Twenty-year-old Nataya Smalls from Norwalk, Connecticut, is the new “ESSENCE It Girl.” Through the ESSENCE model bootcamp, Smalls proved she had what it takes to win a modeling contract with Elite Model Management and a fashion spread in ESSENCE Magazine.
We take a look at the burgeoning model’s life in pictures.
At three years old, Nataya giggles in her dad Leon Richardson’s arms on Easter Sunday.
Even at three, Nataya was a little fashionista in her adorable red polka dot dress and opaque white stockings.
Nataya Smalls, 4, and her older brother Brandon pose for a portrait.
Nataya proves photogenic at an early age as she poses for her first grade school picture at Silver Lane Elementary School.
At nine, Nataya gets into celebration mode with a “Blues Clues” birthday hat for her nephew’s first birthday.
In her tomboy phase, Nataya hangs with the fellas at her nephew’s birthday party.
Nataya rocks box braids for her fifth grade school photo at Silvermine Elementary School.
At her eight-grade graduation Nataya looks chic in a short haircut a-la Halle Berry while posing with her friend Teonna.
Goofing off with her Norwalk High School basketball teammates, Smalls sticks her tongue out at the camera.
Nataya and her Junior Prom date Isaiah make the perfect match, coordinating her pink dress and his vest. We love the side cut-outs and the jewel details on her prom dress.
Nataya chooses a haltered burnt orange gown for her Senior prom. The dramatic curls are to die for.
Nataya poses with her sisters Akilaah, Nenyelle and Nzinga. Her cousin Nekkah looks on.