RAW turns 8 on March 12th! It’s been an incredible 8 years of discovering the most beautiful and brilliant art all around the world and giving those artists a platform to share their art with their community and beyond.
We are celebrating 8 years of RAW by sharing 8 success stories from our artists. Each day leading up to our 8th anniversary we are sharing a new story on our social media and in a blog post! Each story is so unique and epic, so we hope you enjoy reading each of them and are inspired by their creativity, hard work and persistence.
Today we get to hear from totally original and passionate artist Angela Rene Roberts. Angela is an artist at heart with a drive and eye for style. Being a model and an artist, Angela knows body art like no other. Get a glimpse into her world in this in depth Q&A.
1. What’s your story? Where did you begin and where are you now?
The person I am now is what family and bullies said I could never be growing up: An accomplished professional model and an international award-winning artist! I always loved art. But it was suppressed. Sometimes by people who meant well. Others were just mean. One family member destroyed a collection of drawings I made as a child. That still hurts. Success in athletics was coached hard as a way to college. I was a scholarship track Heptathlete studying architecture before bad coaching drove me to bad hurdles accident. The coaches, trainers, and college medical staff just wanted to cover it up and free the scholarship funds for another athlete. I modeled a little between 17 and 20 years old. Recovering from a severe concussion, minor neck injury with sometimes scary symptoms, and change of life plans without college, I wanted to model more seriously. I searched for good photographers to help build my portfolio. One photographer who also modeled in many countries was impressed by my art skills. A new life started in that coffee shop. He introduced me to special-effects and high-fashion makeup, the world of fine art bodypainting, and how a lady and wife should be treated.
2. When/how did you get involved with the RAW community? What was your first RAW show and how many shows have you done?
I first heard about RAW from a Baton Rouge photographer I modeled for. I submitted and was excited just to be accepted. After 3 RAW showcases in New Orleans I was awarded Regional Makeup Artist of the Year! My next showcase was as the National RAW Award winner in the ceremony in Los Angeles! I was equally happy to join another showcase in New Orleans the next year in grateful support. RAW helped me evolve socially and learn how to bring studio skills into excited environments full of distractions. Beyond RAW, I’ve lost count of how many shows included my live and recorded work.
3. What was the hardest part of your journey and how did you overcome it?
Art is natural for me. Even the challenge of adapting to different media and methods is therapeutic. Interacting socially was the really hard part for me. Haters tried to hurt me. Some succeeded. I grew up with harsh people telling me for so long that I wasn’t good enough. I’m afraid a part of me believed it. That problem lingers and bothers me at times. To live these dreams and do this work on any given day, I must overcome the doubt it causes. People who were supposed to be friends burglarized our studio home while we were in Los Angeles for the National RAWards. But so many others gave so much love and support. I’ve made the most amazing friends who helped so much. But even a room full of people who love you can be scary!
4. How do you define success?
Doing what I love the most for a living! Emotional health and happiness is more important than money. When others admire my work, that memory is treasured long after the compensation is forgotten.
5. Have you met anyone or got opportunities through RAW that have added to your story? How has your story changed due to these connections?
Make-up Designory co-founder Paul Thompson was a validating and empowering influence. The RAW win directly elevated my notoriety which lead to casting as an artist on the TV-series Skin Wars. To work with people like Rebecca Romijn and Ru Paul affirms that dreams can become reality. Before the win, RAW motivated me to build the portfolio of work that helped build my business as an artist. I don’t think it’s possible to quantify how many clients were favorably influenced.
6. What are some of the highlights of your pursuit?
The RAW National win is a great highlight! I’ve been fortunate to win many other prestigious awards since, even on the world competition stage in Austria. Even though I knew it was there, I was still overcome by surprise when I saw me on a New York City Times Square billboard. Some mainstream magazine covers and surprise editorials were exciting to discover. A highlight of life was our Atlanta wedding in body paint as the finale of a Living Art America show with over a dozen amazing performances adorned in body art. A documentary will soon be released.
7. What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew 5 years ago or something that you think everyone pursuing a successful art career should hear?
I let the opposing opinions of important people hold me back. I can only imagine how much more I might have accomplished if I stopped allowing them to interfere with progress on the path my choice long ago.
Angela, your story is so empowering! It's incredible hearing how you used the negativity to grow and become so strong and secure in your art. All of you accomplishments and awards are so well deserved and we are just happy to have given you one of them. Thank you for sharing your story and beautiful mind with your RAW family. We all wish you the best and can't wait to see what's next.