Edmond Cowboy Models in Paris

Taylor Williams in the Louis Vuitton menswear show in Paris.

Oklahoma cowboy Taylor Williams was lured to France by Louis Vuitton. The world-famous fashion company wanted authentic cowhands to model a Western wear line by Pharrell Williams, the musician and creative director for the brand’s menswear line. In January, Williams and fellow cowboy Ronnie Davis found themselves on the runway for the Louis Vuitton menswear show, which was part of Paris Fashion Week.

The invitation had gone first to Jakian Parks, who in 2021 founded Oklahoma Cowboys, of which Williams and Davis are members. The nonprofit is a memorial to Parks’ late aunt, Shay Nolan, who took him along when she attended Black rodeos across Oklahoma and Texas. “The Oklahoma Cowboys’ mission is to keep the legacy alive of the Black cowboys here in Oklahoma,” Parks said.

Parks created social media accounts to promote the nonprofit. A booking agency that works with Louis Vuitton stumbled across the Instagram account, and a few months later, Parks received an email asking about Taylor Williams as a possible model for the show. Parks also recommended Davis as a model, and the three traveled to Paris.

Williams, a 23-year-old veterinary tech who attended Edmond Santa Fe High School, competes in the fast-paced Pony Express Event, an 8-man relay race that his grandfather, Fred Williams, helped pioneer. He was seven years old when his grandfather gave him his own horse to ride, and he saddles up his current quarter horse, Thor, at least three times a week. “The Pony Express is a pretty intense event,” Williams said. “You’ve got to have some horses that can actually run.”

On the runway, Williams wore a stunning red leather suit, then modeled other creations the next day for an editorial photo shoot. He had done a bit of modeling before, but the Paris experience was a cut above, he said, with several rehearsals and lots of direction from the producers. “They told me to keep a straight face, don’t smile, and to look straight into the camera,” he said.

He and his rodeo team members wear matching Western-style shirts when they compete, “but my everyday attire is not mostly Western,” Williams said with a chuckle. “It’s gonna be sweats and a hoodie. That’s mostly how Black cowboys are.”

Parks, who rides horses but does not compete, said the revenue from Louis Vuitton and a donation made by Timberland will help Oklahoma Cowboys continue working toward its goals, such as funding summer camps, creating a campus where young competitors can work on personal fitness and practice with their horses, and taking a Black rodeo to a larger city such as Houston. “We want to spread awareness that Black cowboys were some of the first cowboys,” Parks said. “We want people to know the history of the Black cowboys.”

Williams and Davis continue to be open to modeling jobs, especially if the work helps to promote the nonprofit. Williams also hopes to return to college soon with the goal of becoming a veterinarian.

For more information or to support the Oklahoma Cowboys Foundation, contact Parks at jakian@oklahomacowboys.org.

Browse By Story Category

Advertise Your Business

Outlook readers are a dynamic, diverse audience of active consumers.

Advertise  >

The Edmond Outlook is the largest local, monthly magazine covering 50,000 homes with free, direct-mail delivery.

About Us  >

Browse Recent Issues

The Edmond Outlook is a monthly full-color, glossy magazine devoted to the Edmond area. Each exciting edition captures the vibrant personalities and interesting stories that define and connect us all.

View All  >