You may know Slick Woods as the girl with the gap in her front teeth, lots of tattoos, and a shaved head, but it wasn't always rich and fame for her. Find out how she went from a homeless teen to an iconic model while staying true to herself.
Girl With the Gap
There are trendsetters, and then there's Slick Woods, who rose to fame because of her unique appearance. With a smile like no other, Slick's made a statement in the modeling industry and refuses to change her image for any job.
But modeling wasn't always on her radar; Slick was once homeless, but after she was spotted at a bus stop in L.A. as a teenager, everything changed. And with that iconic gap in her teeth, Slick became a fashion legend.
Simone Thompson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but spent much of her childhood living with her grandmother in Los Angeles. "I never really had a childhood," Woods revealed. "My mother went to prison when I was four. I was on my own." While her grandmother certainly loved and looked out for her, Slick had a tough upbringing.
"On my first day [of high school], I sat down in class, and the guy sitting next to me asked if I could read… if my mom taught me to read," Slick said. "I was in a place where I didn't believe in anything, so I was susceptible to evil energy," Woods explained. "I'm so easily turned. It's not something I'm proud of."
Wasn't Interested in Modeling
As a child, Slick never had any interest in the modeling industry. "Growing up, I really wanted to be a firefighter, while you have 20 kids in the classroom dying to be a supermodel," she admitted. And anytime she saw modeling competitions on TV, she was even more turned off.
"I just remember watching America's Next Top Model, and there was this girl that Tyra [Banks] convinced her gap was ugly, and she needed to remove it," Slick revealed. "I was like, modeling is the last thing I ever want to do. I was showing my grandma like, 'Look what they're doing out here to girls!'"
Simone to Slick
Woods first got her nickname, Slick, as a teenager when her friends began calling her that "because I roll really nice... cigars," she explained. "Slick just stuck. I talk slick... My grandma will be slipping up and call me Slick." And Slick certainly wasn't afraid to push the boundaries growing up.
When she was 12-years-old, Woods paid $7 for her first tattoo of the eye of Horus, which came from a story her grandmother told her. "It's a Pharaoh named Horus, and he had a brother who betrayed him," said Slick. The tattoo's different aspects represent "loyalty, respect, humility, family, and community."
Homeless as a Teenager
At age 17, Slick dropped out of Santa Monica High School, and eventually, she wound up being homeless. She admitted to making "a lot of bad decisions as a teenager… The worst things you can possibly do," Woods revealed. Some people expected her to be just like her mother; She later spent a few months in prison.
And things didn't get easier for Slick just yet; "Being homeless people don't understand… When you're really on the streets, you might go years without someone talking to you," she explained. "I went two, three years during middle school, high school, where people walked past me on the street when I talked to them."
Discovered at a Bus Stop
But Slick had no idea what her future would have in store and that she'd eventually become an iconic model. At age 19, Woods was hanging around a bus stop in Los Angeles when the British model Ash Stymest noticed something special about her. "He found me at a bus stop, and we spent the day together," Slick revealed.
"He found out about my life and never let me leave his side again. He kind of took me under his wing and taught me about how life should be basically, and I never went hungry again," Woods explained. So, Ash introduced her to the street-style photographer, David Mushegin, hoping to launch her modeling career.
Ash Stymest Helped Launch Her Career
But Slick stood firmly on her disinterest in modeling; She did, however, give Stymest a chance to help her. "I didn't say yes to modeling. I said yes to Ash," she said. "I trusted him and whatever he thought I could do; He's the first person who believed in me, so I was like, 'Whatever you believe, I can believe.'"
So, after meeting David Mushegin, Woods agreed to take some professional photos, and "those were the only photos of her out there," Mushegin revealed. And as long as Slick had Ash by her side, she felt safe going into this new chapter, whatever it would bring. "He took care of me like his own child," she shared.
Whatever It Takes
After meeting Slick in 2015, Stymest made it his mission to launch Slick's career, no matter what. "Ash begged his agent to fly out to meet me," Woods explained. "I lived with Ali [Kavoussi, Woods' agent] and his girlfriend, and he tried everything he possibly could to get what he thought my career should be off the ground."
"He tried music; He tried anything that he thought that I could be branded off of easily, whatever could get the ball rolling first," Slick continued. "He convinced the agency to put me on the board without a contract." And Ash proved the modeling industry right, as Slick made quite the impression.
Kanye West Gave Her a Chance
Shortly after Stymest vouched for her, Slick caught Kanye West's eye, and she landed a significant modeling gig. She was cast in Kanye's fall 2016 Yeezy show, but West was surprised by Slick's lack of exposure at first. "When we first met, I step on his set, and he's like, 'How do you not have Instagram?'" Woods explained.
"No wonder you're not a model yet. Get Instagram. Put it on your phone now," Kanye told Slick. So, Slick took his advice, which evidently helped her rise to the top in the blink of an eye. "Kanye was the first person that told me I was going to blow up who I actually believed," Woods revealed.
Didn't Initially Get Paid for the Yeezy Job
While Kanye had certainly helped with Slick's career launch, "Kanye did not pay me," she revealed. "I didn't see my money until the next Yeezy job I did." Evidently, though, he was pleased with Slick's work, as he planned to hire her for the following Yeezy show.
"He couldn't book me again without having paid me the first time," Woods explained. By that point, she'd had some experience in the modeling industry, and the more in demand she became, she refused to work for anything less than her worth. So, Kanye eventually paid her, and things were looking pretty good for Slick.
Says Rihanna's Her Backbone
One of Slick's biggest supporters has been Rihanna, who was eager to befriend Woods ever since her career first took off. "[Rihanna] saw a photo of me on Instagram, found me, and we hit it off," Woods explained. "Rihanna gave me a backbone," she added. "She made me feel like there's other real people up in this industry still."
And there's a reason that Slick's so fond of Rihanna; "You ever loved someone so much that every time you see them, you end up in tears somehow? She reminds me of my mother," said Woods. "Like, they're the same person. I tell them they remind me of each other all the time."
Face of Fenty
Being one of Rihanna's closest friends, Slick's become a significant part of the artist's brand, Fenty Beauty, something she'd never expected to do. "It's an honor being one of the faces of Fenty Beauty representing all walks of beauty from different parts of the world," Slick explained.
"Rihanna is showing you reflections of all young girls so that when they walk past our ads, they don't feel ugly or ostracized. We are making history," Woods added. When asked if she'd planned to be a part of a beauty campaign, Slick said, "Never bruh, how?" But she's indeed proud to be working with Rihanna.
Called Out Tyra Banks for Shaming a Model
Slick's never been one to change who she is to fit a particular image. During an episode of America's Next Top Model, she was bothered by something Tyra Banks told a contestant. "So Danielle, you went to the dentist but refused to have your gap closed," Tyra said to contestant Danielle Evans during season six.
"Do you really think you can have a CoverGirl contract with the gap in your mouth?" Tyra continued. Slick stuck up for Danielle on social media immediately, emphasizing the beauty in her smile, no matter what anyone else says. "No one should ever talk to you like that @danievans1," Slick shared on Instagram.
Says She's the Reincarnation of Tupac
While she never actually had a chance to meet him, Slick revealed that "I see myself as the reincarnation of Tupac." The former rapper was assassinated in 1996, the same year that Slick was born. "But the thing about Tupac is, I don't see him as an icon I look up to," she explained.
"I see him as a very similar personality to me," Slick continued. "He's very well rounded in that, everything I like, he likes. Everything I would like to master, he was striving to master. I feel a real connection of continuing his work." And Slick's not shy about her admiration of one of the world's most influential rappers.
Got Her Confidence From Her Mother
Although she wasn't always around, Slick said her confidence came from her mother, as she'd also been proud of the gap in her teeth. "My mom got braces when she was like, 13. My grandma forced her. She was like, 'You don't want to walk around with a gap in your mouth,' but [my mom] pried 'em off with a butter knife," Slick explained.
"And I'm like, my mother would fight her own mother on beauty standards 10, 20 years before me? The fact that it just didn't feel right to sleep at night knowing she wasn't 110% herself gives me a certain power." So, not a day has gone by where Woods considered changing her iconic smile, as it makes her who she is.
Her Upbringing Is Part of Her Identity
While crediting her mother for her confidence, Slick also explained that her upbringing has contributed to her overall identity. "Where we come from is a big part of what our identities are made of," said Slick. "If you think you're ugly, you're automatically going to resent wherever and whatever made you that way."
"You want to blame something, and the first thing you'll come for is the place you came from." But for Woods, she hasn't resented her past; "So that's the first place you're going to thank when you feel beautiful. You're going to be like, 'Thank you, mother. Thank you father, for making me the way I am,'" she added.
Loves Being the Villain
No matter how successful or famous she becomes, there's one thing that'll never change about Slick and who she is; "I love being the bad guy," she revealed. "Being a black woman and brought up as one, I found it helps you to not mind being the bad guy," she said.
Slick's thrived from being no one other than herself, even if that means making some controversial statements. "I've been the villain, so it's a very comfortable place for me, just like it's comfortable for submissive people just to hold their tongues," she explained. "You almost start liking confrontation."
Some Say She Has Horrible Fashion Sense
It's no secret that Slick's style is one of a kind, and the way she presents herself is part of her identity. However, not everyone is a fan of her wardrobe, but chances are, this legend isn't phased by some negative comments here and there. "Was anyone else distracted by her terrible shirts?" wrote one Reddit user.
"Like, does she not have friends to tell her, 'Girl, this just doesn't look good on you?' I honestly feel bad for her I think she's clueless," the individual continued. But Slick's the first to admit that she's not just a typical model; She's proud of her personal style and will never mold to fit a particular brand.
Still Doesn't Like Modeling
Ever since she was a child, Slick never had any desire to be a model, and quite frankly, her viewpoint hasn't exactly changed. "I mean, I hate my job," Slick admitted. "I'll admit that. But I'm not doing anything I don't want to do... But I do hate the idea of my job a lot."
"But as long as you're being treated like a human, life is good." Woods also revealed that the drama seen on shows like America's Next Top Model is pretty unrealistic, but the industry still puts some models down. "I feel like that's what the fashion industry does to you," she said. "It makes you hate yourself."
Retelling History Through Pirelli Calendar
But that's part of why Slick was so devoted to the 2018 Pirelli calendar, where photographer Tim Walker recruited a group of strictly African American models and entertainers for the second time in 30 years. It was a "collab with people from all different walks of life," including Naomi Campbell, Diddy, Lil Yachty, and more.
"All of us understood what it is we set out to do," Woods explained. "We are retelling our history." She said that her favorite part about the shoot was "Spending time with so many beautiful black artists and activists and learning from each and every one of them that we all have so much to offer."
'It's Kind of Uncomfortable to Have Everything'
After going from a homeless teen to an iconic model, Slick adjusted to a whole new way of life, but still, her luxurious lifestyle didn't seem normal to her. "When you've walked around with $0 to your name, it's kind of uncomfortable to have everything," she admitted.
"I feel more comfortable when I'm struggling because that's what I'm used to." Slick also opened up to Glamour about how her life changed once she started receiving some pretty big paychecks, saying, "I like to have more money in the bank than followers; I think that sums it up."
Gave Birth Right After Walking the Runway
In September of 2018, Slick did what she does best, surprising fans with something entirely out of the ordinary. After walking Rihanna's Savage x Fenty lingerie show at New York Fashion Week, Woods headed straight to the hospital and gave birth to her son shortly after.
"My last memory before going into the hospital is of Rihanna spanking me with a whip," Slick revealed, after going into labor during the show. After initially being told she couldn't become pregnant naturally, Slick and her baby's father, Adonis Bosso, proudly welcomed their beautiful boy, Saphir, into the world.
Inspired the Plot of 'Goldie'
After rising to fame in the modeling industry, Slick gave acting a try, starring in the film Goldie. Director Sam de Jong already had decided on the storyline when he met Woods, but hearing about her story inspired him to make some adjustments to the plot. Sam altered the film to base it more on Slick's childhood.
Like Slick's mother, the main character's mother was also incarcerated when she was a child, and Goldie, the lead role, grew up in poverty. Woods was able to relate to her character on a profound level, which helped her understand the part, but this also made filming the movie extremely difficult.
Reliving Her Past
Slick was essentially reliving her past filming Goldie. "It was really hard to watch that over and over again, and we did it like 30 times," she revealed. "I broke down, and I was like 'Y'all playing dress up, you don't know what real life is like.' It was really hard for me because that's something I really lived through."
However, Slick said that de Jong was incredibly supportive during the entire production. "It was rough, but at the same time, you were completely professional," Woods said to de Jong. "You were like, 'Yo, let's push through it, let's use those tears.' You really were on it, and that's what helped me a lot."
Uphill Battle With Her Health
In 2019, Slick's health took a turn for the worst, as she was diagnosed with stage three cancer. However, this vibrant and upbeat model did her best to stay positive, breaking the news on Instagram with the caption, "How I feel about chemotherapy, shout out to everyone that gotta go through it #atleastimalreadybald."
Fans and fellow celebrities were incredibly supportive, and Woods specifically told people not to treat her "like a victim." Even after many bumps in the road regarding her health, Slick's continued moving forward, saying things like, "Just blessed to be able to still flex another day."
Uses Her Fanbase to Make a Difference
Aside from being the face of Fenty Beauty, Slick's also been involved with her own brand, Civil Jewelry. She teamed up with media guru Blakely Thornton with a mission of helping minority businesses. With over 940 thousand followers on Instagram, Woods has used her platform to spread the word about the brand.
"Slick is marketing. We have access to media channels people don't have access to for free," said Thornton. "What Civil represents to me is the notion that ownership and access are a powerful way to generate social change," Slick revealed. "I'm excited to help the Civil Fund pass along the company's success using investments."
Proud To Be 'Different'
Slick's noticed some changes in the fashion industry since she first rose to fame, especially regarding inclusivity. "It's very weird. You go from being the most unattractive thing in the world" to a highly demanded model, celebrated for being different, as she explained.
Today, many models are famous for what makes them different. "I think it's good because it makes being different a 'look,'" said Slick. "Even if being different is a fad, that's good. It's better than fake being a fad." There aren't many models strutting down the catwalk with a shaved head, tattoos, and a smile like Slick's.
Loves Surprising People
Slick never fails to surprise her fans between her unique everyday appearance and strutting down the runway right before going into labor. And that's part of what she loves about her career and why she won't settle for anything less. "Element of surprise is my middle name," said Slick.
"I want to be as multifaced as I possibly can be because it comes so naturally in humans." Woods has even surprised herself throughout her journey, considering as a child, "I'd walk past a magazine store and not look twice," she said. Sure, she'd hoped to make an impact on the world, but modeling was never part of her plan.
Doesn't Believe in Mistakes
Slick's certainly full of surprises, but she's not full of regret, no matter where her decisions have led her. "I wouldn't do anything differently. I don't believe in regret, and I don't believe in mistakes," said Slick. "That's when people start hating themselves and resenting life...living in the past, dwelling on the things."
For instance, "I still have my high school sweetheart boyfriend tatted on my arm," Woods admitted. "I'll never get it removed. I'll probably never see him again, either, but you just have to build on your story, and you don't have to erase to unlearn." For Slick, each decision and chapter of her life became a part of her identity.
Known for Being Herself
Slick Woods has indeed made her mark ever since she caught Ash Stymest's eye at a bus stop a few years ago. She went from a homeless teenager to a world-renowned model, actress, and mother, all from showing off her true self. "I have supporters who will tell me they follow me just for being myself," Woods revealed.
"And that's genuinely the reason I continued when I first started. I want people to be cool and comfortable with themselves," she continued. To this day, "I've never been styled a day in my life," said Slick. "I'm all about being yourself and being genuine." And chances are, Woods has a lot more in store for the future.