When did you start modeling?
I started modeling when I was 16, but signed with my dream agency, Elite Model Management, my senior year of college. The very first job I booked landed me on numerous billboards, print, a commercial, and a runway show in NYC. Ironically, while it had taken me 6 years to grow out my hair as long as I’d ever had it, this first booked job also entailed dyeing it red and cutting it the shortest I’d ever had it. It was the first (and only) time I cried over my hair. I’d waited until I was by myself… walking down Mag Mile, calling my mom and crying, “It’s so short though! I can feel the back of my neck!” Of course, finding out I’d get billboards and a free trip to NYC out of the deal, not to mention an actual paycheck, eased the pain 😉
The beginning of my modeling career was incredibly exciting. I’d wanted to model for Elite since I was young and I was finally living out my dream. I got to work with some amazing, amazing creatives- photographers, directors, and often times well-known companies/brands – and I really felt I was able to express myself in a new, creative way. I’d never desired to be in the spotlight and was never ‘that person’ who wanted to be the center of attention, let alone the attention of complete strangers – but I felt really comfortable in front of the camera. I loved feeling like I could become someone else when I was in front of the camera – I became the clothes, the makeup, the hair, and the feel of the vision desired by the directors. And in the rare times the photographer or director actually took the time to explain his vision and let me do my thing to find it too? It was, hands down, my most favorite part of modeling.
I learned how to take care of my skin, my hair, and the importance of wearing sunscreen and really just staying out of the sun. (Freckles were not ‘in’ back then.) I learned how to be outgoing (I had always been somewhat shy) and how to fake a smile when I wasn’t feeling well. (There was one shoot where I was suffering from the flu… no one knew except the stylist, who held the bucket for me as I’d come back to change. Gross, I know!)
It was also during this time that I gained thicker skin. Back then it didn’t always feel this way, but later on and especially looking back now I know it to be true. While I was booking quite a few jobs and feeling “successful” as a model, there were also a lot of ‘no’s’. In the beginning, it was normal for me to come home from a go-see (casting) and beat myself up for not having gotten the gig. In the beginning it was easy to look around the room while waiting at a go-see and compare myself- my hair, my face, my body – to the other models waiting in the room with me. I had to learn to not take the ‘no’s’ personally, and then even when I did book a job, I had to learn to take constructive criticism (and then sometimes just plain ol’ criticism) while in front of the camera.
Why did you quit modeling?
Did you notice anything about the pictures above? My Grandma would say, “You’re too skinny!” and in my personal opinion, she would be right. I certainly was not living a healthy lifestyle, and what’s more is that my agent (read: not agency as a whole) continued to remind me to keep working out and ‘really watch’ what I ate – literally every time I walked into the agency. (I will note, that person is no longer working for the agency.) A little over a year went by but the final straw would be one horrific shoot that involved the photographer receiving the incorrect body measurement information from my agency and chewing me out in front of his team for not fitting into the pants he wanted me to wear. So instead of just not putting me into the shot, he grabbed a pair of scissors, cut out the butt of the pants, and handed them back to me saying, “Make them fit.” And that was when I left the ‘professional modeling world.’ I will also note that I had not told my agency about this incident (I honestly don’t know what would’ve happened, if anything) because in my heart, I no longer wanted to model. At least not that way.
A few years later, I randomly met a fashion photographer at a party and he asked me if I’d ever be interested in a ‘collaboration shoot’ – aka: he wanted to build his book but could not pay me, except with the pictures he’d take. I told him ABSOLUTELY and the two of us worked together on quite a few things that next year. We worked together on each shoot, and it was fun.
I’m not against modeling by any means. In fact, I would actually be open to going back to it one of these days – but it would have to be with an agency who embraces curves 😉
Were there any random celeb interactions during your modeling days?
While I did meet some actors as well as famous designers and other models, my favorite story is this: back in high school, my mom and I were in the waiting room at the eye doctor. We were flipping through a magazine together and came across a male model who we both agreed (for like 20 straight minutes) was completely gorgeous. I ended up tearing that page out of the magazine and putting the picture into a keepsake box, really for the funny memory it held of my mom and me going gaga over a male model. Fast forward years later when I was waiting for a male model who would be working with me on a bridal shoot. And wouldn’t you know… who walked in but Mr. Completely Gorgeous Male Model from the magazine. That was one hilarious phone call to my mom later that evening!
You asked, I answered! Check back in a few weeks for Vol. 3 of the EG Tell-All! 🙂
Need to catch up? Check out Vol. One.