Kayla Mezo is a model, actress, stylist, and graphic designer. She is also the head of the fashion department at Project Level. As the head of the department, she is responsible for producing all of the fashion shows at PL as well as styling all of the artists during photoshoots. She was Director of Styling, and lead actress in Project Level’s short film “A Long Walk Home”. Her ability to take the lead in various projects at PL shows how determined she is to become a successful businesswoman, model, actress, and stylist.
Kayla developed a love for fashion at the age of eleven. She was most inspired by the bright colors and creative outfit ensembles of New Boyz and Willow Smith. At just twelve years old, she began modeling and styling for Project Level. Kayla’s decision to pursue a career in fashion presented itself as she continued to work at PL. She now manages ten interns, the most interns in any one department at Project Level. The hardest part about managing the fashion department is looking after so many people and making sure they are benefit from PL while also enjoying their work. “A lot of people are influenced by fashion, and I always have to make sure my interns are taken care of. It’s like having a little company of your own”, she states. Managing PL’s fashion department proves to be good practice for her future goals.
Mezo’s plan for the future involves owning a few different companies. She hopes to own a clothing and makeup company while continuing her work with Project Level. Although her focus is fashion and styling, she also aspires to be a successful model and actress. “I work best when all eyes are on me. I have the looks and I know how to work. I’m not just a pretty face, I know how to do my job”, she says. In the next five years, she hopes to continue to grow and improve her skills.
Kayla’s desire to start a business comes from her idols Jay-Z and Diddy. “They’re everything I want to be in life, and they’re African American. They own more than one business and they’re killing the game”, she exclaims. Her fashion icons are Zendaya and Rihanna. She loves their unique styles and the way they carry themselves. She praised Rihanna saying, “I love that she is so humble, and she is so beautiful and talented. You can’t compare her to anyone.” Mezo also looks up to Richard Bougere (Executive Director of Project Level) and Danielle Banks (Program Director of PL). “My family isn’t always supportive, and they don’t understand what I want to do with my life. They don’t think I will be as successful”, she says. “I definitely look up to Rich and Danielle. I don’t want to give up on them. I’ve known them for four years and they are there for me every day. They have helped me grow as a person, and I really love them for that.”
There are many difficulties being a teen and managing a busy career. Kayla says the hardest part is not being able to live like a regular teen. “Normal teens want to have boyfriends, go to basketball games, and parties. Me being a boss, I have to focus on keeping my grades up to continue school and keep my money up to travel and go places.” She expresses the importance of maintaining a balance between her high school career and so many other responsibilities outside of school. “Now it’s time to grind,” She says with a big smile on her face.
Not only is it hard to balance school and work; there are also many struggles that Kayla has to overcome as a model and a stylist. As a model, one usually has to adhere to certain standards. “It’s challenging to be a model. People are so judgemental. People don’t always agree with your creative process. In the modeling world, you have to be skinny, tall, and white”, she states. “For me, being a thicker model that isn’t the average body size, I’m out of the ordinary and it’s hard.” As a stylist she is constantly challenged to create concepts that other people are going to love. The most difficult part is working with your team and making sure that everyone is on the same page. “There’s always a problem, it’s always something new, but I always find a way to fix it. I never forget my main goal, and I have a clear vision,” she pauses, “You have to keep both ends equal. I keep my grades up and don’t slack on my work, and I don’t fall off!”
Kayla has accomplished so much through Project Level. Her proudest moment was producing a fashion show for Target and Uniqlo. The fashion show was created for teens to attend and learn how to dress for job interviews. She also recalls the PL Award show as one of her proudest moments. “We did it all by ourselves. It was a crazy experience, but we had so much fun!” She loves seeing of her projects come together in the process of event production. Her advice to young people trying to make it big is to go for their goals. “To really be about it you have to be mentally and physically able to do it. Know what you want in life, and have a plan. Don’t ever get discouraged because people don’t believe in you. You have to believe in yourself before anyone can believe in you.”
AT school she is BSU secretary and part of leadership group and at Project Level she is head of fashion department. She has produce all fashion shows and style all of the artist when they do photoshoots. She say's, " I am one of the graphics designers for the fashion department and create album covers. I am also an actress, I starred in PL’s “A Long Walk Home Video” about a girl who falls in love with a boy. It revolves around teen pregnancy and teen life. I also model, with my modeling career I’m trying to blast off on my social media and grow as a model. I have the looks and I know how to work. I’m not just a pretty face, I know how to do my job. "
Kayla’s List Of Accomplishments:
1) Hosted and presented a Pop up shop 2013
2) Created 2 online clothing brands (Marketing and Designs) 2013-2015
3) Styled Summer showcase/and produced fashion show 2013 (up cyling, tie dye distressing and bleaching)
4) Having a store booth at Fillmore district Jazz festival and Juneteenth
1) Created a 4 piece collection for Academy of Friends Fashion show
2) United Way Jobs Fair+ Fashion Show 2014 partnered with (Uniqlo)
3) Styled Summer showcase 2014( 90's theme fashion )
4) Visual Director for OCC makeup Content mode magazine blog
5) Attended Agenda Trade show Long Beach -Fall
6) Director of Styling Bay Area feature film (“A Long Walk Home”)
7) Created 2 Online Boutiques (Fbmboutique.com and ODTClothing.bigcartel.com)
1) Styled an Urban African fashion show
2) United Way Jobs Fair+ Fashion Show 2015 Partnered with Target
3) Created Theme, script, styled and a member of the marketing team for Project Level Awards
4) Director of Fashion Department of Project Level Junior Camp: teaching junior students from the age 4-12 fundamentals of fashion( runway walking, facials) and acting (tone, facials, presence)
5) Director of Styling Bay Area feature film 2015 (“Daddy issues”)
6) Styled EquipeMajor new Winter collection photoshoot for website
7) Hosted Project Level’s 1st Annual Awards show
8) Casting Director for “Daddy Issues”
1) Design Floor Plan for Vault Tradeshow (2016)
2) Co-Founder of Vault Tradeshow (2016)
3) Produced "Gridiron Hoops" Celebrity Charity Basketball Game
More to come !
Fun Fact: I like to dye my hair different colors and i can do a weird trick with my ear.