New York


In a world where young individuals are continually breaking barriers and defying odds, the story of Ariel Messam stands out as a testament to determination, passion, and achieving the extraordinary. At just 18 years old, Ariel has etched her name in history as the youngest woman of color to attain the title of Certified Private Pilot in the state of New York.

Hailing from Jamaica, New York, Ariel’s journey to the skies began with an unwavering dream and an unyielding drive for excellence. Her remarkable achievements are a beacon of inspiration for aspiring aviators and young women everywhere.

A Journey Paved with Excellence and Tenacity

Ariel’s educational journey took her to the Aviation Career & Technical Education High School in Queens, New York, where she spent the years 2018 to 2022. Balancing academics and extracurricular activities, she not only earned her high school diploma but also distinguished herself by obtaining certification as an Aircraft Powerplant Technician. This accomplishment, all while playing varsity basketball, speaks volumes about her dedication and ability to excel in multiple domains.

Taking Flight with Purpose

In 2022, Ariel embarked on a new chapter of her aviation journey by joining Level Up and Take Off. Founded by her brother, Anthony Messam, this non-profit organization is dedicated to fostering diversity, inclusion, and equity within the fields of aviation, real estate, and financial management. Ariel assumed the role of a Flight Simulation Instructor, contributing to the mission of providing inner-city youth with hands-on experience and opportunities that can shape their futures.

Operating primarily from Republic Airport in Farmingdale, New York, Ariel’s determination continued to soar. Recently, she took to social media to share a momentous achievement with the world: the realization of her long-cherished goal of becoming the youngest Black woman to be a Certified Private Pilot in the state of New York.

Inspiration for Generations to Come

Ariel Messam’s journey is a story of breaking ceilings and pursuing dreams against all odds. Her determination to succeed in a traditionally male-dominated field serves as an inspiration to young women who aspire to take flight, both literally and metaphorically. Ariel’s accomplishments not only celebrate her individual achievements but also symbolize the limitless potential that exists within young minds when combined with passion, perseverance, and a supportive community.

As Ariel continues to navigate the skies and inspire those around her, her legacy serves as a powerful reminder that the sky is not the limit – it’s just the beginning.

Source: Blacknews.com

Born in Seoul, Choi was partially inspired by her thesis collection at Parsons, where she made heavy use of stripes based on her love for architecture and her Korean heritage. The collection is now available at Adidas flagship locations and select retail partners, including Dover Street Market, Net-A-Porter, Barney’s, Nordstrom, KITH and Urban Outfitters.

Teen Vogue spoke with the designer about the inspiration behind the collection and her advice for upcoming designers.

Teen Vogue: What was the inspiration behind this collection?

Ji Won Choi: It was very much a coming together of my aesthetic, which draws from the architectural shapes of Korean garments and classic Adidas motifs. It was meant to be inspired by my work at Parsons. My thesis collection used the concept of a stripe as the starting point for each garment and incorporated a repeated stripe motif throughout. What could be more natural than evolving this into the iconic Adidas three stripes?

TV: What does the opportunity to design for Adidas mean to you?

JWC: I’m honestly still processing it. It means that my work, which can tend to be more on the niche end, has this massive global platform and a bigger audience than I ever thought would be possible. Anywhere in the world, if someone sees the three stripes, they know exactly what they stand for. It’s an amazing family to be a part of.

Meet Ji Won Choi The Designer Behind Adidas Newest Cozy Collection
Courtesy of Ji Won Choi

TV: How do you want people to feel when they put on your clothes?

JWC: Strong and confident! Expressive, but with ease.

TV: The clothing was showcased in a colorful 3-D maze with models walking up and down the staircases. How did this imagery tie into your collection?

JWC: It was important to me that we incorporate movement into the presentation since that’s a big part of the inspiration behind this collection and all of my work. I knew the presentation couldn’t be static. I really wanted to celebrate individuality and have a diverse group of women representing the collection at the presentation. The end result was beyond imagination — the set designer Ben Cullen Williams brought our vision to life in an incredible way.

Meet Ji Won Choi The Designer Behind Adidas Newest Cozy Collection
Courtesy of Ji Won Choi

TV: Any advice for young designers looking to get their feet wet in the industry?

JWC: My biggest advice for young designers is to have a very clear point of view and defined design aesthetic. Your design aesthetic can always evolve, but when you’re just starting out, it’s very important to have a clear sense of who you are and who you are as a brand.


Naomi Elizée is the fashion market assistant at Vogue and a Teen Vogue contributor. This interview has been edited and condensed.


Culled from Teen Vogue