Tag Archives: talent industry

Chasing Beauty: The Balancing Act of Being Healthy and Fit

29 Aug

I am the first one to post quotes on Facebook like: Never Give Up, You Only Achieve What You Think You Can Achieve, and Get Fit-Yes You Can.  I take pride is pushing myself in every realm of my life in an effort to achieve the goals I’ve set and help others.  With that though, I often also experience the “it’s never enough” feeling. I know there must be many people out there that feel these same feelings.  You set a goal, work hard, achieve it, and then immediately begin to compare yourself to those around you who are one step farther.  You pay little mind to the external factors that determine why, you just think you need to do more.

This feeling, at least for me, is often illustrated in the realm of fitness and body image.  I think back seven years ago to my initial goals of losing weight and feeling healthier.  A size 14 at the time, my dream was the buy a sleeveless dress and feels good wearing it.  I wanted to wear a bikini at the beach and feel comfortable.  Slowly over time I dedicated myself to the goal and got there.  I was temporarily happy, yet quickly set a new goal.  I can be leaner, maybe a size 6 would be nice, maybe I ought to be a little more toned in my upper body and that will be perfect.  So I worked at that, got there, and then revised again.  Some of my revisions had a lot to do with career goals I was chasing and other’s opinions of me.  I let that guide me to some degree.  I am acutely aware of the societal pressure that exists to look a certain way to be accepted.  I know the stigmas attached to beauty.  Working in the modeling world, I certainly feel a tremendous amount of pressure in this sense.  Sometimes I get so confused I am not even sure what the ideal is anymore.  When this happens I go right back to this: The ideal is feeling healthy and being balanced.  I can’t say I think that’s always the ideal in other’s minds, but for me it is.  I’d go crazy trying to achieve an unobtainable goal if it wasn’t.

As I work to take the next step in my career, I’m strongly dedicated to improvement but firmly committed to balance.  Having been at every spectrum of the health, weight and image scale I know exactly where I am happiest.  I know that there will always be things about my physique and my looks that are not my favorites.  I often look at the girl next to me and think “she’s got it all” when in reality there are things she struggles with as well.  We each have a unique beauty about us, it’s most noticeable when we strive for health, when we chase the goal and not the image and when we accept that there are things about us, no matter how hard we try to change them, that just are. Beauty is most obvious to me in people who smile, who are self-confident and who are grounded.  I’ve noticed I find those qualities to be the most attractive part of a person both physically and spiritually and that’s the goal I want to chase.  I certainly want to be an athlete, healthy, fit and strong, but I don’t want to kill myself trying to change the smallest of things, to achieve a goal that really will not matter much as soon as I check it off the list.

At the end of the day, I remind myself to define my health and fitness journey by how I feel, not by how others think I look.  I know where I need to be.  It’s a place where I am physically, mentally and spiritually balanced.  I am not starving, I am respecting my body, and I am pushing my physical capabilities at a reasonable level.  Wherever that takes me is where I’ll go and I’ll be content there.


Almost Failing as a Talent: The Highs and Lows of My Journey Into the Industry

6 Aug

It struck me that lately a lot of people have asked what prompted my decision to pursue a career in the modeling, writing and styling industries.  I thought I’d share in a blog for anyone interested.  I hope that some of my journey helps to inspire those interested in similar pursuits and offer usable tips.

It was about a year and a half ago when on a whim I replied to a post from the Editor of a local magazine about being featured in the About Me section, a small feature that shared highlights of someone in the community discussing fashion, hobbies and interests.  I didn’t really figure I’d hear back but I figured I had nothing to lose.  I was surprised when she emailed me back quickly and said absolutely, we’d love to use you.  I was really excited actually.  How fun!  The photographer assigned to shoot me was James Patrick (www.JamesPatrick.com ), ironically because he doesn’t really shoot that feature much.  I’m very superstitious and believe people come in to your life for a reason, keep that in mind as you read on.

James showed up to shoot me a few weeks later and we got to talking.  We have a lot in common and I was impressed by his enthusiasm for his art.  It was such a fun shoot. I remember I kept saying “you can photo-shop this right?”  Funny, I know now he prefers not to over photo- shop things.  He tends to see the beauty in realness, something I’ve come to appreciate.

The feature appeared in So Scottsdale’s (www.SoScottsdale.com) January 2011 issue.  James Patrick and I became fast friends and he spent a handful of months convincing me I should shoot some portfolio images with him.  I thought the idea was pretty ridiculous at first (fear!).  Finally I decided what the heck, it will be fun and booked him.  While shooting with him he mentioned he’d had some challenges with a location scheduled for that weekend in Tucson.  Remember, we’d become friends so I said “I can help with that,” and I did.  A friend of mine had the perfect house  and she was gracious enough to allow me to use it.  As such, I joined James alongside his assistant Jason Black (www.portfolioblack.com ) for that shoot and helped  on-set.  That shoot happened to be the cover shoot for Max Sports & Fitness Magazine (www.MaxSportsandFitness.com ) with Alex LaChance and Matt Christianer (www.MattChristianer.com).

During the shoot I did what I was told and tried to not get in the way too much but I remember being so excited to be there and just captivated watching the models.  Alex was the sweetest person.  If I remember correctly this was her first cover shoot.  In true Kim style (www.KimMillerStyle.com) I couldn’t help but jump in a few times… use my earrings, try this on, can I fix your hair?  Then I’d realize what I was doing and back-up.   Everyone seemed to appreciate it though, including James, so it worked.

I loved being there so much and wanted to learn that I offered to help James with anything and everything he needed for free.  (NOTE –  for free).  I figured there was something I could offer him of value, and I wanted to learn from him and the models with whom he worked.  He took me up on it.  I’m pretty good at logistics so I started booking locations for him and helping on set.  Having worked in fashion for 6 years prior styling came pretty naturally.  Fitness models on the whole seem to really appreciate styling assistance.  They are often self-admittedly not fashionable so many allowed me to help.

Having shot for a magazine, portfolio in hand, and some experience watching models on set I was seriously beginning to consider what I could do in the industry. Three of my friends sent me a casting call for City Center of City North.  City North is a commercial and residential development (http://citycenterofcitynorth.com )   They were holding an open call to cast a handful of people to model for all their venues.  “You should absolutely go,” my friend told me.  No way, I thought, I won’t get picked.  “This is so you,” she said. ” You dine, shop and frequent these places.  They want REAL people.”  I finally caved and decided to go.  I was pretty nervous when I showed up. Here’s the dialogue that played out in my head.

 “Let go of your fear Kim, Just do this.”

“You really don’t have any right to be here.” 

“Stop, that’s negative talk. You’re gonna get this if you believe you can.”

“I know some people are probably laughing at me for doing this.” 

“That’s not true, that’s in your head.”

……and on and on it went.

I was so well prepared and the audition lasted 5 minutes.   Geez, not a lot of time to impress, I thought, but a week later I got the call.  “You got the gig”.  I was at work at Divalicious (www.shopDivalicious.com) at the time.  Terri Coakley gave me a big hug.  She was the first person I shared the news with.

One of the shot used by City North in their marketing campaign.

The City North experience was incredible and it was there that I had a chance to talk to photographer Elvis Castillo (www.elvis-castillo.com ) who gave me some great advice.  “Kim, you really ought to start a fan page on facebook and a website.”  I laughed out loud…seriously!  It’s funny looking back because I thought the idea was so ridiculous at the time.  I now understand what he meant.  My facebook page, Kim Miller Style (www.facebook.com/KimMillerStyle) and my personal profile at Kimberly Kay Miller, to some degree, is meant to be a forum to offer information, share my work, share the work of others and inspire people along their own journey.  It’s not all “look at me”.  At least I really hope it’s not anyway.  I didn’t get that at the time.  Live and learn.  He gave me a ton of good modeling advice.  I was very grateful.So now I had some real modeling work under my belt, still helping James for free, and really focusing on fitness, my true love.  I have a personal transformation story having lost 50 pounds and in working with James I’d met a lot of physique competitors.  I decided on two things. I’d compete and I’d blog (www.themodernme.wordpress.com ).  I love to write but the idea of blogging was scary at first to me.  People will think I’m weird.  Who blogs?  The more I thought about it though I figured maybe there were just a few people that would benefit from hearing my story.  If I can lose the weight, find strategies and make it work, anyone can.  So that was my lead story.  I jumped in and started blogging, and haven’t stopped since!

Along the lines of competing…I started researching coaches and decided on Scott Keppel (http://www.scottstrainingsystems.com ).  I’ve worked with Scott’s Training Systems (STS) for a year now and couldn’t be happier.  Scott has a “real-life” approach to coaching, which I love.  It’s never win at all costs.  This worked for me, as I am a strong proponent of balance.  Working with Scott took my fitness to the next level, and although my bikini competitions were my first and probably last, they were one of the best things I’ve done to understand who I am and what I represent.  I was never there for a trophy; I was there for their journey.

So, here’s where we are at.  I’m still working for James (for free), meeting models, improving upon my logistics and styling skills, building a portfolio, blogging & focusing on fitness.  I hear about Fitness & Sports Network’s conference (www.fmievents.com) from a number of people and decide to go.  I feel a bit unqualified to be attending because at this point I don’t completely know what I’m getting in to (release fear!) but I register anyway.  I remember asking James, should I have business cards?  What should I write on them as a title?  “What do you think you should have as a title,” he says. (So James if you know him).  “Uhhhh…I don’t know.  Can’t you please just tell me,” I respond.  We end up talking at length about this and I finally decide on commercial and fitness talent and here’s why. I see myself as much more than a model.  I really love to write, share information, motivate others to live healthy and embrace fitness, help people become more fashionable, etc.  I also aim to not be limited to work in the fitness industry, so this title seems to work.  It’s broader than model in my mind and seems to suit me better.

I show up at FMI, it’s October 2011.  I’m near competition and I look super fit but I’m run down and in a serious phase of self-discovery.  To be perfectly honest I was completely overwhelmed at FMI.  During the conference I broke down crying with James Patrick and Jason Black (my dear friends at that point) and confided in Shannon Jay Doughtery (www.shannonjaydougherty.com ), who’d also become a good friend and motivator for me.  All three of them helped me pull it together.  I just kept thinking, ohh my gosh, I’m going to completely fail if I don’t book some really big job or end up on a magazine cover.  It honestly took me a while a sort through all the information I learned at FMI, and a while to make sense of it.  The challenge of that conference is that you leave fairly overwhelmed with information, and if you are like me you want to live up to expectations. I’m not a real “get out there and market the hell out of yourself” kind of girl and leaving the conference I felt a bit like I failed.  I didn’t work hard enough.  I felt unlike myself there because I was overwhelmed.  One of the few things I remember clearly from this conference is sitting listening to Fitness Model and Talent Danielle Pacente (www.daniellepascente.com) talk about her entry into the industry.  She shared her expereinces and it struck me when she said, “I knew I wanted a career doing this, so there was no maybe for me,  it was happening.”  That kind of attitiude is contagious so I figured, we’ll if she was brave enough to do some of the things she did I can certainly at least try.  The conference was one of the best things I’ve done for my career, it just took me a while to figure it out.  The people I met at FMI have been some of the greatest supporters I could ever ask for and the information presented has been extremely valuable.  I believe people never succeed in isolation, only in groups, so this was an integral part of my career development, not to mention it earned me some life-long friends.

Returning from FMI, I began to work on pitching stories and writing.  A friend of mine, Gretchen Goodell, happen to send one of my blogs (fate) to the AZ Republic Newspaper with a note that said, ‘I love her articles, maybe you can use her for something.”  Just days later I had an interview with the newspaper who eventually agreed to use me as a featured fitness blogger (www.azcvoices.com).  Woohoo!  I’d been working hard on my blog and gaining followers and this was the next step.  A goal of mine when I first has ideas about writing had been to work with them so I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity.  As a side note, my blogging for the Republic later resulted in being published in AZ Magazine (www.azcentral.com/style/azmag/ ).  Being published in AZ Magazine resulted in many people connecting with me for tips, training, jobs and just to say that they were inspired by something I wrote.  I’ll take it.  My primary goal is and will continue to be to change lives for the better and help inspire healthy living, balance and confidence, so while these small things don’t get a lot of public recognition, I consider them the most valuable thing I do.

Pitching, pitching, pitching…images, article, images, articles, and often both.  This sponsorship, that opportunity, this ambassadorship, that contest.  Everything that suited me I looked into.  The thing about it, if you follow me on facebook you see some of the highlights of the things I’ve done and been successful at.  What you don’t see is that for every one thing I land I’ve probably been told no nine other times.  My success rate is probably about 10-15%.  It’s a small margin but I’ll take it because I love the things I work on.  So, don’t be disappointed when you send in a few things and get a no, or better yet get no response.  Just keep plugging. Jeremy Scott (www.JeremyScottFitness.com ) once shared with me that he never gives up.  He just puts his head down and keeps working.  Eventually when its’ right it will happen.  That advice and knowing the success he’s achieved has gone a long way toward helping me realize you have to put a whole lot out there and get comfortable with hearing no to make progress.

As luck would have it a friend of mine, Chris Lynn (www.chrislynnemodel.com) saw my styling potential and hired me to style her for upcoming photo shoots.  If memory serves, she was my first paying styling client.  She later landed on the cover of Scottsdale Health Magazine and allowed me to style her for that feature.  So grateful.  She’s a talented model and has become a great friend.   That cover caught the attention of Arizona Model and Actor Management Owner Gail McCauley (www.azmodelandactormanagement.com ), who contacted me shortly after to introduce herself.  A handful of conversations later, I met with her to discuss my career goals.  She saw my potential and offered to sign me and I took it.  Here’s why.  Gail’s been in the industry for a long time and a handful of years ago had a vision and decided to create her own agency.  There are some really big agencies in town, but AMAM suits me.  Gail provides her talent with personalized attention and actively seeks out opportunities.  She looks for not only talent but personality.  As such, our agency is filled with folks who love what they do, support each other, are grateful and give 110%.  I feel lucky everyday to be part of this great team and AMAM has built a strong reputation in the fitness community, which is fabulous because so much of what I like to do falls within this realm.

Ohh my gosh, I’m signed with an agency!  I’m honestly so excited at this point and this helped me tremendously because with Gail’s representation I start booking more jobs.  Commercial and fitness work, print ads, web videos, runway shows, brand ambassadorships.  I definitely believe that if you want to succeed in the modeling industry you should find the right agent and work to become signed.  It helps to have someone acting on your behalf who has your best interest in mind.

I’m still pitching and I’m lucky enough to get some yeses.  Pressure’s on now.  The playing field changes when you are getting paid.  I’m writing on things like running, and parenting and nutrition and mental fitness.  Trying to stick with things that fit my brand.  I write on things I love and I am excited to be published.  I always worry with every great thing that it will be the last.  I’ve learned to do everything I can though to not think that way and just keep saying “yes I can.”  The yes I can attitude is the best indication of whether you will succeed.  Convince yourself of it!

To wrap this article we come back to James Patrick. It took me 6 months of free work and I loved every minute of it!  Finally, James says you are hired.  I don’t want you going anywhere Kim.  I adore working for him because he inspires me both personally and professionally and the models we work with are truly the most amazing people.  Of all the things I do, I probably love this the most.  There is not better feeling then helping someone look and feel amazing on camera.  Working with James has helped me realize that GOOD photographers can take experienced models and create fabulous images but  GREAT photographers can take a novice, inspire confidence, help them open up and show their true personality on camera and create amazing images.  There is a big difference there!  So, sorry to say, but if you are a photographer that complains all the time about shooting models who hire you who are not experienced enough… the “I’m so great that you should bow down to me attitude”, then you are really missing out.  Some of the most talented and and accomplished models I know started their career because a photographer believed in them enough to say “you can do this” and helped coach in a way that inspired them and allowed them to learn.

A lot of great projects came my way I haven’t mentioned in this post.  It’s getting awfully long so I’m not going to go into it, except to say you can also check TheProExposure at www.theproexposure.com, a podcast I co-produce in an effort to help those  looking to succeed in the industry learn from those who have been successful.  There we interview models, photographers, editors and other folks who have great insights and believe in helping others.  The ProExposure is soon expanding to include video clips, blogs, articles and many other user-friendly resources.

If you only read one paragraph I hope it’s the one below.  The important themes I hope you picked up on are:

Release Fear: 

Everything I do requires an element of letting go of fear.  I’m not a risk-taker and all the things I pursue involve an element of risk.  I might not make it, I might not succeed, I might be told I flat out suck.  I have to actively remember to let this go.  It’s the only way I’ve succed at anything.  You have to remember this as well.  Set aside your doubt.  If people don’t see your potential, they are not worth worrying about.  Follow your passion.  Believe you can do it!

Just be You:

People in the areas I dabble in get it.  They understand blogging, they understand fan pages, they get why I read marketing and motivational books, they appreciate the challenge of fitness pursuits; they know what it’s like to pitch articles and get rejected.  People not in that world don’t always get it or why anyone would do it.  I’ve lost friends as result.  I had to learn to become comfortable with being judged.  I had to believe that regardless of what people said I knew why I was doing what I was doing, and I had to stand by that.  Just be Kim was my motto.  You can’t make everyone happy all the time.

Invest in People:

People come into your life for a reason.  I obviously didn’t mention a million people who have impacted my career, but I’ve named a few here.  I look at every person and think, there’s a reason this person’s in my life.  What can I learn from them?  We’ve all met others who seem to know it all and don’t think they can learn from others, especially those who might be perceived as “less accomplished.”  I suppose I don’t think that way.  Sometimes it’s the people you least expect that change your life.  Always keep that in mind.

 Do Not Quit:

I have wanted to quit so many times in my life.  In high school athletics, in college activities, in grad school overwhelmed with academics, in my fitness pursuits and goals to lose weight and get in shape, in physique competing and even in parenting sometimes during my darkest moments, and especially in pursuing a career in the talent industry. If you really want something under NO circumstances is quitting an option.  If you are working really hard I guarantee you will hit a wall.  There will be a moment that you think everything you have done has gotten you no where.  You will be frustrated, disappointed, overwhelmed, dismayed and sad.  It is that very moment right then that will determine your success.  That’s usually the turning point.  Those that want it pull it together, put their head down and work harder.  Call who ever you need to for support, pull in all your resources, ask people to cheerlead for you.  Whatever you do, don’t give up…period!!!!

Diaries of a Model: Volume II

1 Jun

A recent conversation with a photographer got me thinking again about modeling and what makes a professional model.  I think a lot of people wonder this and some raise eyebrows at you when you say that’s what you do.  Modeling can be defined very broadly, which leaves the door wide open for interpretation when you say that’s your profession.  If you are anything like me, the last thing you want people to think is that when you say you model it means “Ya, I dance on tables wearing a Hooter’s shirt”.  Don’t get me wrong, I have no issues with that, that’s just not my personal definition of modeling nor what I aspire to do.

So how can you determine whether you have the right to call yourself a professional model?  Well, I’ll tell you one thing, it really helps to get some experience under your belt.  You will feel more qualified and legitimate.  Until that point though, the bottom line is you need to believe in yourself, your goals and your ability.  Here are some things that I think qualify you as a professional.

1)      Take yourself seriously.  This is not a hobby.  Not something you say, “Well, if this doesn’t work out oh well, it’s just a hobby.”  That’s actually fear talking by the way, but that’s a topic for another blog post.  You approach your craft with the attitude that this is who I am, I am giving it 100% and I will make it work.  You don’t whisper to people “I model”.  You say it with conviction.

2)      Study your craft.  You have a lot to learn and the good news is that you will get better.  Every single model had a first and most, when you talk to them, will tell you that they probably looked ridiculous on set.  Find those around you who do it and do it well.  Identify people from whom you want to learn and take classes from them, ask for coaching, find a mentor, follow others.  I heard someone say the other day, “I never watch what others do”.  Really, I thought to myself?  That’s truly on of the best ways to learn.  I’m always watching and learning.  Watching and learning is different from copying others, keep that in mind.

3)       Be professional.  I cannot stress this enough!  If this is your job and you care about it you had better be professional.  That means you show up on time.  You give 200% of your energy.  You follow-up when necessary.  You come prepared, meaning rested and showered and energized and ready to go.  Bring your business cards, your resume, and your comp card if you have one.  Study the company, the brand, the organization, whatever it is that you are representing.  Separately, if you are auditioning the same principles apply.  Figure out what they want and decide if you fit the mold.  Practice!  Understand for whom you are aiming to work.

4)      Define yourself.  You will obviously not have a completely clear vision of the kind of work you want to do as you get started in this industry.  Part of that comes with practice, opportunities and growth.  You should; however, invest a significant amount of time thinking about who you are and what you aim to represent.  Who do you resonate with and which clients would find you marketable?  Find those and focus there.  Let’s face it; I could spend the next five years marketing myself to Victoria’s Secret.  Am I going to get hired?  No, I’m sure I won’t.  Why, I not 23.  Unless for some weird reason they decide to do “meet our cast of 38-year-old of moms” I am likely never going to get that job.  If you are perplexed, ask someone you respect.  Sometimes they can see things in you that you can’t see in yourself.  Think about what you love to do, who you spend your time with, where you shop, where you travel to, what your passions are and start there.

 5)      Be grateful and humble. I live by the saying that hard work trumps talent when talent doesn’t work hard.  Sometimes it’s not the prettiest, or the most talented, or the most experienced, or the most athletic person that gets the job.  It’s the person that is willing to work hard for it and is grateful for the experience.  Landing one job does not mean you land another.  Build relationships and earn trust.  Give more than you get, period.  Celebrate every opportunity and give 100%.  Do things for the right reasons.  Don’t forget to help others along the way.

6)      Don’t compromise. This is an important factor in the modeling/talent industry.  You will be pulled in so many directions, challenged by people who expect things from you that you are sometimes uncomfortable with.  You will be told by one client this is the way it’s done and something completely different by the next.  Your job is to make it happen, whatever they want.  Remember that modeling is not about you! With that said, when you find yourself in a situation that screams “this isn’t right”.  Just walk away.  Be true to what you represent.  Be polite and professional but don’t ever let anyone pressure you into doing something that doesn’t feel right.  Once something is out there, it can’t be taken back.  Aim to please but do not compromise your brand.  People will respect you for that.

These are my points I remember every day in trying to craft a career in this industry.  Be professional, be humble, it’s not about me, give more than I get, help others, represent things I believe in, find mentors, learn from those who have walked this road before me, surround myself with people who believe in me, believe in myself and my abilities, trust that I will improve with every job, be the person the client remembers because I am organized, timely, friendly, and professional.  Treat every single person with respect.  Above all, respect myself and remember that I am doing this because it’s what I love.  Find ways to use my experience to empower others and give back.  Always give back more than you get.

Good luck in your journey.  May you have more highs than lows.  Whatever it is you aim to do, if you believe in yourself and work hard enough, you will get there.

Let Go: How Caring Too Much Can Hold You Back From Achieving Success

1 Apr

Do any of the following titles fit your personality?



People pleaser




Rule follower


If you said yes to any of those thing than you’ll likely find something in this article that resonates.  Those qualities, as positive as they are in so many ways, can often hold you back from achieving your goals.

If you’ve worked in the talent industry, or even made an attempt to build a business where YOU are the product, you will probably understand what I mean when I say, “fear stunts growth.”  It’s extremely hard to put yourself out there when “you” are the product, because the word NO feels like a direct reflection on your worth.

There are a number of things to consider and carefully avoid falling victim to if you want to be successful in the talent industry, or really any industry I think for that matter.  The following five aspects often hold people back from success.  Consider these if you are attempting to build a business as a talent.

You don’t want to bother people:  Often times I find the most qualified people lose jobs because they are not persistent enough.  Why, because they aim to be highly respectful of others time and feel that once they submit things, they don’t want to be a bother by continuing to follow-up.  I think the reality is that those who are persistent get the job.  I’ve talked to countless people who have told me that they tried relentlessly before they were published, or signed with an agency, or considered for a part.  Eventually their hard work paid off.  Generally I think if you bother people too much they will let you know, until then keep trying.  Remember that people get busy and they forget who you are.  It’s your job to help them remember.  Be respectful of course, and know how you can help them, but be persistent.

Case in Point: I submitted an article somewhere.  I waited to follow-up, and waited and waited.  I finally decided I had to do this and risk bothering the editor.  The response, “that’s right Kim, I really enjoyed your article, but I forgot about it and now I just published the issue I would have like to use it in.”  Lesson: I should have followed-up bi-weekly at the risk of hearing, “we know you sent us something Kim.  Don’t call us, we’ll call you”.  Then at least I’d know.  This time I lost the chance.

You don’t ask for help:  For whatever reason, it’s very hard to ask for help.  If you are a perfectionist you might feel like you should already know what you are asking.  The truth is you should ask for help every opportunity you get.  Ask others who are experienced.  Don’t be afraid to expose your nativity.  Be the dumbest person in the room and admit it.  It’s okay.  You have to get over that.  Surround yourself with people more knowledgeable than you, doing things you want to do, and you’ll get there.  But in the meantime don’t be afraid to look like a complete fool while you learn.

Case in Point: I submitted an article and the editor made suggestions on how I could improve it.  She offered to help me if need be, but I didn’t ever ask because I figured I should really know how to do this.  I probably spent three times longer than necessary trying to figure it out.  I should have just asked for help.  In the time I would have saved in doing so I could have written an entire new article!

Lesson Learned: I’m not going to get better, at least not very quickly, if I don’t learn to accept help, especially when it’s offered to me.

You don’t hit send: There’s a mental game we play with ourselves when it comes to submitting things that require answers.  Maybe you have hopes of being considered at a modeling agency and you are working on your portfolio.  It’s never done enough to actually send.  Then maybe it is, but you don’t think its good enough.  You keep working on your skills, building your experience and in the meantime someone comes along with less experience, possibly less skills and gets the job.  At some point you have to tell yourself, “What do I have to lose?  If the answers no, then next time I’m going to work harder for a yes”.  If you are sensitive this is one of the most difficult things you will face.  Hearing no is SO hard.  Realistically though, you need at least 9 no’s for one yes.  Many people might tell you that you need 100 no’s for a yes. Make a goal.  I’m going for no’s.  How many can I collect?  Play long enough and eventually you will hit on something.

Case in Point: I was going through my draft email box the other day.  I stumbled upon an email I was going to send regarding a potential modeling opportunity.  I had even attached my resume and pictures already but I never sent it.  Why, because I thought I could re-word it so it sounded better.

Lesson Learned: I missed the deadline.  So much for that.  You can’t win if you don’t play!

Your spending way too long crafting emails:  Okay, clearly there are people who don’t spend enough time reviewing the way in which they communicate.  Those are the folks that read a casting call that says in the second line, “please do not post on this medium, email me directly” and what do they do, they write a post.  However, there is another group of people (hopefully some of you who are reading this), that decide to email, yet spend half an hour thinking of the perfect phrasing to use to express a point.  Why?  Because they care a lot about how people perceive them.  They are people pleasers.   I know this for a fact because I am one of these people.  The problem is I don’t get enough work done as a result and I am fairly sure no one cares that much about my specific word choice. Write it, don’t re-read it more than once and send it.

Case in Point: I spent 45 minutes the other day writing an email.  This is how it went:

  • “I enjoyed meeting you the other day and am interested in hearing more about the opportunity we discussed with your company.”
  • “It was so nice to meet you the other day.  Thank you for sharing details on your new business venture with me.  I’d like to discuss any potential collaborations in which you are interested.”
  • “Thank you for meeting with me yesterday.  I enjoyed talking with you and appreciate your interest in having me potentially collaborate on your project.”

Okay, you get the picture here.  Don’t laugh, I know some of you have done the same thing.

Lesson Learned: Wasted time.  Just get it done and quit worrying about how you sound.

These scenarios are all too common.  I’m almost embarrassed to admit I struggle with all of these.  I primarily see women in the industry challenged with these hang-ups.  They are cautious and want to do a good job.  Many tend to be sensitive.  It’s very hard to hear no.  No one wants to bother others.  We don’t want to be perceived as being a nag, or difficult or over-bearing.  We might not be sure we are really good enough to do something.  The truth is, people get work, develop their business and experience success because at some point they say to themselves, “I’m not worrying about all this nonsense.  I’m going to tell them I believe I can do it, I’m hitting send and I’ll continue to follow-up and chase this goal until they slam the door on my face….and when that happens, I’ll go somewhere else and make it work.

Let it go and just run for it.  Risk failure, collect no’s, stop thinking too much about what others think.  What’s the worst that can happen?  And when you do this and experience success, please let me know so I can be proud of you!

The Road to Becomming a Talent: Diaries of a Model-in-Training

6 Feb

A week in the talent industry and a busy one at that.  I think I’ve finally turned a corner and am gaining confidence in my abilities to actually say I can do some of this stuff.  It helps when you start landing paid jobs.  I’ve decided that being able to say “I’m capable and this” is a critical piece of actually achieving success.  It’s ohhh so difficult though, particularly in this industry.  However, f you don’t think you can do it, why should anyone else?

My friend Shannon behind the scenes at our fitness modeling shoot in Sedona, AZ

The Recap: Audition 1 – This one is for a mini-commercial.  Super excited about this because I feel like I am in my element.  I’m asked to read from a teleprompter and demonstrate a push-up.  I’m all geared up in fitness wear for this and I arrive 25 minutes early.  One thing I didn’t anticipate about auditioning, you are always afraid you are going to be late, so you show up incredibly early as a result to make sure you can find the location.  As my friend says though, first impressions are everything.  Better to be an hour early than 5 minutes late.  I agree.  I’m waiting for the audition and in walks a gal I know.  She’s very beautiful, highly skilled, and someone I consider to be well-known known in the industry.  My mind thinks, “well, so much for this audition”.  I have to remind myself though that you never really know what they are looking for.  It’s about fitting a part, whatever the casting director has in their head, so I pull it together and head-in.  I do the audition and think it goes well.  Unfortunately I have no idea what they thought and likely wont unless I am selected.  The waiting game begins.

The recap: Audition 2 – Phoenix Fashion Week.  I get a note that they are doing an open casting call for print models.  Okay, this sounds interesting.  I don’t know if I am what they are looking for on this one.  I’m definitely the person they would like to appeal to, but unsure as to whether I’m the type of person they would use to market their organization.  What this translates to – I’m maybe a little too old for this!? ! Here’s the important thing I take from this though, you just never know who you will run into at these things.  I remind myself to be open to it.  It never hurts to show-up. I love style and spend a portion of my career doing this, even if I am not “model” material for them, what better way to meet people in the fashion industry?  I arrive and the line is full off different faces.  I’m feeling a little better about this.  One thing I have going for me, I’m on-time (as I mentioned early), I wearing a cute outfit (It is Phoenix Fashion Week after all) and I am organized (portfolio in hand, updated resume, etc.).  Pretty sure this carries at least a little weight in their eyes.  Although I am clearly not a “traditional” runway model I’m asked to demonstrate it.  This get comical.  I smile, if you know me well then you know that’s what I do.  I watch as they have someone show the group a runway walking.  The organizer explain to me that I should appear like clothes on a hanger walking down the runway.  I’m trying to get a visual in my head.  Okay, I can do this.  Not sure why, I’m clearly not 5’8″ and thus am deemed “unqualified for the job” (an entire new topic I’ll dive into someday). but that’s okay.  I try very hard to be serious on this walk.  So tempted to flash my smile but figure that might rock the boat a bit too
Lunch break during our fitness shoot, chicken in hand!

much and I want to be respectful, so I do my best runway walk.  I do get to observe a number of lovely individuals, learn a few tricks of the traded, and decide this was not as bad as I thought it might be.  I pat myself on the back, way to put yourself out there and risk potentially looking like a complete fool! Ohh, and a young girl, whose nervous sits next to me during this.  She asks my advice.  I look at her thinking that she definitely has the look for this.  I give my best advice, try to encourage her to not be scared, she clearly has potential.  She gets up to the runway and rocks it.  I feel really good about this.  So maybe this amounts to nothing in terms of a job for me, but maybe in a small way I help the person sitting next to me with her confidence.  That makes me happy.

The re-cap: Fitness Modeling Job – This one is the most fun because I’ve already been hired.  I arrive in Sedona with two girlfriends also working this job.  We’ve packed nearly everything we own in the way of fitness despite being told they will have some wardrobe for us.  The stylist on set seems thrilled with this as it provides a lot of options to choose from.  One thing I’ve learned about the modeling industry, ALWAYS come over prepared.  You never really know what’s going to come up on set so now I arrive with make-up, clothing, hair products, extra outfits, etc.  This has actually proved very helpful at times.  Today’s shoot has me smiling a lot, running bleachers, stretching, and playing soccer.  It’s really all me because these are things I actually do.  I think about what would happen  though if he had called me out requesting certain skills and I showed up and didn’t have them.  It’s tempting to want to land a job and embellish your skills, but I commit to never doing that.  I don’t want to find myself on set where I’m asked to do something I clearly cannot.  Running, that I can do!  The day is perfect, the weather amazing, the track pristine.  I remind myself, this is why I’m pursuing this.  It’s awesome is it to be paid for something you thoroughly enjoy doing.  The phrase rings in my ears, when you find something you love so much you could do it everyday with no pay and be happy,   then you’ve found your true passion.  I’m inspired to keep putting myself in sometimes semi-uncomfortable situations to pursue my goals.  What’s the worse that can happen right?  The worst is nothing, maybe you hear we don’t want you.  You’re not smart enough, you’re not pretty enough, you’re not skilled enough.  Okay, I suppose I can deal with that.  What’s the best case scenario.  They say yes, we want you.  And the job turns into the perfect day.

Good luck in your endeavours, whether they be modeling or otherwise.  Just keep telling yourself you can do it.  Consider some of the most successful people and imagine how many times they were told no.  Put yourself in situations where you are out of your element, reach just a bit farther than you think you are capable of, because you never know where that might take you.