Yaya Kosikova for Neiman Marcus
June is Pride Month–dedicated to celebrating the diversity of the LGBTQ community, honoring its history and host to some of the most wild, colorful parades around the world. This year, we’re asking just some of the many out and inspiring people in the fashion and design community what the month means to them.
We kick off our series with Slovakian-born, New York–based model Yaya Kosikova. In front of the camera, Yaya has been on screen, in print and snapped on the runways for brands like Dior, Balenciaga and Tracy Reese. Behind the camera as a photographer, she captures stunning portraits and images with a seriously artistic eye—see some of her work at Frankie Rize Photography.
In a nutshell, what’s a normal day like for you?
I work as a portrait photographer and as a model. When I’m not working, my hobbies are things like traveling, exploring different cultures, riding my scooter, tennis and snowboarding.
What’s your first memory of celebrating Pride Month?
My first memory of celebrating Pride Month was in NYC 10 years ago at the Pride parade. It was a super-overwhelming experience to me. I grew up around very close-minded mentalities in Slovakia where I couldn’t be myself—it was very painful at times. I felt lonely, not accepted and like I didn’t fit in. When I was walking through the crowd at the parade, I finally felt at home, accepted and complete. Everyone felt like brothers and sisters that day, and it was a wonderful feeling. I have that feeling every time I get to be at a gay-pride parade anywhere in the world. You can spot me with my favorite T-shirt: ‘I love lesbians.’ Haha!
What does Pride Month mean to you?
To me, Pride Month means that we all get united, meet new people and reinforce our Pride. It’s when we all feel that we are not alone or the ‘only one in the world.’ Even though we might all be different, we always accept and never judge each other.
What are you doing this year to celebrate?
This year I get to explore gay pride in Mexico City with my girlfriend.
How would you love to see Pride Month evolve in the United States or the world?
It shouldn’t be just one month; it should be a daily celebration, and people around the world should accept each other for what they are and who they love without putting labels on everything or everyone.