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New Looks, Same Goal: Meet Divinity Modeling Troupe

Divinity Modeling Troupe is one of the fastest-growing organizations on campus, with a recent rebrand and mission to show that beauty is not just in how you look, but in how you act and how you interact with your community. 

Divinity is an on-campus modeling organization, focused on creating a community for those interested in what modeling has to offer. They work with editorial and runway modeling in particular, and put a heavy emphasis on their community and public outreach. 

“When it comes to community service, we collaborate with Diversity and Inclusion, Career Opportunities, National Pan Hellenic Council, and wherever we can,” Erika “Kita” Umana, a senior marketing major and President of the modeling troupe, said. 

Kita Umana, President of DMT.

Umana has been modeling since she was 16, and grew up in and around pageants. She joined Divinity – then under the name ViaJesus – in her sophomore year, and by her third semester in the organization, she became President. 

“Being fresh into the role of President, I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew I had a direction for us,” Umana said. 

ViaJesus was the initial name of the troupe, a name rooted in their belief that God made you the way you’re meant to be. 

“The reason we had named it ViaJesus is because we believe that God made you in the perfect image, so you don’t have to change for anybody,“ Umana said. “You’re perfect just the way you are.” 

The name may have changed, their values remain the same: community, networking, and beauty, both inner and outer.

Umana is President of the troupe and oversees everything, but she is far from alone and running it; Divinity has five people in leadership, each with a job to do and an equally passionate love for modeling. 

Kaleb Tillery, Vice President of DMT.

Kaleb Tillery, a junior biology major, is serving as vice president for the troupe. Tillery has only been modeling for a year, but he became familiar with the runway even before that; for many shows Tillery performs in drag under the persona “Ruby Rayne.” 

“I literally found it through a flyer hanging in a hallway, and my friends told me I should do it… I’ve loved it ever since,“ Tillery said. 

Tillery uses drag as a form of expression in modeling, and encourages others to do the same. 

“Clothes don’t define who you are, and you should feel free to express yourself, no matter what people think,” Tillery said. 

Jaisha Grice, model director of DMT.

Jaisha Grice, a senior criminal justice major, serves as one of the two model directors in the troupe. Grice began modeling two years ago, though she has only been working with Divinity for one year. 

“I was always thinking about it, because I like taking pictures, but I wanted to try something different, so I just went for it. I went to the interest meeting and was stuck ever since,” Grice said. 

According to Grice, she was not as social as she is now, and that modeling helped her to reach that point. Now, she wants the main takeaway for participants to be the community behind the troupe. 

“It’s more than just modeling, we’re here to help everybody embrace themselves,” Grice said. “It’s to help people come out of their shell, to meet people… We do more than just modeling, we do hangouts and community service as well.” 

Mario Price, model coordinator for DMT.

Mario Price, a sophomore mass media major, is the other model director. Price has been modeling runway shows for two years, but has done editorial modeling for six. Like Tillery, he was encouraged by his peers to model. 

“Everyone around me would say, ‘you walk like a model, you should try it, you should try it,’ and I was just like, ‘Maybe I should try it,’” Price said. 

Price reiterated the importance of community within the troupe, as well as the goals provided by the troupe. 

“We’re always looking for different ways to help people get out of their comfort zone, get them to increase their creativity, increase their confidence, and just get their foot wet with becoming a model,” Price said. 

Finally, Bruce Huff, a senior international business major, serves as the photographer and media coordinator for the troupe. Huff has been doing photography professionally for six years, and sites his family as the reason he’s been interested. 

“What got me really into it was my brother. He said he could take better pictures than me, so then it became a competition. I ended up buying a camera, and I never went back,” Huff said. 

All five members of leadership have worked incredibly hard to get the troupe where it is today, and have big plans for the future. These ideas are what make the Divinity Modeling troupe, as the name suggests, divine. 

Written by Bailey Wilson, Campus Life Editor. Photo Courtesy of Kita Umana.

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