Meet Antwain Donte’ Hill aka Mr. Runway, a trained Runway and Model Coach, a Motivational Speaker and a Philanthropist. Who is also the Founder/Creative Director of Stampede School of Modeling.
Founded in Spring 2014, Stampede School of Modeling strives to build the artistic individual and brand the overall person buried deep inside the mannequin. Offering the highest quality of training, the greatest level of expertise and tireless dedication to each student and their passion.
Antwain Donte’ is also the Founder/Spokesman for his organization, A Disease Called Hope, which is a foundation that specializes in building children and families who are suffering with HIV, AIDS, Cancer and any terminally ill diseases.
He has taught over 3000 models, directed and organised lots of Fashion Shows. In addition to being successful in all of his endeavors, his talent, skills and passion are unmatchable. Antwain Donte’ also received the Top 35 Millennial Influencer Award in 2017 from The Next Big Thing Organization.
“Training goes beyond the classroom or work space. It is to be conducted wherever the student is willing to learn.”
Check out my exclusive interview with him below:
Hey Antwain! Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Antwain Donte’ and I breathe simply because life tried to beat me. I am an educated man with various talents, tons of skills and multiple tones.
Talk me through an average day in the life of you?
An average day with me… wake up and thank God for counting me His number. I sing in the shower will breakfast is on the stove and since I iron my clothes for the week, I’m well prepared. I stop by Starbucks daily (three times a day) and head to work. I am a Corporate Trainer for the Fortune 1 Company and absolutely love my career and company. During my day when time permits, I work on my company, Stampede School of Modeling. Once my day is over at 5pm I head home and spend family time.
What institution(s) did you attend and what did you study?
Delaware State University/Drexel University, Political Science.
How were you discovered and what inspired you to go into coaching and training models?
I started modeling at an early age. Modeling was my outlet when the streets around me weren’t an easy place to be. I began a love for coaching while attending DSU on the infamous modeling troupe, Limitless. After training my first show in Philadelphia, I knew that’s where my heart is and that’s where it stays. I get excited working with new and old talent. I respect my mannequins and they show a high level of respect for me as their Coach. Every new canvas I can get my hands on, I feel like God have given me a new chance at showing the world what lies in me. I refuse to go to my grave with and dreams undreamt.
You are known by many as “Mr. Runway”. How did the name come about?
Well… as humble as I can say, it’s because I will demolish a runway. Lol. While training and teaching my mannequins they always like to challenge me once they’ve learned all my techniques. I love when they grow that confidence and feeling of accomplishment.
You have trained/coached over 3000 models. What will you say motivated/inspires you to stay dedicated to what you do?
Being able to command that type of attentions of that many individuals is challenging but rewarding. There have been over 3100 models that I have touched, crossed, trained, coached, pushed, dedicated myself to and prayed and cried with over the years. They are the same ones I cheer on and they’ll never understand how much they’ve become my personal cheerleaders. I stay motivated because I was told at the age of 31 I wouldn’t be able to walk so with that, I drive. I have received dozens of emails, letters and text post my training and the responses I receive is what inspires me to continue to make runway great again.
What is “Stampede School of Modeling” all about?
Stampede School of Modeling prides itself on giving back to the community with its time, talents and financial attributions when needed. We encourage our staff and students to believe that humility is more powerful than anything alive. We are a family based company that pushes the individual to be all that sought out to be. We are in a changing world and we teach complacency isn’t a choice.
I checked you out on social media and I noticed your love for everything photography/fashion and how you use it to communicate through your everyday life and project, why so?
It is the easiest way to reach the masses without saying a word verbally. It’s a way to post what is going on and involving those that may know you and may long to know you. Photography and Fashion go hand and hand and how can you not share what’s dear to your heart.
You founded “A Disease Called Hope”, what it all about and what made you decide to set up the foundation?
Well, this is where this conversation gets emotional. It was a sunny Atlanta day and I was working as a Regional Training Mgr for McDonalds Corporation when I fell flat on my face while working in a store. I was hospitalized and found out I had Multiple Myeloma which is a rare bone cancer. That day changed my life for what I thought was the worst. I beat myself up everyday for not being able to live life like the average male in his late twenties. I had to eventually turn my thought process around or I would die soon and it wasn’t going to be because of the illness. I turned something horrible into a life changing movement. A Disease Called Hope is an organization that when the rest of the world is diagnosis people with AIDS, Cancer, Diabetes, Leukemia, High Blood Pressure or any other terminally I’ll Disease, we spend our time diagnosing people with HOPE. Hope that tomorrow is real. Hope that a cure is possible. Hope that no matter the length of your hair, you’re still beautiful. Hope that no one can put a time on life. I am currently in remission and still fighting daily. It may not be easy but we came out as babies crying knowing that life was gonna be tough. Fight knowing that HOPE is the key to the locked door.
What’s your 4 Dos and Don’t when it comes to being a runway model?
I normally charge but I’ll give you this for free, lol…
1. First thing is do your research
2. Know the difference between European or American runway
3. Know if you want to do print or runway and know the pros and cons of each.
4. Networking is key and you should always remain humble.
1. Don’t became to “big” where you stop learning
2. Don’t work for free, know your worth
3. Don’t try to coach and play in the game
4. Don’t forget to remain humble!
What do you do to stay in shape, do you go to the gym?
I am no where near a health guru. I try to just walk a lot but the majority of it is genes lol.
How do you balance your regular 9 to 5 corporate job and fashion industry life?
That’s not easy and I have a challenge with that daily. I dedicate as much time as I can to the industry without loosing focus on my career and driving my full potential to continue to grow. I will say that I don’t take shortcuts for either beside I value them both.
Will you say the modelling industry in the United States is doing well?
No. We are so quick to put on a fashion show with untrained models and upcoming designers but no one is trained. We don’t take any time to train and develop. Everyone wants to be the star but no one is willing to learn that stars still shine during the day they’re just not shown.
Would you agree that modelling industry in the United States is doing alot when it comes to encouraging new faces?
I do not.
What do you consider the most common stereotype about the modelling industry?
Size and height. Designers just don’t design for average size 2 or 5’11 in height.
What aspect surprised you the most once you started as a Runway and Model Coach?
The amount of people who think they know everything and don’t know where to start. Remain humble, please.
Looking back to when you started in the industry, is there anything you would like to change about the industry?
Honestly, no. I believe everything happens for a reason and the industry is where it wants to be and we must confirm as well as create change.
Which brands, clients, models, photographers, make-up artists, etc, have you worked with?
I would love to answer this question but I’m not one to name drop. My company would work with any group or business no matter the size or the level of experience. That’s what separates us from the others that shall remain nameless. We do have partners we team with through our existence such as Tag The Shooter (DMV), PROOF Models(DMV), Stephanie White Events (DMV), BlessedTouch Artistry and Glam Corner MUAs (DMV), Teal Gordon (ATL), Jocorean Perkins (ATL), host of models from states such as, Philly, NYC, Delaware, NJ, DMV, LA, TX, Atlanta, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Boston and Las Vegas. We have produced or model coached at least a two dozen HBCU Homecoming fashion shows, latest being Howard University 2016.
What do you consider your biggest professional success so far?
My biggest professional success would be being named one of the Top 35 Millennial Influencers 2017. By The Next Big Thing Organization. I also am humbled and feel accomplished when I am asked to Keynote Address different events with students or entrepreneurs.
Who do you want to work with that you haven’t yet?
The powerful Andre Leon Talley of course.
What has been your biggest challenge?
There have been several like having to work a 9-5 just so I can have benefits to afford medication as well as the pain I feel at times but can’t show the world how weak I actually am.
Tell us two things people don’t know about you?
Two things people don’t know about me are, I have a book coming out Winter 2017 and I always yearned for a relationship with my father but I’ve become a man without him.
You are very active on social media. Do you think its important to be online and if so why?
Yes. I am not overly active where it effects my home life or my sanity. I don’t look for likes, comments or DMs. I know when to put my phone down when in s room. I do think playing an active role in social media is important because it’s free marketing in a social media world.
You use to live in Atlanta till you decided to move to Washington D.C. What made you move and how’s that working out for you?
I moved because it’s where my career moved me to and I wouldn’t change any decision about the move. I was excited about it when I first got word and I am excited 2 years later. I have been able to hold classes for Stampede with the help of my Atlanta team so nothing has changed.
What are your must visit travel destinations?
London, Paris, Italy, Maldives, Dubai, U.A.E, England, Germany, Ghana, Canada, Thailand, South America, just to name a few.
Name 5 things we should take seriously about our style choices?
How does it make YOU feel. Stop dressing for the satisfaction of responses from those that don’t matter to your everyday life.
How would you describe your style?
Me! Yes, at times I follow trends but I try to posses my own style till I land a cover.
What style genre appeals to you the most?
Each of them. I am able to take something from each and give you and entire look OK and you wouldn’t skip a page.
Name your 5 must have accessories/essentials?
1. My wallet
2. My phones
4. Socks (those that are close to me know)
5. An index card I keep in my wallet that also give to all my students.
What are your favorite fashion trends?
I’m a fan of many trends so I honestly don’t have just one.
What is your favorite dish?
My sisters Baked Ziti, my moms eggs and MDS lasagna and Peach Cobbler. However
What songs are currently on your playlist?
I listen to a lot of R&B and gospel and I have my special selection of Rap. I listen to Chance “You Don’t Want no Problems”, Major “Why I Love You”, John Legend “You and I”, and my motivation William Murphy “Already Getting Better”!
Apart from coaching, charity works, what other projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on what is going to be a phenomenal best selling novel. I am excited for the world to read they my pencil. I am also working on a motivational speaking tour to touch and push the masses that feel stuck and just need a little gas to drive.
Seeing you’re doing your dreams, what advice can you give others to pursue their dreams?
NEVER GIVE UP! It’s ok to fall and fail but even with a scraped knee, you gotta keep going. Yes, go ahead and take a break, pray and grab some water just remember to GET BACK IN THE RACE.
Any specific plans for the future?
TO BE THE BEST ME POSSIBLE. I would tell you my plans, goals and dreams but what purpose does that serve if I’m not doing them. Life throws us wrenches and make promises to ourselves but each day I live I never take for granted so my plan for the future is to live even if it’s my last day.
Any final words?
To those of you that don’t know where your place is or where you belong, crate your own. I don’t believe in thinking outside the box, think there is no box to live it and you’ll always be on the outside. Giving up is an option, however, don’t make it yours. While living life, remember that God is present and our plan never aligns with His but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t have one for you. Trust that and walk in your authentic self. Lastly, even though a fish is contained by the walls of the tank that never stops him from swimming. If you ever feel like the walls are closing and the water is cloudy know that a STAR shines at night in darkness. Btw, I love you Mom, we’re almost there.