Fashion House

Billy P and Jackie leavingFASHION HOUSE part I part II

This month, we at BE wanted to feature fashions that are ideal to the home. To give you a visual of what we meant, we commissioned Billy Payne. “If you can’t be yourself anywhere else, you definitely should be yourself at home. Whether it’s Armani suits or Ralph Lauren sweaters or Calvin Klein turtlenecks or if you like sweatpants and a wife beater, just make sure it’s clean and your body’s right! When it comes to personal choice regarding designers, he’s “very eclectic. I can’t pinpoint a specific designer over anyone else, but I like American Rag, Vintage Red of course and things that are stressed, that way if I step on the walk on the pants leg it looks intentional, things that are relaxed.” When you’re at home — especially when you live with your partner, “You don’t want to go around all the time looking un-kept. You have to remind them of what they have here and there home and not just when you go out.” 

At 24 years of age, model and actor Billy Payne has a lot to look forward to. He got his start in the industry at just 7 years of age as his mom sought to test the waters for his career. Growing up in Indianapolis, Indiana he found success doing fashion shows for department stores such as JC Penney and the like. Having discovered his passion for performing arts, his family began to enroll him in magnet schools that heavily stressed the arts. Once he became a teen he began to feel burned out and put his modeling career on hold to focus on high school and then college. It is then when he left the Midwest for Atlanta, Georgia.

As he focused on his studies, the passion that seemed a distant memory returned as he found himself needing money for school. This took him across the country to Los Angeles to further pursue his modeling and acting career. He plans to return there when his career permits. After speaking with him, you quickly realize that Billy P has wisdom beyond his years. When making choices, he suggests that you “Pray about it first and foremost before you make your choices and when you make mistakes, learn from them so you don’t make them again. To err is human.” But what can you expect from someone who has travel and survived in every nook of our nation?

Billy P’s biggest modeling endeavor to date happens to be the one that also made the biggest impact — his work with Coca-Cola. “That was the first really huge nationwide gig. From family members to [people I went to] high school [with], and especially my father, he came to see what I was doing was more than just a hobby. It is real.”

When asked to choose between his two passions, he chooses acting. “My first acting gig was as baby Jesus in the Nativity,” explains Billy P. “I’ve always been in every play and musical ever since.” If he could pick his favorite drama series on television now, he immediately reacts, “‘Lost.’ I am a huge fan of ‘Lost.’ All of the actors bring something to the table. They are all key character people in pivotal roles. From the actors to the writers to…or ‘True Blood,’ simply because I’ve always been a fan of vampires.”

Billy P’s advice for aspiring models/actors/entertainers? “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” he adds, laughing. “I know it sounds crazy, but if you know the right people, and have the right connections, you can bypass a lot of B.S.” His point underscores the necessity of not burning bridges, personal or professional in life because you never know who you may have to encounter under different circumstances in the future.

“My family is at the core of why I do what I do. I have always wanted more for myself and them. Being that I am the oldest male, that drives me.” His father especially inspires him. “He’s my hero, my role model. He is a pastor, he has dedicated his life to other people. He is so selfless. I do not know if I could do what he does.”

A collection of shots from Billy P's photoshoot. All photos by Jason L. Dinsmore

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