Lessons I’ve Learned from the Modeling Industry

I have been a part of the modeling industry ever since I was 15 years old. In the beginning, I had no idea what I was really getting myself wrapped into. It seemed like a fun opportunity to try something new, and what teenage girl would really pass up the opportunity to model? Throughout my time with my agency, I believe that I have faced the lowest of my lows but I have also felt like I was on top of the world. There were parts about it that I loved and other parts that I absolutely despised. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t change the path that I chose but I also wish that certain things had gone differently. I’ve modeled in KC Fashion Week, for Gucci, done more wedding fashion shows than I can count and I truly learned a lot from my agency, designers and other models I’ve met along the way. I’ve grown as a person and made lifelong friendships with some of the people I’ve met. Here are some of my biggest takeaways. 

  1. 1. You will deal with rejection.

    This is quite possibly the biggest lesson I’ve learned. To actually get to the modeling part, you first need to get selected from the casting. There were often times that I would attend castings, show my portfolio and walk for the agents just to get told I wasn’t the right “look” that they had wanted. It was nothing personal — the designer had a vision and they wanted to make it happen. On the other hand, I have had designers tell me that I was the perfect fit. 

     You quickly get comfortable getting told “no” and you learn to pick yourself back up. I have been told “no” for reasons ranging from my height, to my nose, to my knee caps. However, you have to get up and keep trying and putting yourself out there because your next casting might be just the one for you!

  2. 2. Professionalism goes a long way.

    The amount of effort that goes into getting that one shot that you see on magazine covers takes hours of work and an entire team of people. Let’s say that you’ve gone through the casting process and you landed the job. Great! Now you have to attend all the fittings to make sure that the clothing will fit you the way that the designer wants. The day of the actual shoot or show? Expect to be there for at least four hours. 

     Between hair, makeup, lighting, designers, other models, etc., you interact with so many people. I’ve gotten rehired for gigs and designers before simply for the fact that I was “reliable” and “easy to work with.” On the other hand, I’ve also watched girls be rude to the receptionist or an assistant and get kicked out almost immediately. Making sure you are polite and professional sets you apart from competition and makes people actually want to be around you!

  3. 3. You are more than just a number.

    Throughout my time as a model, I cannot count the number of times that I had to discuss my weight, hip size, height, etc. I had my measurements taken almost weekly and despite already being underweight, I was constantly told I needed to be smaller in order to get hired or if I ever wanted a chance in LA or New York. Because modeling was my job, I always had to make sure that I was ready for a shoot or a show at any time. My life consisted of counting calories in everything, including the gum I was chewing to the minutes I spent on a treadmill trying to burn fat. It was an unhealthy obsession and took me down some very dark roads. It took me a while to understand that the number on the scale did not impact what kind of a person I was or define my worth. 

I genuinely loved the experiences that I was lucky enough to have and the people that I met along the way. I wouldn’t trade it for the world since I truly believe that it helped shape me into the person that I am today. However, it’s important for people to realize that modeling is not all that it seems. At the end of the day, all those models are real people with the same struggles that we all face.