Monday 15th November

| BY Livia Rose Johnson

Truth and Beauty: Florida-based Musician, RC, in Conversation with Livia Rose Johnson

“Whatever you got, you gotta create. That’s how I feel. You gotta create your beauty. Until you feel like you’re beautiful.” For RC, the Florida-based actor and musician, feeling good about himself took time. He talks to Livia Rose Johnson, a casting director, model and prominent figure in the Black Lives Matter movement, about finding confidence, authenticity, and resilience.

Livia Rose Johnson: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

RC: I’m originally from Haiti. I came here when I was about 8 years old. I grew up in a foster home. My life’s been a journey. I love it. It’s been a beautiful struggle, I could say. I’ve been through my trials and tribulations. I just don’t know where to start.

LRJ: Maybe start with a time when you felt the most bold or beautiful in your life.

RC: This magazine shoot. I felt it. It was something different. It’s like a different view. I’m used to taking photos on my own, but this was kinda like a graduation.

LRJ: Typically, bold and beautiful signifies physical beauty, but it goes deeper than that. Bold and beautiful has a theme of authenticity and theme of resilience.

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RC: I feel like the word beauty is kinda like comfort. Like comfortability. You have to be comfortable with yourself. When you’re feeling uncomfortable that energy is going to show.

LRJ: I agree. Can you tell me more about your environment? You’re in Florida right?

RC: Yeah, I am. I’m on the beach.LRJ: And you’ve lived there the whole time you’ve been in America?

RC: I lived in Queens for five years.LRJ: Oh Purr! My mom’s from Queens.

RC: I lived 5 years in Shadyville, Queens Village. I worked at UPS. I was about to become a UPS driver. Moved to Florida. Been here since then, doing music, modelling, a little bit of acting. I’m mostly trying to do my acting thing right now.

top by Giorgio Armani, coat and trousers by The Row

LRJ: That’s so fire. And is that how you feel the most bold and beautiful?

RC: Well, that’s one of them. Me and my son did a whole video for John Legend. My homeboy set it up for me. I was all excited for the video. It led me to the music path. You know how they say art imitates life? I felt like life imitates art. The stuff they had me doing, it was kinda a reality check. They had me selling drugs and stuff like that. And unfortunately, that was my main thing at the time. So that was my eye opener. I was like “Woah.” And I thought, “fuck it, I could do music too.” After seeing me in the video I was like, “I could be a rapper.” So, I tried it and it’s not going that bad for me.

LRJ: Do you think your look has anything to do with being bold and beautiful?

RC: Growing up was rough. You have your pretty boys, but I was always on my own. First, I couldn’t communicate because I couldn’t speak English right. I didn’t like my ears. Didn’t like my nose. Even my gap [teeth]. I didn’t like my gap. But now I don’t care. I feel like it’s what’s unique about me. Some people would tell me to, “Smile!”, but there’d be nothing to smile about. I came across as a tough, bad guy and people didn’t talk to me at first because they thought I looked mean. But I embrace it now.

LRJ: Was there a specific moment where you were like, “Fuck it! I’m going to love myself. I’m not going to judge myself based on other people’s perceptions and I’m going to be my most authentic self”?
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RC: There was this one time in alternative school, I was trying to talk to this girl. She was kinda like, “you ugly… you this, you that.” Normally stuff like that would bring me down but at that point, I was okay with the way I looked. To overcome stuff like that, you have to get to know yourself. For instance, when my mom came to America, she created a life out of her dreams. Whatever you got, you gotta create that’s how I feel. You gotta create your beauty. Until you feel like you’re beautiful, other people are not going to see it. Beauty is more than looks. Personality has a lot to do with beauty. Everybody’s going to get something different out of another’s beauty

LRJ: It’s perspective. Beauty has a lot to do with the eye of the beholder. When you reflect on being bold and beautiful, it must be just an internal feeling.

RC: It’s like, when you meet someone, you’re not attracted to [them] at first and when you get to know them everything changes. The person, out of nowhere, gets beautiful to you. You start to see something else.

LRJ: Definitely. How does having confidence play a role in your life?
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RC: Confidence is something you learn how to do. I wasn’t always this way. I never used to take pictures, which I regret now. With my lifestyle, if you don’t have confidence, you’re done. Being in the streets, you gotta have confidence. You’re the only one who’s got you. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, nobody will have any in you. Confidence plays such a big role in the world.

LRJ: I feel like being bold and beautiful and confidence are synonymous. It’s about overcoming struggle. How do you feel boldness and beauty foster in your community? How has being bold and beautiful intersected with your activism and what impact has that had on your life?

RC: Growing up it was this Haitian American identity that defined me in school. For me, it’s a mixture. I’m Haitian, but I’m also American. There are certain things that I do that would go against Haitian tradition. It’s like a battle between my foster family’s side, and my Haitian side. I feel like my confidence is me doing what I want to do. I feel like that’s all that matters in life, because once you die, all that’s going to matter is your accomplishments. It’s how this country works. If you work now, you get paid later. I connect with people, with younger Haitian kids. It’s like a generation gap. Now that I’m a father, I understand more from my mom. I try to stay in touch with kids from my community. It’s kind of hard to, though.

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LRJ: What do you mean by that?

RC: For example, there’s this kid across the street, and he asked me if I could buy him a pair of shoes when school was opening up. I was that kid at one point, who didn’t have shoes for school. His mom told me to stay away from him after I bought him the shoes. There’s just a lot of protectiveness in the Haitian community, which is why it can be hard to connect with the kids. I try to do what I can though, like I helped with a backpack drive. When I first took pictures for clout, I realized I could make a living out of this. Nothing really worked out, but I got to a point where I just fell in love with my work, so I continued to do it anyway. I get joy out of making songs. I put out music and shoot videos and I get confidence. Especially being Haitian, the support isn’t there. I feel like as a parent, time is everything, but they say time is money. It’d be nice to have both, but I’d rather have time than money. Time is much more valuable. I have homeboys that have dads that just paid the bills but have never had time for their sons.

LRJ: How do you preserve your boldness and beauty?

RC: I just want to be a better person. I feel like if I’m good then everything will work. I know there’s trials and tribulations, but I just try to put my best foot forward. I want to be able to grow and be a positive person. I can’t change everyone but if I get better, the people around me will get better.

LRJ: If you focus on yourself and the people around you, I feel like the world will be a better place.

Top image: RC wears all clothing Gucci. Taken from Issue 54 of 10 Men – BOLD & BEAUTIFUL – is out NOW. Order your copy here.

@liviarosejohnson / @rc_p.a.p

TRUTH AND BEAUTY

Photographer Kennedi Carter
Fashion Editor Julie Ragolia
Text Livia Rose Johnson
Talent RC
Hair Jadis Jolie
Lighting technician Joey Abreu
Photographer’s assistant Miguel Mori
Set design Maria Sobrino

all clothing Dior