empower youth and women so everyone can Make The World Their Runway!
Do you have any favorite charities?
At The Well Conferences is my favorite. I have spoken the last two years at their leadership academy as we empower the next generation of young girls to lead in their future fields.
What was your favorite cartoon growing up?
Fat Albert, The Smurfs & Alvin and the Chipmunks. They told good messages and had good music too. And how could you not love Smurfette or the Chippettes!