Student-model uses his platform to aid the community

Sit down with Antoine Manning, the man behind Homage Year and a GoFundMe to help the homeless. Photo by Mayowa Amosu | The Signal

As a junior majoring in studio arts with a concentration in drawing, painting and printmaking, Antoine Manning is already becoming a well-established model. With over 7,000 Instagram followers, Manning’s feed includes shots from magazine photoshoots, runway shows and even posts giving awareness to some social justice issues that define the U.S.

Growing up in Covington, Georgia, Manning felt as though he didn’t have the resources necessary to fulfill his aspiration to model, yet he gave it a shot in high school anyway.

“During my fall semester of freshman year, my friend recommended me for a photoshoot with one of her friends. When he contacted me and told me the details of the concept, I was very nervous because it involved me being shirtless, and I was very insecure at the time because of my physical stature,” Manning said.. 

He ended up loving the results of the photoshoot and discovered a little self-confidence along the way. 

“After that, I just began doing it heavily because I finally started something I wanted for so long,” Manning said. 

Juggling a modeling career and also being a full-time student has slowly taught Manning the art of balance. 

“The balance is pretty hectic. This semester was my hardest, and my 6 absences with the attendance policy at GSU caused me to have my worst grade point average ever,” Manning said. “It’s a constant lesson on time management, discipline and just raw motivation … Everything I’m putting my time into is genuinely because I believe enough in it, so I will do what I have to do to maintain them all.” 

Luckily, Manning believes these struggles to be worth the outcome. He believes modeling has changed his life for the better.

“Modeling has impacted my life by helping me to love myself externally as much as I do internally. It has allowed people to appreciate me for who I am and not to discount me for what I may lack,” Manning said. “It’s also just helped me be a role model to those who come from similar [places] and circumstances as I have.”

Along with modeling and classes, Manning is also behind the brand Homage Year. The “HOMAGE” stickers that can be found around the Atlanta campus come from Homage Year. In addition to the stickers, Homage Year also makes apparel. 

In Atlanta, everyone knows someone with a clothing brand. However, Homage Year comes from personal hardships and humble beginnings. 

“Homage Year is a clothing brand that was idealized in 2014 and executed in late 2015 after the passing of my father and [other] people in my community. I wanted their names to live on, so I used the loss [I felt] to create something,” Manning said. “Homage [Year] is used to highlight sociopolitical issues such as, but not limited to, police brutality, interracial crime, black-on-black violence, peer pressure and finding your purpose.”

One of the main goals of the creation of Homage Year was to establish and maintain a sense of community, which is why Manning showcases the brand on campus with stickers. In addition to using Homage Year to create that feeling, Manning uses his platform to help the local Atlanta community that already exists.

He created a GoFundMe to raise money and awareness for homeless individuals in Atlanta. 

“What made me want to start raising money was seeing how plagued our city is with this issue,” Manning said. 

Walking around campus and seeing people living on sidewalks and under bridges inspired him to act.

“I’m just tired of seeing people getting looked over because of their financial and societal issues. This was just an experiment to see if people really are willing to help, and [to] my surprise, they were. We are $150 away from reaching our [$1,000] goal on the GoFundMe,” Manning said.

Manning plans to use the money to give back to those who need it the most. 

“The money was initially [going to] be used to buy materials to give out for the winter but as a student with a business and multiple other ventures, I wouldn’t be able to do it adequately. After a recommendation, I decided to give [the money] to the United Way of Greater Atlanta,” Manning said.

The GoFundMe isn’t Manning’s only helpful use of his following. He often checks on his followers by posting polls on his Instagram asking if they’re okay with “yes” and “no” as options.

“[For] those who say no, I D.M. [them] and see if I can help them resolve, see beyond or find the root of their issue. I do my best to use the platform that I do have for causes such as the GoFundMe. I usually repost news and other GoFundMe fundraisers that are going towards a genuine cause [as well],” Manning said.

For the start of the new year, Manning has already started his resolution for 2020, which is to focus on being more disciplined and being the best possible version of himself. 

His advice for students trying to better themselves is to “prove your dream to be real. It will be extremely difficult. But in the end, it will be worth it. If you ever need an ear, if things get harder than you ever imagined, feel free to contact me. I am judge-free and always available to help.” 

Where to find Antoine Manning