“You’ll never be a model.” Five words you hope to never hear as you venture into one of the world's most competitive industries -- but what happens if you do? MODL Behavior is a great resource for newly signed models seeking to navigate uncharted fashionable waters. But what happens if you JUST CAN’T get signed? As someone who has experienced rejection first hand (no pun intended), and not only survived, but thrived; going on to book national print campaigns and grace the runways in New York -- I can tell you that the word NEVER means absolutely NOTHING!
Hardly able to contain my nervous and excited energy, I eagerly awaited my first-ever interview with a modeling agent. After what seemed like hours, a slender lady with a pinched expression entered the room and began accessing me. After meer seconds, she looked me directly in the eye and said, “I am sorry you’ll never be a model; no photographers will ever take your photo.” I was shocked! Her reasoning? My arm. I was born a congenital amputee, which means I was born missing part of my arm. Her reasoning was that no one would hire me because I was physically different.
Looking back, I understand where she was operating from (whether she was aware of it or not, I’ll never know). It was not MY appearance or inability that she was rejecting but rather HER own fear of trying something new. Lesson 1: Just because something hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean it can never be done. Lesson 2: Other people’s thoughts or feelings about you are rarely about you.
When I left the agency I figured I had two options; give up, or go for it anyway. So go for it, I did! So, what does that mean? I decided to be my own agency. I didn’t have a fancy title, office, or even a car at the time, but I knew what I wanted. I began building my portfolio -- becoming comfortable in front of the camera. And then, when I felt the time was right, I reached out to local magazines and boutiques and negotiated for spots in their magazine/advertising. Lesson 3: Giving up is for losers, don’t do it! Lesson 4: Learn how to advocate for yourself.
I hustled my ass off in Hawaii for YEARS until I got my big break. A high-end national retailer contacted saying that not only did I book the gig, but that they would fly me to New York and put me up in a hotel free of charge. As you can imagine this blew my mind. You see, throughout the years while I was hustling, I would get discouraged thinking I’d never meet my goals. But this?! This made me realize that the hard work and persistence really did amount to something. Lesson 5: If you try long enough and hard enough you will meet your goal.
Since then, I have walked in New York Fashion Week for six seasons, been featured in the top fashion magazines, and have interviewed on the Today Show with Megyn Kelly.
So the point is you can do this! If you are someone who was rejected by an agency, all hope is not lost; you can still reach your goal, you’ll just have to go about it differently than what you had originally anticipated.
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