Model, Actress & Swimsuit Designer Draya Michele Is A Rising Star
The former “Basketball Wives: LA” star-turned-actress is ready to blow up.
She got her break starring on Basketball Wives: LA, but model/actress Draya Michele was never a basketball wife.
“Basketball Wives probably wasn’t the best fit for me, but I did what I had to do. That show started my career. The swimsuit line took off from there and I wound up quitting the reality TV thing. The swimsuit business was super successful and that was kind of all I needed at the time,” Draya tells us about leaving the show after the fourth season.
The swimsuit in question is Mint Swim, a line she’s designed and marketed since 2011. Two years later she launched her lifestyle clothing line Fine Ass Girls, and followed with another clothing line in 2016, Beige & Coco, for sophisticated women. (Keep an eye out for Michele’s exclusive collaboration with celeb-loved label Femme, out August 30.)
“I design everything myself, but I am exploring the idea of hiring a team of designers to try to take a load off me and also to freshen up the brand and give it a facelift and a bit of youth,” she says, emphasizing how important it is to give the next generation a chance.
“I believe that sending the elevator back down for young women and men designers who are like me, who just need the opportunity and that one thing to catapult their career.”
So, yes, she’s gorgeous, generous, and crushes it in a bikini, but Draya is so much more. She’s a businesswoman building her clothing lines from the ground up with nothing but grit, determination and 9 million Instagram followers, plus over 650,000 on Twitter.
“It’s very, very difficult,” she says about launching her clothing lines. “However, I had an advantage because I was on TV. Being on TV I accumulated a social media following which is extremely helpful in selling any kind of product. I was able to manage both a social media presence and brand, and they kind of both helped each other out. But it’s been very difficult, though I’ve had it a little bit easier than other brand executives and entrepreneurs.”
Draya grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania, daughter of an Italian mother and African-American father. Fascinated with skincare, at an early age she took esthetician courses before moving to L.A. to begin a career as a model, actor, designer and influencer. She built her following by appearing in music videos for artists like Kanye West, Fabolous, Quavo, Don Toliver, and Jay-Z.
“I like attractive, smart men,” she confesses. “My man right now”—Super Bowl Champ XLVII champ and New York Giants quarterback Tyrod Taylor—“is super smart and super outgoing and he can dance and he has an awesome smile and a hot body. And that’s what I love about him.”
Taylor lives in New York while Draya lives in L.A. where she’s pursuing the next phase of her career—acting. She’s appeared in numerous TV shows like Fox’s L.A.’s Finest with Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union, and Fox’s Star in which she plays social media influencer Chloe David.
“I’ve been getting my feet wet in acting and I absolutely really am enjoying myself in that space,” she says. Look for her this Christmas in the BET+ musical, Sound of Christmas starring Ne-Yo. But between acting, modeling and building her brand, all she really wants to do is go home.
“When I’m not working, I love being home, spending time with my kids. I’m definitely a mom,” she says with a firm nod of the head. “But you can add that I’m a hot mom.” So, we did, even though the photos say it all.