Style Profile: Meet Xavier
My name’s Xavier Ali Smith, but I go by Zay Ali for shorter. I’m a 20 year old college student who majors in business management but my heart has always been with the arts. From photography and styling to makeup , I’m an all around creative who doesn’t like to allow myself to be put into one or any boxes. I think what makes me very different from most people is that my art pushes through unapologetically. I grew up in poverty, as a mixed black & Hispanic kid, I had to really fight for who I wanted to be. Being gay and outgoing isn’t something you would aspire to be nor express.
To be feminine in a masculine form is shunned upon even from the ones we love. Society has worked very hard on separating what a man is from what a female should be and has been very successful on making these stereotypes in our communities the forefront of what we see today. Boys can’t wear earrings because it’s a girl thing. From Color on the tips of your fingers, to makeup, it’s just a girl thing. It’s for these very reasons I was scared to be myself or express what I feel is my personal definition of beauty is for me. Growing up in the hood, you’re more scared to be yourself & stand out than you are to fit in & be the same as the person next to you. The ones who don’t blend in the hood get bullied and physically attacked on the regular. A lot of the gay and transgender community have been murdered for what they are, for what they feel and no matter what we have the freedom to say, feel, do, wear, and love whom ever we want! It’s a weird dynamic but a very true dynamic and that’s exactly why I try to push forward my art as a way to represent the different sides of masculinity as an example to not only gay men but all men.
I would describe my overall style as simply extra. Meaning, I never do too much but I’ll always do the most. I always aspired to be raw, but soft like my mother. Simplicity, yet bold like my father. Masculine but fem; androgynous. I would say my style is a throw back yet somewhere in the distant future on hovering motorcycle dashing through the street like a lighting bolt. I just want to be known as a ghetto ninja diamond princess to be honest. Coming from a family of 7 and my dad being an artist himself he had a lot of influences on me and all my siblings. He’s the reason a lot of my art is influenced by comics books, manga, sci-fi and fantasy. I was raised on old kung-fu flicks such as “5 Deadly Venoms,” and “The Kid with the Golden Arm,” hence why my eyeliner HAS to sharp. While kids were gagging over Rihanna, I was in the background believing in Naruto wanting to be the bombest ninja who ever lived. Living in the hood is a huge part of my being as it is in my art. Being a mixed kid I got the best of both worlds and absorbed a lot from my black and Hispanic origins. If it’s one thing I want people to take away from any form of art of mine is I want it to be REAL. whatever it is, no matter how soft, how hard, I need it to be RAW because that is what I come from and that is what I’ll be.
Being yourself is true freedom; bliss ~