Tanaye White has put aside her career in defense and aerospace to concentrate on modeling, which includes a photo shoot for Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue. “The decision to transition into modeling full time was not an easy one,” said White, who recently moved to Brooklyn. “I had made a comfortable life for myself in the corporate world. But ultimately, I decided I could always go back to a ‘normal life’ if I ever decided to retire from modeling. I have two degrees to fall back on, so I know that it'll always be there.” Fans may follow White on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/tanayedubz/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/tanayedubz).
Q: Which of your careers has given you more opportunity to visit new places?
A: I would have to say it's a tie. In my former job, my company really enforced the importance of professional development, which I loved. I had opportunities to travel to New York, Los Angeles and even London. With modeling, the same applies. I've traveled for modeling as well. I think the coolest location I've been to is by far Turks and Caicos.
Q: What is your favorite vacation destination?
A: I've been to Mexico twice and have loved every bit of it. My favorite city in Mexico is Tulum. If you have the chance to go, I recommend getting Airbnb or renting a home so you can get a true feel of the culture. Be sure to check out the cenotes, the many beach clubs they have and take a day to experience a yacht party with friends.
Q: What untapped destination should people know about?
A: I feel like Washington, D.C., is an overlooked gem. People think of it as just a political space. But D.C. has incredible nightlife, delicious restaurants of all types and the most diverse community of people I've ever seen. It's so much more than just a bunch of museums and historic buildings. I've lived in the region for six years and it is still my favorite place to go for a staycation or a fun night out.
Q: What's the most important thing you've learned from your travels?
A: Always bring extra cash! Sometimes when you're traveling, banks will lock your card because they think it was stolen since it's being used in a new state (or) country. Also, when you're visiting countries that have a different currency, it's easier to convert cash than it is to use a card. When you have cash, you don't have to worry about finding an ATM or being charged heavy ATM fees.
Q: If you could only pick one place to eat, which would you choose?
A: For a casual meal, I love SeoulSpice. It’s like Chipotle, but with Korean comfort food. If you go, be sure to get a bowl with purple rice as your base! For a fine-dining experience, my favorite is La Vie in D.C. Their drinks are made to perfection, and you have a great skyline view overlooking The Wharf.
Q: Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A: A couple years ago, I spent a weekend at the Great Oak Manor in Chestertown, Maryland, for my birthday. It’s this beautiful estate on the Eastern Shore. The inn had the best accommodations, including bushels of crabs, a romantic boat ride on the Chesapeake Bay and happy hour with several charcuterie board options. It was the best staycation I ever had.
Q: What are your five favorite cities?
A: New York City, South Beach, Tulum, Washington D.C., and San Juan.
Q: Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A: I wanted to celebrate my birthday in Thailand last year. But the pandemic made that impossible to accomplish. I have several friends who’ve been to Thailand and I’ve heard nothing but great things. I’d love to spend a few weeks there to visit.
Q: When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A: Let me just preface this by saying that I pack my entire life when I travel. You have to be prepared for the unexpected! Some of my must-have items are an Afro pick and hair moisturizer, sunblock, extra underwear, heels, a sexy dress – just in case – and allergy medicine.
Q: What would be your dream trip?
A: A place that I go on my honeymoon. First, I have to get a husband. But when that time comes, I dream of flying away to Bora Bora or the Maldives. Being in the middle of the ocean with my life partner, experiencing the most beautiful crevices of the world – that’s my type of vacation.
(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow “Go Away With…” on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)