Today we’d like to introduce you to Edward Tapia.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in the Lower East Manhattan in New York city. I was born with a cleft palate, Cleft lip, and heart murmur. Being born with a cleft palate and lip wasn’t my only problem. Along with it came the issue that I was not able to speak, as well as my teeth being ruined. These are common issues for children who are born with both problems. At the age of 15 I was suicidal due to feeling bullied, unwanted, unloved, and rejected. But God had a plan for my life, and I was not able to fulfill the suicide. The things that I encountered made me build strength, character, and boldness. I learned to love myself in my own skin. God was with me every step of the way and gave me the strength to overcome my inner fears and insecurities. One day I realized that I couldn’t change the fact that I was born with a cleft lip and palate. I said to myself “Edward, you can’t change the way you were born, but you can change your present and your future”. I started to practice “self-talk” and speak positivity into my life. I came up with my own quote “Embrace your today, and your tomorrow will be brighter”! Which means embrace who you are in this moment, and love everything about you including your flaws and imperfections. Then you begin working on a better version of yourself which will make your tomorrow “brighter”.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
The biggest challenge to overcome was learning to live with my cleft lip, cleft palette, and falling in love with the image I saw in the mirror every day. I hated everything about me. I wrapped myself in the shadows of darkness. My circumstances were the reasons for other’s jokes, laughter, and amusement. I hope everyone that is reading this interview understands that you are more than worthy and enough to be anything you would like to be in life. Know that your circumstances and people’s opinions of you do not define who you are. Instead understand that it’s the fuel we need for us to push, reach our destiny, and success. I thought my cleft lip was my nightmare, but it was my blessing in disguise. I learned that I have the power in my hands to be anything and everything that I WANT TO BE! I have learned that true beauty dwells on the inside and reflects on the outside. My platform is empowering others to become bigger and greater than what they’ve ever dreamed of. I have shared my story as an invited guest speaker at public schools, hospital camps, and various events. I am currently involved in community service and utilize my social media platforms to impact the world. This is my opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
I am STRANGE! I am Strong, Talented, Radical, Noble, Genuine, and Eclectic. Why work with me? I bring something different to the table. I’m breaking the barriers of fashion’s height, weight, and even age requirements. I’m not a typical guy that fits in a mold. I represent that being different and unique can still make you successful. Today I am a singer, actor, and international model. I have modeled in NYFW, CAFW, LAFW, WCFW, and Durham Fashion Week, just to name a few. I have walked for various designers in various fashions shows throughout the U.S and out of the country. I have also been featured in several magazines. I was a finalist on the reality TV series, “The Fashion Hero” hosted by Brooke Hogan. I have also been involved in pageantry since 2016 and have held several pageant titles including “Mr. Florida Prestige 2016”, “Mr. Florida Man of Distinction 2018”, and “Mr. Classic Wow Universe 2021″ for Wow Pageant held in London, UK. Today I proudly represent the “All World Beauties and Man of Distinction Pageant” as the reigning “Mr. Man of Distinction Ambassador 2021”. I take pride in our pageant pillars of “Inner beauty”, “Empowerment”, and “Service” and I live by them every day. There may be a lot of competition in this world, but not everyone has my story. We all have that “IT FACTOR” inside of us. Many times, we just need that 1 person to give us the chance to showcase it.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
My advice to people that live life procrastinating is to stop for a moment and think about those goals, aspirations, and desires that you have. What is stopping you from making them happen? Many times, it’s you. You have become the stumbling block to your own success. You are allowing your personal fears of failure to stop you from moving forward with your dreams. Understand this, we learn and grow from our failures. Many times, we feel discouraged because we expect family and friends to help us become successful. Unfortunately, many times family and friends aren’t the ones that contribute to your success. Sometimes it’s a co-worker or someone you happen to meet along the way. I’m here to tell you all you need is YOU, your vision, and your dream. You don’t want to find yourself wrapped up in should’ve, could’ve, would’ve moments. I dare you to be bold, conquer your inner fears, and make your dreams your reality.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
Success to me is understanding that I will encounter fears, doubts, and failures. Nevertheless, I will learn, grow, and gain the strength and wisdom necessary to accomplish my goals and make my dreams come true. If I have reached my goals, aspirations, desires, and purpose in my life, I am successful! My mission is to help others see their value, self-worth, potential growth, self-love, and a scope of what success looks like. You are all welcome to come see the world through my eyes. We’ve all heard the famous quote from our beloved Eleanor Roosevelt “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”.
What’s next for you?
That’s an awesome question. With 2022 coming around the corner I have quite a few things in mind. It is my goal to begin writing a second book that will impact lives all over the globe. One of the things I will also focus on is to continue breaking barriers locally and on international runway shows being a body positivity advocate. The world of fashion needs to truly understand that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. I will begin the new year of 2022 with a front cover feature including a full spread for an International Magazine. The biggest thing that I’d say is next for me is to own a building that would have a fashion boutique, photography studio, and a modeling school. I want to continue being that voice that many have not heard from. I want people to know that you if you can “DREAM IT, YOU CAN BE IT”! We have the power to become bigger and greater than what we’ve ever dreamed of. It is my ultimate goal that with everything that I do or say, I can be part of the change that we need to see in the world. I want to be the voice of inspiration and motivation that speaks life into all that need it. It’s never too late to be all that you would like to be!
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
People can feel free to connect with me on my social media pages. My Instagram page is: edward_tapiafashionmodel, Tik Tok: fashionableeddie, and my Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AWBMODAmbassador I can be reached via email for interviews, questions, and appearances by writing to: email@example.com
Photo Credit: Lamar Penick Photography
Designer/Stylist/Hair: Santia Mckoy, SM Custom Design