UNCG student aims to bring her own uniqueness to the modeling industry

by Kashif Stone

“Everyone had always asked did I model, but I replied with a no because I wanted to strictly work behind the scenes, not wanting to be the center of attention,” said Ahlea Dickens speaking out on her mounting interest in modeling. “After a change of heart, I decided to go for it and learned that I loved modeling because I enjoy being able to express myself through taking pictures and find it stress relieving to be able to go in front of a camera and portray different emotions and vibes.” Dickens is currently a junior attending UNC-Greensboro majoring in marketing while minoring in information technology and public relations, but her love for modeling may lead her to consider a different career path.

At a young age, Dickens was nicknamed “LuLu” and is still acknowledged by the name with many of her peers calling her “Lu” for short. Born in Misawa, Japan, she moved to North Carolina as a child and lived in three different cities until attending college. Growing up, Dickens was the ultimate “Americas Next Top Model” fan, crediting the show for sparking her interest in modeling. “I have always loved taking pictures and knew that I wanted to be a model, but did not have the resources to pursue a modeling career while growing up in a small town,” said Dickens.

After moving to Greensboro, she found herself hesitant to begin modeling for several reasons, but after gaining support from her mother, she grew confident in her modeling ambitions. “My biggest supporter with everything that I do is my mom.” said Dickens. “She loves helping me come up with themes for shoots, is always there to give her opinion, and even offers support by leaving words of encouragement under most of my pictures on Instagram, which is the main source of marketing myself at the moment.”

Dickens began modeling off and on at request in 2013, but didn’t pursue modeling seriously until the end of August. Since then, she has appeared in five music videos, three of which are featured on the urban culture website World Star Hip Hop, and multiple photoshoots with well-known photographers in both Greensboro and Charlotte. Just recently, she was featured in the first issue of Distressed Mag, and also completed a product shoot for Just Casual Clothing store. Dickens is currently working on expanding her portfolio to book promotional and commercial shoots involving editorial and catalog work.

Sometimes she finds it challenging when deciding what type of work she chooses to accept. When she began modeling, she did not want to be boxed in a category and only attract a specific audience, however her mission was to have an appeal on every audience. Her drive to overcome these challenges comes from those that she inspires.

“Having attended a high school in a small town where most people live there their whole life, I want to give inspiration to anyone that may be in an area where most people do not make it out and show them all it takes is some work.”

After college, Dickens intends to continue modeling but also hopes to become an executive businesswoman. Although she isn’t sure which career path she adores more, modeling or business, she is certain that her quest for greatness will pay dividends. “I plan to push myself and work so much that people will have no choice but to take notice of everything that I am working for,” said Dickens. “I want to own multiple businesses because that is something that I have always wanted to do. Also, I would love to do campaigns for clothing brands like Chanel and other major product brands. My goal is to bring uniqueness to the modeling industry. Although it is already full of it, I just have my own unique look and vibes that I want people to see through my pictures.”

For bookings or inquiries regarding modeling, Dickens can be contacted at or by searching her username AhleaLu on Instagram. !