Were your first few years of modeling hard? How did you manage to stick it out?
Oh my god yes. I started very young at 14, and I was a young 14. I felt like I was years behind my school friends mentally, so to be thrown into the adult world of modeling felt like I had entered another universe. Honestly, after 10 years of modeling, it still sometimes feels that way!
However one of the key’s to sticking it out for me was developing strong relationships within the fashion world. I have always been a socially awkward, borderline anxious person, but in a way modeling helped ease this quality in me. It taught me that you don’t need to be the life of the room for people to be interested in you – quite the opposite. The more you are present with someone, and listen, the more you connect. I learned to cultivate the eye of the hurricane vibe on set, with my just observing everything that was going on around me. Through doing this I found that fashion people were longing for human connection as much as I was, that they are human and loving, with fears and families, and this realization was the key to my cultivating some of the best friendships of my life so far. And everyone wants to work with their friends – every job for me with my regular clients is such a fun experience, and I feel fortunate to have them in my life.
As far as the actual work goes, it definitely was hard. Nothing will ever quite prepare you for the mental exhaustion that comes from constant rejection. But I learned early on that I was not getting rejected for whom I am as a whole, simply for how I look. There are so many models that look similar to me, and if I don’t have what the client is after, there’s not a lot I can do. But most importantly, it doesn’t affect me. I know that I am not my appearance.
Which brings me to my final point – in order to cultivate the level of detachment from my looks I have had to really make developing my sense of self a priority. Modeling can be tough; at an age that women are typically growing into themselves and learning who they are, models are being taught to be a canvas - to be a chameleon to someone else’s creative vision. They also have to be street smart, and much older than their years, and this can lead to a feeling of being lost, and tugged in many directions, with no idea where to turn.
Over the years I have paid close attention to what feels right to me, and discarded the rest. I have kept in close touch with my sense of self, through meditation and my interests outside of work, and have not been afraid to let people and situations go that did not feel right. This has lead to quite a few direction changes personally, and the letting go of comforts that were not taking me down a happy, healthy road. And in doing so, I learned to be alone and vulnerable; and the strength that comes from being fully self-sufficient.
Modeling can definitely be tough in the beginning, but it has taught me so much, and I am so thankful for my life. You take what you want out of all your experiences, so focus on the positive and your life will be happy!
Peace and love,