Talk about being at the right place at the right time! At the age of eighteen, Hencha Voigt left her home in Haiti to go attend college at St. John’s University in New York City. Who should spot her on her first night out in the city of lights and high towers, but a talent scout from the street wear clothing line FUBU! The Miami resident has been modeling ever since, showing off her unique look in music videos, commercials, and at club events.
Hencha Voigt lives to be Hencha Voigt. She’s a combination of attitude, spunk and, well, confidence. She’s like one of those popular girls you knew when you were in high school—the type who walked with a shrugging, overly confident air. The type who was whispered and gossiped about, but whose caravan could not be stopped.
Ms. Voigt discussed expanding her brand with Kreyolicious.com.
Your first name is pretty unique.
Yes, it is. It’s my father’s name backwards. His name is Charles-Henry, so he took the “Hen” from Henry and the “Cha” from Charles.
Do you always strive to stand out in life?
Everywhere I go, I’m always the sun of the venue. I stand out not only in looks, but in personality. I always make sure to leave a great impression and stamp my mark on that person’s memory.
Do you sometimes feel pressure to maintain a certain weight, or look a certain way?
Yes, because in this industry it’s all about having the best body and maintaining it. If not, the next younger, pretty girl with the fit, nice or curvaceous body will take your spot—quick.
You come across as someone who has a grip on her own style—who doesn’t adhere to trends. What fashion tips do you have to offer to girls out there?
I’m actually a trend-setter. I love fashion in every sense. My way of dressing varies, because I always switch it up. Rihanna is my fashion icon, so I feel I always have to keep up with her. She knows what’s in and hot!
If you’re down to your last dollars in your fashion budget for the month, what do you tend to invest in…accessories, hair or makeup…or clothes?I invest in hair, because I’m obsessed with weave and my hair always being on point! When my hair is done, I feel so brand-new and invincible.
How does Hencha Voigt define beauty?
I define beauty by first having a good heart inside and out, which is being a good person. Second, having a bomb ass personality, meaning you are your own person—kind, outgoing and original. Third is having a good body, which anyone can obtain if they eat healthy and stay in the gym. And last is the superficial part—which is a pretty face and how you carry yourself as a person and lady—meaning your hair, nails, make-up—if you like. Always looking clean and nicely done.
Do you feel beautiful?
I feel blissfully gorgeous. [Laughter] That’s more than beautiful!
From Young Berg, to DJ Khaled, Meek Mill and Rick Ross, you’ve played the lead and the feature model in several hip-hop videos. There are very few rappers who have not been chastised for the portrayal of women in their videos. Do you have a certain criteria in terms of what you will do or won’t do? Do you examine a song’s lyrics for example, before deciding to take part in the video version of the song?
First, I don’t do usually do videos if I’m not cast [as the] lead or feature [model]. There’s no point of being in it if that’s the case. Me being in videos helped put my name out there in the industry. Yes, I feel some type of way about video models being called “video hoes” or such sort of disturbing names, because I know my worth and I am way far from being that. It’s a job to me—just like some people get out of bed and go to their 9 to 5 job every day. This is how I eat and I also struggle to make ends meet. We all got to eat. Not all video models think like me; a lot of them do misbehave and act non-lady-like, and that’s where the stereotype is coming from. But like I said, I will stand for all the models like me. Not all of us have a bad image. People need to quit with that crazy, stereotyping issue.
What would you say are some of the pitfalls in the modeling business?
You have to be a really strong woman to survive in this business, because you will get f__ over multiple times—just because you are a pretty face. People will f___ with your money and it’s a 50/50 percent chance that you’ll always get booked because there is always somebody new and popping coming up in this game. So to always stay on top, I’m always on point—never slacking. I’m very diverse; I don’t only do videos. I’m a published commercial model, a fitness model, a host and an actress. Hollywood will soon be hearing my name.
If you could give the Hencha of say, three to five years ago, some advice, what would you tell her?
I would say to go mainstream and to stay away from urban modeling because there is more money and work in mainstream.
The classic movie actress Susan Hayward, who started off as a model was quoted as having said: “You aim at all the things you have been told that stardom means–the rich life, the applause, the parties cluttered with celebrities. Then you find that you have it all. And it is nothing, really nothing. It is like a drug that lasts just a few hours, a sleeping pill. When it wears off, you have to live without its help.” What are your thoughts on this?
This is the realest thing I’ve ever heard. She said it the way it is. The dream really stops at the door—in other words. It’s almost like a fake dream and lifestyle and if you don’t wake up from it, you might ruin your life forever. You got to maneuver quick and know what your next move is—or you’ll fail.
Are you opposed to doing reality TV?
That is definitely on my bucket list.
When you sit there and consider all of your accomplishments in life, which gives you the biggest source of pride?
I have accomplished a lot, but I am not even close to what I [want] to accomplish, so I can’t even [rank my accomplishments] yet. You’ll just have to put that question on pause and wait. [Laughter].
What have you learned about friendship so far in life?
You really have no friends in life, but your family. Friends are always envious and jealous. They slow you down and always want a piece of the pie you worked hard for without even giving ten percent of themselves in it.
You participated at the Miss Haiti International pageant last year, in Paris France. How did you like that experience?
It was amazing—the best experience by far, and I don’t regret anything about it…First time I’ve ever been to Paris and [all] I can say is [it’s] an amazing city. It was a great experience and opportunity. I made a lot of cool friends and visited an amazing country I had never been to. If I had to redo it again, I would and actually become Miss Haiti Universe next time. I didn’t take it so seriously; it was mostly fun to me. I know exactly what it takes to be any Miss now. I cried and laughed through the whole pageant; it wasn’t easy at all. I salute any Miss that has made it to the Number One spot because representing your country and nation as a young woman is very prestigious and difficult.
Are you and your parents close?
Yes, I love my mother and father. They are the best, they love me for me and never doubted me.
Are they proud of you?
They are my Number One fans and always have my back—no matter what!
What are your thoughts on natural hair versus chemically processed hair?
My thought on hair period, is do what makes you look good in the most natural way possible. Don’t go overboard, but be unique. If you’re going to wear you’re natural hair, rock it! If you’re going to wear weave, rock it! They all look amazing. I look good both ways and love them both!
Your fans follow your every move, and hang on to your every postings on social media. Some, it seems, even live vicariously through you. Where do you think all that fascination stems from?
It’s because I set my own trends and never care about critics or opinions. I live my life freely and live for myself. I make myself happy. I don’t care about society, rules and laws. They see it so they live carelessly free through me. I’m the realest it gets. [Smiles and winks]
Were you always that way? As in, did you always have that don’t-care-what-they-say attitude or is it something that developed as a result of an experience or string of experiences. I think for some of us out there, who do care what others think, wonder all the times about people who don’t care about what others think, and wonder how they got that way.
Yes, I was always that way. When you are the center of attention everywhere you go growing up—up ’til now, people talk and most of the talk is negative. I can care less about negative talk, because they don’t pay my bills or help me with my dreams. Any kind of talk to me is good, because I stay relevant and never die. Something like a legend. People wish they can walk a mile in my shoes because I’ve seen been done things they will never live to do or see.
It seems to some of your fans that the past year has brought a mellower Hencha Voigt. To what can this slight change of direction be attributed to?
Yeah, because life and its experiences mature you. I can’t stay wild and crazy forever; life has a way of taming its horses…I was the wild horse in this case. Traveling the world and meeting different people, and going to top official business meetings turned me into a business woman, and in business you have to keep the crazy out the door. I guess we live and we learn.
Do you have a favorite designer?
No. I love fashion broadly. I mix and match designers. If it’s dope—and in my taste—I’ll rock it—no matter the designer or the price.
You attended St. John’s University. Do you ever think about going back to school?
Yes, I do! I actually was thinking about that today! I am going back for forensic science. I love those crime shows! They influenced me to go back.
When was the last time you went to Haiti?
I go every month. My father always owned an airline. If you guys go to Haiti, go on HaitiAviation. Best experience ever!
Do you have any regrets?
Never have regrets; always a lesson!
A great number of models widen their brands. What are your plans in that arena?
I’m planning on being on the big screen. Acting is in my favor right now, because I’ve met many big name directors and they’ve proposed it to me many times. I’m actually in acting school right now. I’m tryna be the next Kim K: on screen, with my own clothing line, show, perfume etc. I’m on my way to the top!
So, you’re interested in widening your brand. If you were writing a book right now, and if you were basing it on a particular principle, what principle would it be?
It would be about society, especially the Haitian society. And the dos and donts. Who is society to tell you what is right or wrong! I would write a book about my life and how I did whatever the f__ I wanted and succeeded off of that.
[Photo Credit: C. Varela (Flapper Boudoir photos); Beach shot: James Cossna Photography; motorcycle pic via Instagram]