Before Yvesmark Chery was fronting campaigns for Calvin Klein and H&M, he was going to school with ambitions for a career in IT. Though his Philadelphia upbringing did little to help him see modeling in his future, a chance casting at the encouragement of his then-girlfriend would end up changing everything.
Since then, the 24-year-old Hatian-American has carved a lane for himself not only as a rising name in fashion but as a role model for those who don't fit conventional beauty norms. As one of the few working models with vitiligo, his unique features have been embraced by everyone from Private Policy to Opening Ceremony. He was also recently featured in a YouTube film on Black Renaissance alongside Barack and Michelle Obama.
PAPER caught up with Yvesmark to discuss his blossoming modeling career, how he grew comfortable in his own skin and how he's using his platform to inspire others.
Full look: Ermenegildo Zegna XXX
As someone that did not originally plan on entering the modeling and fashion landscape, how has your experience been thus far?
My experience in the modeling industry has been a blessing. I remember my very first casting; all the models and staff were very supportive and encouraging of my career. Someone actually walked up to me that day and said they wish they had my skin condition. Still till this day I receive the same positive feedback when I model and it pushes me to improve my craft.
What motivates you to pursue modeling?
I find complete joy when I model. I love not only being on set and meeting new people but the journey itself. In that journey, I find new inspiration and motivation daily. Whether it be from helping someone by sharing my story or modeling in a major campaign, I take each win, no matter how big or small, and use that as fuel to push me towards accomplishing my goal.
How did you grow to become comfortable in your own skin?
Growing up I wanted vitiligo off from my face. My thought process was that I can hide the Vitiligo on my body with clothing, but there was no way to hide my vitiligo on my face (only with makeup which I didn't want to do). However, there came a point in time where I stopped caring about my skin and that is due to my belief in God, my support system (friends and family) and my goals. Focusing on those important areas in my life helped build self-confidence and love for myself.
What does it mean to you to represent so many people who have faced similar challenges?
Vitiligo has definitely been a blessing in disguise. I have a natural talent for modeling but my vitiligo certainly enhances that natural ability. To be able to represent many people who deal with similar challenges is humbling for me and I am grateful for the position I am in. Helping people in anyway that I'm capable of doing has always been fulfilling to me, so it's great that I'm able to help people on this larger scale.
Shirt: David Hart, Shorts: Vintage Dries Van Noten, Socks: Falke
How do you envision your career unfolding?
My goal for modeling is to be #1 and I believe that this is only the beginning.
How do you plan on utilizing your platform over the course of your career?
I plan on utilizing my platform as a safe space for all people. I will continue to promote self-love and redefine the measures of beauty.
Jacket: Teddy Vonranson, Shirt: Victor Li, Shorts: Ankvas, Earring: Mounser
Favorite campaign/ project you've worked on thus far and why?
I'm very grateful for each campaign I've received because each one has brought me closer to my goal and has assisted with the elevation of my career. As a result, I do not have a favorite because each campaign/ project has a special place in my heart.
Do you have any dream modeling jobs?
I would love to do an Yves for Yves Saint Laurent campaign. I love the play on words [laughs]. But besides that I'm literally doing my dream jobs with every gig I do because I didn't plan on being a model in college.
Shirt: David Hart, Pants: Teddy Von Ranson