With only a camera, a few good friends and a spur of the moment decision, one Texas State student went from cooking in the kitchen to serving up looks.
Charles Rivers, business management senior, is commonly known for his food truck, BBs Chicago Cuisine, located on 128 Guadalupe St. However, Rivers has more to offer than just good food.
During a weekend in 2015, during Rivers’ freshman year of college, he and his friend Legend Johnson spontaneously decided to purchase a camera and host a photoshoot.
At the time, Rivers had no idea those photographs would eventually open a whole new path for him.
Shortly after the photoshoot, Johnson became friends with an executive from Black Line, a fashion magazine based in Houston. He showed them some of the photographs and ended up having the pictures published not only in Black Line, but Urban Vibe as well, a publication based in New York.
During the four years Rivers and Johnson have known each other, they’ve grown exponentially as artistic creators.
Since the images from the shoot during that weekend in 2015 have been published, Rivers said Johnson has turned their everyday lives into lives of celebrity photographers. Johnson has photographed numerous celebrities including Migos, Kevin Gates and Post Malone.
Rivers said having his work disseminated in several magazines and seeing Johnson become a celebrity photographer has highlighted how far along an idea can take someone and completely change their life.
“Having the support of your friends and seeing one another follow dreams and passions can take you pretty far,” Rivers said.
For both Rivers and Johnson, being able to grow so massively alongside a friend has made the experience all the more special.
Johnson said he enjoys working with Rivers and admires how skillful he is in front of the camera.
“(Rivers) is like a natural,” Johnson said. “Everything comes so easy to him.”
Contrary to Johnson’s beliefs, Rivers wasn’t always confident when it came to having pictures taken of him. At first, Rivers said he struggled with owning his look.
“The biggest thing for me was trying not to be nervous and learning how to just relax and have a good time in front of the camera,” Rivers said.
Ariana Richards, exercise and sports science junior, is Rivers’ girlfriend. She said once he started modeling for more people, he gradually became more confident in front of the camera.
Richards said Rivers doesn’t favor being the center of attention and struggles with acknowledging his true talent, but he can walk into a room and capture everyone’s attention without even trying.
“It’s not only his face but his character that shines through,” Richards said. “His spirit radiates and he becomes a magnet for people.”
Richards said she tries her best to remind Rivers of how talented he is by encouraging and helping him understand modeling comes naturally to him.
Rivers said photographers heavily impact how confident he feels on camera. He said he prefers shooting with photographers that direct him and give him guidance throughout.
Albert Monroe, freelance photographer, has been working with Rivers for about three years. Monroe was searching for a model for his clothing company, J Abrams, when Richards introduced him to Rivers. J Abrams was established in 2014 and is currently operated in Houston.
Monroe said he was impressed by the way Rivers modeled and began working with him on a regular basis.
“I like he has a very open mind and he’s really down for whatever,” Monroe said.
Monroe said he enjoys working with Rivers because he fits inside the vision he wants for his brand and likes how Rivers offers up his own ideas for a shoot.
Rivers said he wants to pursue modeling because he has grown to enjoy being on camera and it is another hobby for him in addition to cooking.
Rivers’ favorite part of modeling is the preparation aspect of a photoshoot. He said getting in the mindset for a few hours or even a day of shooting is like preparing for a basketball game or a highly anticipated date.
To get himself pumped, Rivers said he likes listening to pop music and putting himself in a positive mindset.
“Above all, I just try to think positive and thank God I get the chance to do this,” Rivers said.
Rivers has been contacted by numerous brands, including Adidas, but for now, he will continue to model for local clothing brands in Houston and for Monroe’s clothing brand.
In the near future, Rivers hopes to schedule more photoshoots with local San Marcos photographers.
Rivers has come a long way since his first photoshoot in 2015. From getting pumped up for a shoot to working with celebrity photographers, modeling is something Rivers has grown to love and hopes his career will flourish even further in the future.