Riley Montana returned to her birthplace of Detroit, Michigan for Brandon Maxwell’s latest spring/summer 2017 campaign titled “Ebony.” The 26-year-old model found her big break when she was first cast in Givenchy’s spring/summer 2014 campaign. Since then she has graced the cover of Vogue Ukraine and has walked for Jeremy Scott, Marc Jacobs, and more.
The documentary style film and advertisement photos sharply contrast Montana’s luxurious model lifestyle with her humble beginnings. The campaign as a whole focuses on Montana’s identity and growth. Originally named Ebony Riley, Montana’s voiceover discusses how she felt the need to be different people through the course of her modeling career—thus, Riley Montana was born.
Montana allows the viewer a very personal glimpse into her past self and the home she is still connected to. She dances with her grandma, cradles her newest baby family member, and looks at old family photos. Her evolution comes full circle in a scene where her family is gathered around to watch one of her runway moments on television.
This campaign is lastly about inclusion. When asked in an interview with WWD about whether she ever thought she could be a model, Montana replied, “I was insecure. I was a dark-skinned girl and extra skinny… I wanted it, but I never imagined it.” Despite her doubts, she is now ranked in model.com’s top 50 model list.
Maxwell’s campaign reveals Montana’s realness and is a breath of fresh air that cuts through the clutter of luxury ads we are constantly bombarded with today.