Prior to her musical career, Whitney’s striking and photogenic features—impossibly high cheekbones, a thousand-watt smile, and legs women would do Jane Fonda workouts in desperate attempts to achieve—meant that she had a promising and budding career as a print model. She graced the cover of Seventeen magazine in 1981 at a time when you would rarely see a Black face on those pages. Such early exposure to the camera would assist her later in her career as she transitioned into music videos and film, offering her a space to refine her poise and charm.

Modeling offered Whitney a creative medium outside of the church, before she formally transitioned into secular music. It also gave her space to embrace the art of performance, embodying a persona for professional work. Up until that point, much of her relationship with music had been indistinguishable from an expression of faith.