Disappointment

Disappointment happens. We get turned down at castings, cut from a show, photos don’t turn out right, declined from a magazine submission. Some are easier to take than others. Some are down right devastating.

Recently, I was set to walk in a local fashion show (not Chance related). I was picked at the casting, a designer specifically requested me, I went to the fitting. Everything was set. Then a couple days later, I received a rather terse email saying I had been cut. I was speechless. I am good friends with the designer and I knew he hadn’t cut me. So off went the text message. What happened next was an outrage filled conversation between the designer and I over the fact the show staff had cut me, and we found out later many other hand picked models.

I went to the model coordinator and even the CEO. Unfortunately, no response let alone a reason was given. The designer also sent emails and made calls to his contacts. Much was said and in the end the staff stuck with their decision despite disagreement from the designer.

Their show went on. But not for me. I was devastated. Let me caveat this with the idea of levels of devastation. This broke my model heart but only ranked maybe a 4 (out of 10) on the overall scale of crises in my life. Anyway, I was insulted, deeply disappointed and my confidence seriously shook.

I had a choice. I could lash out, stay quiet, move on, wallow, get stronger, ignore it and/or give up. Several of those were not really an option in my mind. Lashing out would get me no where. I vented my frustration and hurt in private but being public with it would only look bad on me. I’ll admit, I had a serious moment where I thought about giving up. I hoped to grow stronger from it but again I’ll be honest, I can’t always do that. I’d love to say that every time I got knocked down I came back stronger. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t immediately but strengthen over time much like a healing injury, sometimes I just go back to where I was and other times I get back up but have to work to get back to where I was before the knock.  In this case, I just moved on, returning to where I was before the knock. There wasn’t the shine of growth through disappointment but that’s okay. Growth doesn’t always happen. What counts is that we chose to continue. Continue from where we are in the moment and move onto the next thing.

The next thing for me was coaching models and working backstage for Chance Fashion. It is also several photoshoots in the works and potentially a trip to New York for work.

I’ve moved on. It doesn’t mean the sting of disappointment didn’t happen nor does it mean I don’t feel the pain but I’m not letting it control me. I will not give the people who created this situation the satisfaction on seeing me down.

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Tools of the Trade – pasties

Another must in my model kit is a pair of nude pasties. Personally, I don’t like having my nipples on display whether under sheer garments or lightweight fabrics so I wear pasties if I am not wear a bra. I think can also be distracting from the clothing if my nipples are showing and the last thing I want to do as a model is distract from a garment.

Some designers and photographers many prefer visible nipples but that is for another post.

There are many pastie options including cute, funky, sexy you name they have it. I’ve even seen pasties with live succulents on them. But unless a designer specifically requests a certain look I try to go with neutral pasties.

These are the two options I use.

Gel/Silicone reusable

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Adhesive/One time use

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There are pros and cons to each.

Gel/Silicone/Reusable
Pros Cons
Comfortable Large/thick
Easy to remove/reposition Shiny
Soft Not always skin toned
Flexible Less secure especially in heat/humidity
Reusable  
Washable
Adhesive/One Time use
Pros Cons
More skin tone options Irritating
Matte color Difficult/painful to remove
Various sizes/shapes Not as flexible
Secure even in heat/humidity Wrinkle easily
Flat/Thin One-time use

Personally, I prefer the gel ones. I just find them more comfortable. And my sensitive skin reacts to the adhesive of the other kind. Nothing like having a petal shaped rash around my nipple!

I always carry a couple with my in my kit just in case. I also have a few of the one-time use version in case another model needs them.

Be safe – top safety tips

You are important. You are special. You need to remember that and keep your expectations high. Here are my tips and tricks to stay safe when working in the industry.

See below for more details on each.

  • No means NO
  • Get references
  • Tell someone the ws
  • Go with your gut
  • Provide your own transpo
  • Meet in public
  • Bring an escort
  • Hold to your standards
  • Clear, upfront expectations
  • Keep your phone with you
  • Keep you personal items with you
  • Don’t accept food or drink
  • Don’t provide too much personal information
  • Have a common language
  • Know 911

Details

  • No means NO – do not let anyone talk you into or out of something you made a decision over
  • Get references – if you are going to be working with someone especially 1:1 but even in a group get some references. See what people have to say on their FB pages, instagram, modelmayhem, etc. If you are not finding what you need request a reference or contact information for previous clients/models. this goes for photographers but also designers, coordinators, any one you may work with alone or in a non public environment.
  • The Ws – Tell someone where you are going, who you are going to be with, when you are going to be there and for approximately how long.
  • Go with you gut – if you are uncomfortable, unsure, uneasy stop and get out. You can do it politely but if your gut is telling you something isn’t right believe it.
  • Provide your own transpo – this seems like a no brainer but if you do not know the person do not get into a car with them. If they want to provide transpo then tell them to get you a cab or uber.
  • Meet in public first and if possible work in public first
  • Bring an escort – this is a controversial topic some photogs, designers, etc don’t like having an audience, some don’t mind, some enjoy it. You do what you need to do to keep you safe. If you do bring an escort make sure they are respectful of the process. An escort should sit quietly out of the way and only engage if requested.
  • Standards – If you don’t shoot nude they don’t need to see you nude. I had a photo ask me for nude pics to “get an idea of what would look best on me without the distraction of clothes” HAH! I politely told him no and that was the last I heard from him.
  • Make your expectations clear – even before you meet up a clear agreement should be made on who is providing what not only in regards to compensation but also things such as facilities (where will you change), who is providing hair/makeup, what if someone has to cancel, who all will be present (you don’t want to show up to a shoot and have 2 extra guys there to “help out”), what if you don’t like a photo, can you ask that it not be used, etc. etc. Do this first so at the shoot you can enjoy yourself and just work.
  • Keep your phone with you. No not on set but somewhere you can access it quickly and easily. Check to see if you have a signal right away.
  • Keep personal items in your line of site. Of course no one wants to be pick pocketed but with everything we keep in our purses, wallets, bags it would also be easy for someone to steal your identity
  • The only way you can safely accept food or drink from someone is if you watch them purchase it from a reputable dealer, it is sealed/you unseal it, and it never leaves your sight. Bring your own is best.
  • They don’t need to know your address, birthdate, SSN, etc. A phone number, portfolio and potentially social media should be plenty.
  • Most of you reading this blog are likely fluent in English and many of the people you work with will be as well. However, especially if you are traveling make sure you have a common language. You don’t have to be fluent but you need to be able to communicate.
  • Those of us living in the states probably had 911 memorized sometime around kindergarten or 1st grade. However, if you are traveling you need to be familiar with that country’s emergency system.

 

Paris

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As some of you know, I spent a week in Paris at the end of August. First off, I love Paris. I lived there for a couple months about 2 years ago. This time around I wanted to focus on my modeling. I was so incredibly blessed with the many opportunities I got on this trip.

Before leaving I schedule several shoots with local photographers. I will let you in on my secret modelmayhem.com. I know not much of a secret but what you may not know is that MM is great to use for overseas shoots. I don’t like it much for the states as I find I only get weirdos and creepers but I have had great luck finding photogs in Europe. Of course I am careful (see post about being safe while booking). I only work with photogs who have at least two written recommendations. And I always work in a public space.

Any way, I was quite fortunate again and found several talented people to work with. I hate to play favorites as they all gave me good photos but Scander was by far the most talented. He was the first photographer I worked with and it happened to be the day I arrived!

I arrived at 9:30 in the morning, after a long and mostly sleepless flight from Chicago. By the time I got my bags and travel by train and metro to my hotel it was close to noon. Fortunately, my room was ready and I was able to settle in and take a much needed shower. I had a full day planned as, at the time I was only planning on being in Paris a few days before going on to Belgium.

By the time my shoot rolled around at 19h (7pm). I had been all over the south portion of Paris shopping, eating and getting my bearings. Of course, I spent a good 90 minutes on hair and make up before heading to my shoot.

I must have looked ridiculous taking the metro with all my gear. Including a gigantic pink bag which held one of my dresses. Let me diverge here for a moment and fill you in on my garments.

I had several garments. For this first shoot I wore an incredible purple evening/ball gown with cape by Shawn of Mimi Wolfe. She custom tailored it for me and it fit like a glove. I also wore a bronze sequined dress by Mac Fashion House. I modeled the bronze dress for Carlisia of Mac Fashion House a few weeks prior and fell in LOVE!

For another shoot I brought several pieces from my good friend and designer Tony or Trash By Tony. These pieces were anything but trash. Chanel inspired outfits that fit perfectly in Paris.

Now you may ask did you buy these garments? No I didn’t these wonderful designers loaned me these pieces to take with me. I can’t tell you enough how important it is to network. I met all three of these designers through Chance. So even though Chance is unpaid in the end I gained so much by being able to take these beautiful pieces to Paris and shoot in them.

Any way back to my story.

After wrestling my garments to Pont Alexandre III, I met up with Scander. Then had the fairly awkward experience of dressing in public without showing anything. Fortunately this was not my first time and though I may have looked like a crazy person I was able to change without flashing anyone. I had two more wardrobe changes during the shoot. Which also included a 3 mile walk from Pont Alexandre III to the Eiffel Tower.

What an experience that was to shoot in the heart of Paris with all the people around wearing such incredible dresses. Quite a few people stopped and/or made comments. I know enough french I could make out what they were saying. All complimentary. I got called a princess a few times and had several little girls absolutely in awe.

Scander was great to work with. He has a talented eye. He was also quite patient with my jet lagged self. The best part is that even though I was jetlagged, hot (it was warm with high humidity, ick!), hungry and sleep deprived we got incredible shots! I give him a lot of credit for that but will also pat my self on the back. Then again that’s what we have to do sometimes. And if you can’t suck it up and produce good work, you probably shouldn’t be in the industry.

I so wish I could share the photos from this and my other shoots with you but we are submitting them for publication so they have to stay under wraps until they come out.

My second shoot was with Sharbel. We shot at Luxembourg Gardens. I wore Tony’s garments for this shoot. We got some good shots but unfortunately we got rained out and I was only able to get a couple outfits in. We tried to push through but there were no covered areas and I couldn’t risk getting the garments wet.

The following day I had my final shoot and unfortunately, I did not enjoy this one as much. Either the photog didn’t respect models or women in general. He was talented but I did not like his attitude. I will not include his name here as that would be unprofessional. He may have just been having an off day. And as I said he was skilled with the camera.

Though after my shoots my plans changed dramatically it all worked out for the best. I ended up staying in Paris rather than going to Belgium but I got to hang out with some friends and of course do more shopping!!

For those of you wanting to travel and work I have one word of advise. DO IT!! Of course be careful, be safe but don’t let uncertainty stand in your way. It is an incredible experience whether you are doing it for work or fun.

Here are some photos I took while out and about in Paris.

Update

No I have not fallen off the face of the earth nor have I abanone this blog. I just had to take a step back. However, I’m back and I’m recommit ting myself to this blog. Expect at least weekly posts hopefully more like 2 – 3.

Posts to look forward to include a full rundown of my shoots in Paris!!

I am not lucky

I am not lucky. I have been thinking about this after a conversation with a friend. Here is the back story.

The other day, I was hired to model at a local car show. The photographer paid for my admittance and as well as my fee.

I posted about it on facebook, just saying I was looking forward to it. A friend ask how much tickets were for the event. I responded that I didn’t know as the photog was paying for me. Her response was “lucky”.

It was harmless. A quick comment no one would really think about. But it got me thinking.

I am not lucky. Luck is random. Luck is arbitrary. Luck means good things happen on a whim  Luck does not consider skill, talent, hard work or merit of any form. No I am not lucky.

I am fortunate. Good things have come my way but I earned them. I worked my tail off to get where I am. I worked for free. I took jobs other models turned their noses up at. I practiced. I trained. I worked hard. So I am fortunate but I am not lucky.

Pose Critique 9

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This photo is from a fantastic shoot I had with Jeraurd Craig of Verseau Photography. Definitely one of my top 5 shoots of all time!

But on to the photo. I like it. It is a classic albeit basic pin up pose. It shows off my curves and my sass. Here is how I could have improved.

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The yellow stripes shows my lines. In this case body curve and nipple set. The blue stripe is more ideal. If I had more of a curve in my back it would have lifted my bust therefore nipple set. That would have added a sassy more “pin up” pose. I would have preferred if I had turned my fingers out a bit. That would have slimmed my arms and allowed me to pull my shoulder back and therefore arch my back more.

Had I followed the blue line I would have wanted to move my hands furthe forward. That would have blocked any extra tummy pooch from arching my back.

On the plus side, I do like my face. Sassy and that’s what I wanted for this shoot.

Walking off the runway

I am taking a slight detour on my stomp down the runway. From December 2015 – February 2017 I have walked in all but 2 Chance Fashion shows. I started model coaching in February and knew that would cut way back on my time on the runway. Then in the last couple months I made the transition to backstage manager. This takes me off of Chance’s runway entirely. I will be on other runways so I’m not retiring by any means but it will certainly be different than monthly shows.

Pose Critique 8

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Remember, how I talked about S and C posing. Well here is a rather dramatic C pose.

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I can’t say this was an easy pose especially on the awkward, sharp rocks of a typical NW beach. But the sweep of my body shows grace and elegance, fitting for this outfit. It also shows off my curves in a less traditional way.

By bringing my arms up I continue the visual lift the curve started. Just imagine what it would look like if I just let my arms hang… a little alien abduction. And if I put my hands on my hips it would emphasize my pelvic area. (Remember hands emphasize). That is an option but not the look I wanted for this shot.

I do wish I had softened my neck, jaw and face.

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You can see the tension that I’m feeling due to the challenging pose. Yes it’s challenging but you never want that to show.

If I had opened my mouth just a little bit would have softened my jaw, in turn softening my neck. It would have changed my whole look. Adding a little smirk in my eyes would have masked the rest of the tension.

Overall, good photo. Even very good when you don’t look too closely. It’s just my face that mars it.