Name: Candice Walton
Agency: Ursulawiedmann Models/ Natural Models
Claim To Fame: Walton started out modeling out for Fisher Price as a toddler. Later she became a face for Curls Unleashed, Belk, and other major brands. She also appeared on the CW Black Lightning.
Candice Walton’s career has been a family affair since day one. The former Fisher Price baby modeled as a toddler booking her first job thanks to a contest she was entered into by her parents. “I did like the little commercials they had back then. And the print work they had back then for Fisher Price. It was fine. I’m sure I don’t remember it, but my parents tell everyone,” she told HelloBeautiful.
“It was a worldwide search and it was a lot of people that came in. They told me how they had to wait in the line for hours.”
Nearly fifteen years later, as she dropped her father off for his 4am dialysis appointments he was just as fired up about her career as he had been from the beginning.
Caretakers would wave at her in the parking lot recognizing her regal curls, and sunny smile from the images he showed them during his regular sessions.
“I’d get there and the whole team would know me. I would never meet them, but he had showed everybody my pictures.” Her late dad couldn’t get enough of bragging about how his little girl had gone from hawking baby food to starring in huge beauty campaigns.
“Oh, this is my daughter. Yes, she’s a model,” Walton recalled him saying. “He was always bragging about me and definitely loved it. Like he went to one of my shoots and he had like the best time ever.”
Walton focused on school after her initial experiences with the industry but later she developed her own desire to try her hand at modeling. She started pursuing it seriously in her late teens.
“I wanted to be a model, but I didn’t start doing any like real photo shoots or anything until I was like 16 or 17,” she said. “And then from there I kept doing more and more and more, really pushing myself out there.”
Distance was a barrier for Walton who would repeatedly travel from Pittsburgh to face rejection from gatekeepers.
“It was hard being, I was in Pennsylvania, which is about three to four hours away from New York. So we would drive in New York all the time and I would constantly get shut down. Cause I wasn’t skinny enough. I wasn’t the right look. My hair wasn’t the aesthetic.”
Her family kept her spirits up. The whole brood would pile into their burgundy Toyota Sienna and distract her from the difficulties of her dreams with road trip activities.
“It was fun. Sometimes I would go, and it would be like all my siblings. I have three siblings, three younger siblings. It would be all of us and we would drive and you know we would listen to these tapes. It’s called Adventures in Odyssey, it’s these little Christian cassette tapes of like adventure stories.”
Her mother was happy to entertain her siblings while she routinely showed up to be told that she was too much of one thing or not enough of another. “If she was with the kids, she would stay in the car, I’d go into an agency and I’d get turned down.”
Because of the industry standard for what measurements constituted “straight” and “plus-size” models Walton was the odd girl out in the Manhattan modeling circuit.
“It was just hard finding work in New York because no one really liked my look. I was always too big or I was always too skinny to be plus-sized and too big to be a regular model,” she said.
If her size wasn’t an issue her curls were. Prospective agents would ask her “Can you perm your hair?”
“It was always some reason they didn’t want me. And if they wanted me, it was conditions,” she added. She was unwilling to meet those conditions, “So I never got signed in New York. And then fast forward a couple of years, I just moved to Atlanta.”
Just as they were at her side in the line for Fisher Price, and behind the wheel on the trip to New York her family followed her to the dirty South.
Her parents considered moving to Savannah, Georgia but decided a close suburb of the Black Mecca would be a better place to offer their daughter support.
Walton arrived ready to take her career to the next level. “Me and my family came to Atlanta. I was like, listen, I’m going to be successful no matter what,” she said. Living rent-free allowed her to focus on her goals full-time.
She started attending open calls right away, determined to make a name for herself by making the most of her opportunity.
“My first one here was Ursulawiedmann Models and they signed me on the spot,” she said. Her family was proud of her but she was also proud of herself because she had managed to secure representation without sacrificing her values, or her self-esteem.
“They loved my look. They didn’t want me to change. And that’s always an agency. I want it to be with someone who didn’t want me to change, who I am,” she said.
Who she was was someone who was loved and encouraged not to accept the world telling her that she was not good enough. “My mom and dad a hundred percent supported me, especially my dad,” she said.
“They always made it work and made it happen because they could see what the future held for me and the potential,” she continued.
As she shot editorial content and ads for brands like Curls Unleashed, and Aeropostale she shared the behind the scenes details with her loved ones.
“I did a Curl box shoot and I just loved it. It was all Black, everything. The whole team was Black and had a Black hairstylist who actually knew how to do my hair. I had a Black makeup artist where my makeup was amazing. Like the whole team was just so diverse and I really loved how it just was magic on set,” she said.
While forced social distancing brought in “a huge drought,” for Walton she isn’t letting it slow her down her hustle. She has begun acting and is working on developing her own skin care line.
“I don’t think I’ll be a model my whole entire life, but I want to definitely ride it until I can’t ride it anymore.”
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MODEL MONDAY: Candice Walton Is Carrying On Her Father’s Dreams was originally published on hellobeautiful.com