Riley Montana, Model

Givenchy Spring 2014 Campaign with Erykah Badu and Riley

"Three weeks ago, I worked on the Givenchy campaign with Erykah Badu [5] and the photographers Mert and Marcus. It was the first big job that I’ve booked as a model. Actually, on my way here [to ITG], I saw that Riccardo Tisci tagged me in an Instagram of the campaign, where he wrote ‘Black Angel.’ It’s so surreal. And working with Erykah Badu was amazing. She is really sweet and really funny. I grew up in Detroit listening to her—my mom was always playing either Erykah Badu or Mary J. Blige. Every day. So on set, I was like, ‘OK, this is happening.’ She was so silly, making jokes and everything. And she looks amazing! She looks like she’s 20—so beautiful.

Growing up, people always told me, ‘You should model, you should model.’ But I was pretty insecure because I was also made fun of for being so dark and skinny. I just thought people were being nice when they said that, but after people I didn’t know started saying I should model, it was like, 'Maybe I can really do this.' Now that I’ve booked Givenchy, my family is going crazy—I’m 22, the baby of the family.

Before I started modeling, I just washed my face with hot water and soap, but with this job and so many people touching my face, I have to use a facial cleanser. I’ve been trying Cetaphil, and it actually helps a lot. I got that from Pharrell. He looks so young—I had to know what he did, so I Googled it. And I drink a lot of water—that came from Pharrell, too. [Laughs] Other than that, I keep my face really moisturized with Pond's Dry Skin Cream. I just use a very little bit because I don’t want to be too oily.

I don’t really wear a lot of makeup, since I get made up for work. When I’m not modeling, I like to give my skin a little freedom, so instead of using concealer and a full face of foundation, I just use L’Oreal True Match Liquid Makeup in Soft Sable as a highlighter underneath my brows, and sometimes down the center of my nose to give myself a little light. It’s two shades lighter than my skin tone—I learned that from a friend of mine who's a photographer—and I apply it with this little, flat angled brush. He also told me to stop filling in my eyebrows with a black pencil. He actually took it away from me. [Laughs] My eyebrows are so not there, so I have to fill them in—really lightly—but now I use a brown MAC Eye Brows pencil instead; it looks more natural.

I used to wear fake lashes, but now I can see that they looked so phony. I could get away with stuff like that when I was first modeling in LA, but in New York everyone was like, ‘No.’ Now when I go to castings I just wear Mary Kay Ultimate Mascara. It works well on my lashes, so you can see them a little.

For my hair, I like to use a flat iron. If I’m feeling like curls, I can curl it with the flatiron, too, because I have one of the curved ones—the Remington Pearl Pro Ceramic. It gives a good curl. People usually say you need to have a really nice flat iron, but I spent $30 on mine and it works wonders. I just broke one in London because the outlet made it burn out—I was so mad! It makes my hair bone straight without having to use any styling products. You can’t tell me anything after I use my flat iron!

I never used to wear perfume, but a friend of mine whose father works for Nicki Minaj gave me her perfume, Minajesty. The bottle was really cute, and it smells really good! I wear it everywhere. People are like, ‘What are you wearing?’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, just some Nicki.’ [Laughs] It’s what I’m wearing right now, at this moment.”

—as told to ITG

Riley photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on December 12, 2013.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Caterinamorrone

    What a sweetheart! Best Wishes on your modeling career.

  • Alisha Zenaida

    She's insanely beautiful. Finally we get to see some diversity. Can you guys please interview Jasmine Tookes. She has flawless skin. For Riley, wish you the best.

    • petal

      I don't really get the 'finally we get to see some diversity' type comments. Many women of colour have been featured on ITG.

      • kneelbeforetigers

        WORD> > ITG is one of the BEST on diversity, across all beauty and fashion. There's some other beauty sites (*coughByrdiecough*) that NEVER focus on women of color. So SHOUT OUT to ITG... and please get Lupita STAT!!!!

  • Chloe

    Gorgeous!! You go girl!
    xx Chloe

  • linh

    What a beauty, I also Googled what Pharrell uses on his face...

  • Ari

    Gorgeous! It's so crazy how life works out. What a beautiful shoot.

  • Erric Hall

    So humble & down to earth

  • Guest

    My God, she's lovely. And from my hometown of Detroit, too! "Bankrupt" my arse! Way to represent, little sister. I hope you have a long and successful career.

  • Mady


  • Maya


  • Emily

    She's beautiful and I absolutely LOVE that she uses products the rest of us have heard of an can afford.

  • Zoe Cayetano

    She looks stunning! I love her. Great post!


  • Jenelle

    She is absolutely gorgeous! And yes to using Mary Kay mascara, I discovered that about a year ago and when I use Mary Kay and Benefit's They're Real mascara my lashes look like they could be fake.

  • murt

    She is gorgeous - looking forward to seeing her in more campaigns!

  • Jessica

    What a great little interview! I sympathize with the UK electrical outlet frying her flat iron, and her being mad. It's like a rite of passage, almost, for travelers.

    I love how Riley just Googled Pharrell's skincare regimen.

    Pond's! Mary Kay! Nicki Minaj!

    Great interview, best of luck to Riley.

  • Sarah

    Wow! What a beauty -- I can't stop staring at her.

  • Michelle K. Lee
  • 1Alouette

    Love this! She's a gorgeous lady and I wish her plenty of success! xx

  • Marie


  • Emily Ralph

    what a gorgeous lady, and i love how down-to-earth her list of products is!

  • Drey

    she rocks!!! and gonna try some secrets beauty that she gots!

  • RTG

    Congratulations! You're a lovely person. All the best.


Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Pond's Dry Skin Cream
MAC Eye Brows
Remington Pearl Pro Ceramic 1" Flat Iron
Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj Minajesty Eau de Parfum
L'Oreal True Match
L'Oreal Paris True Match Liquid Makeup – Soft Sable
Mary Kay
Mary Kay Ultimate Mascara