Ria Nelson: Featured Fashion | Panåche Model

Photos courtesy of Kerron Riley
Images provided courtesy of Kerron Riley, Trinidad & Tobago
Though the “Godfather of Soul,” James Brown, asserted what he thought to be true in his popular hit “It’s a Man’s World,” clearly he had never peeked into the world of leggy, yet graceful Trinidadian model, Ria Nelson. She is the fourth of five daughters born to her Point Fortin parents. While her dad was ever present to help her chart her future; and while she fondly embraces the memories of him playing the guitar to entertain the family, Ria speaks nostalgically of the “one on one” training she received from her mom. For Ria, it was then and in some respects still is “a woman’s world.” 
As a child, Ria was always adventurous and eager to learn new things that would broaden her scope. Ignoring conventions about boys vs girls activities, she enjoyed playing marbles, cricket, and riding box carts with her sisters and neighborhood friends. She playfully concedes, “I was a tomboy and was always one of the tallest if not the tallest girl in the schools I attended. I was very talkative in school and at home, which always made me stand out.”
During her developing years, Ria was quite a sports enthusiast. She played volleyball for the Point Fortin Junior Secondary School as an offense and defense player on the school team. She also played cricket, in the Village Cricket league, representing her home community. 
But in Ria’s world she would not be constrained to a single pursuit. The over six-foot tall “tomboy” would emerge later as a force to observe with awe in Trinidad & Tobago’s fashion modeling industry. She began modeling at age 18, and has been modeling with “the house of Jacqui” for the past six years, and with “Meiling” for four years. She has taken to the catwalk for Trinidad and Tobago Fashion Week, the summit of the America’s, Chogm, and Carifesta. She has also showcased the work of top Trinidadian and regional designers. Among them are Meiling, Claudia Pegus, Heather Jones, Zadd and Eastman and others. 
One of the pivotal points of this professional model’s career was being featured in Express Woman’s Magazine in a 2009 portrayal of the first lady of the United States of America, Mrs. Michelle Obama. Another career highlight for Ria was being crowned Miss Tourism Queen International, Trinidad & Tobago, in 2008, and representing her country at the international pageant in the People’s Republic of China. 
Asked about the personal moments that stand out most for her, Ria notes, “I would never forget the evenings when my dad would play his guitar and we would sing many different songs; and the evenings when mom would make her delicious coconut bake, fried fish, and coca tea. I started cooking from the age of nine because of my passion for different types of foods from which I have received one on one training from my mom.” Today, she still considers her family her “greatest motivators and supporters.”
Even as she pursues an undergraduate degree in management, Ria still makes time for fun. Yes, the days of volleyball at Point Fortin are now distant but cherished memories. But, she makes time for listening to “good Trini soca,” dancehall reggae, and other music genres. All in all, Ria is apparently a woman who is firmly in control of her world - a woman’s world. 
In this Marlon Rouse image, Ria sports a colorful collection and her current (natural) hair.
Ria Nelson is among the select models who will be photographed during our Fashion | Panåche photography project in Trinidad & Tobago. We look forward to showcasing her work on our website and as a part of our winter and spring gallery display.