Updated: Nov 24, 2020
I want to start this post off by saying how thankful I am for all the opportunities I have received and continue to receive through working as a model. It has had a HUGE impact on my life and has supplied me with valuable, real connections, friendships, knowledge, and travel. I cannot thank this occupation enough for all that it has taught me. I will share with you my experience modeling in the USA and Europe thus far. The most important thing I've learned, surprisingly, is to never change. We are all unique brands. Without individuality, the world and especially the fashion world would be boring!
The Start of my Modeling Journey
Photography has always been something I have enjoyed since a young age. I played with a digital camera at a young age in and out of class. In high school, instead of being behind the camera, I became a subject of the camera. I never thought of myself to be the one in front of the camera until then. I had grown to be the ideal "modeling" height. My best friend asked to take pictures of me for a project he was working on and I was intrigued. My first photoshoots date back to my high school friends and me playing around with a camera, taking pictures of ourselves wearing a variety of outfits. At the time, it was just fun and I was only concerned with getting that one good Instagram photo. I was a young inexperienced teen. I didn't know anything about posing my body let alone facial expressions, to say the least. However, being the subject of a photograph was so empowering. I loved photo shoots working with the photographer to capture the best pic possible. It was fun and challenging. It led me to want to work as a model and learn more about the modeling field.
As a girl living in California, it was the high school dream to be chosen to work at Brandy Melville. I was fortunate to be scouted by their hiring manager and land a part-time job there. I loved working at Brandy. I met some amazing girls and one happened to be a model in San Francisco. She told me about her modeling agency in SF and how she and her twin had gotten started there. More interested than ever I decided to take a few quick digitals and email them to the agency. Luckily they responded! They told me to come in for a casting or "open call". It is similar to an audition. They take a few pictures of you, get your measurements, and ask questions about yourself and your goals. They let you know right then and there whether you fit their look or not.
So, on a Tuesday in June at 3 pm, I attended an open call in San Francisco. I was more nervous than ever in my life. And that is saying quite a lot since I’ve had several national auditions for ballet companies under my belt, and years of performance experience. This was different. I had so many butterflies in my stomach I thought I’d fly away! Two models ahead of me got a “No, thank you”. I couldn't believe it when it was my turn, not only did I get a “Yes”, but they immediately brought out the papers for me to sign with their agency. I was so excited and felt very blessed. Ever since that June in 2016, I have worked off and on as a model in San Francisco. I’ve experienced working for all types of companies from hats to sportswear. In the beginning, you do a lot of unpaid jobs to gain experience and build your portfolio. The experience comes first and the "glamorous" pay comes later. Not all models get paid for every job they acquire, which often surprises people. Many models work for free to build their portfolios. One of my portfolio building experiences was for a tech company. It was a runway job for Silicon Valley Fashion Week. We had to act out scenes backstage at the show which were simultaneously videotaped and became part of the live show. These videos and little acting snippets were actually for a Virtual Reality experience. It was an 11 hour day but was such a cool project to be a part of. It was an unpaid job but great exposure and a lot of fun!
Modeling in Europe
In August I received a “yes” from an agency in Dusseldorf which was so incredibly rewarding because it came after one hard “no” from another high fashion agency. Working as a model in Europe these past few weeks has allowed me to travel between Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands seamlessly. Modeling in Europe has been a dream come true. I have met many international and incredibly experienced individuals behind and in front of the camera. It has been amazing working in Europe and I am excited about the upcoming opportunities.
Working on set with many different individuals and energies is simply exciting. People always assume that models are divas and don't support or befriend their follow model coworkers. However, this is entirely false based on my experience. I have always felt supported by the other models, cameramen and women, make up artists and directors. We are all on the same team creating the perfect image for a product, label, or customer. Each one of us is unique in our own way bringing that uniqueness to create a powerful image. Each individual is like a shining star. They are their unique brand. All of our brands will never look like the other. Embrace your uniqueness and let it shine! You may receive many “no's” but don't let those define you. One brand may not be looking for your type but another may have you front and center!
The Impact of Modeling on My Body Image
You must acknowledge your uniqueness and respect yourself and your body. While modeling has led me to lifestyle changes it never led me to the extremes that other models experience and go through. The "glamorous" lifestyle seen by the media is often not the case. It is a hard job mentally and physically, with long hours, hard work, and a need for a strong mindset. When I first began modeling I compared myself to the other models. Perhaps due to youth and lack of confidence, I noticed when someone was thinner or more toned than I was. Nowadays I realize our strength lies in our individuality. That no two of us are alike. This realization has helped me feel better about my physical appearance and gain confidence as a person and model.
Models support one another and that support goes far in the modeling industry. It is a people business after all and people like to work with positive, confident, creative, hard-working people. It’s all about connections and if people like working with you. You’ve got to stay positive, present, and kind no matter what the day, group, or shoot is. This also applies to life outside the runway. In living and working abroad you can only be confident in yourself but open to others and their capabilities. The many “no's” just make you stronger. One “yes” can truly change everything. If you don't fit one job request you will most likely fit another. Don’t change for anyone! You're perfect exactly the way you are! You’re a unique brand both on set and off!
Want to start modeling or interested in learning more? Feel free to email me or leave a comment below and don't forget to subscribe! Create an account on the blog to subscribe and stay up to date on my postings. Thanks for visiting gorgeousandglobal.com. Until the next post!