Why I Started Modeling
My goals then vs Now
I really want to get back into blogging, and what better way to make a comeback than to write about how I ended up modeling and how my modeling goals have changed throughout my experience. I want to show you guys that the beginning doesn’t have to be perfect and that your goals don’t have to be “lets save the world” from the beginning if you are trying something new and unknown. I want to share with all of you how and why I started modeling and how my goals have evolved throughout this journey. Hang on tight, this is going to be interesting…
My first memory of becoming interested in being in front of the camera was when I was in elementary school in El Salvador and a classmate had done a print photoshoot for a popular pajama store. I thought to myself, “wow, this is incredibly cool! I want to do that too!”. A few years later, in middle school, I had a family member who began doing commercials. He was appearing on TV and newspaper advertisements. And I just wanted to do that too. I wanted a taste of the modeling experience.
As a teenager, I became obsessed with America’s Next Top Model. I mean, who wasn’t?! I loved watching the whole journey. Most of us probably know how it all goes down: One day they get a letter from Tyra Banks giving hints of a shoot getting everyone all excited (even us watching!). Then, we see everything that goes on behind the scenes, how hard it was to pose, and all the drama that was going on between the models. And after all the hard work the final images were revealed! For me, my jaw would drop. I couldn’t believe that whatever we saw during the shoot, turned into a gorgeous, eye catching image. I wanted that. The photos, the experience, everything.
Around the time I was 18, I knew a few people who were modeling in El Salvador. So I tried to reach out to them, but no one was willing to help me. It wasn't until I moved to the US that I started looking into modeling again. I remember going to a so-called “agency” (probably a scam) to give it a try, but they asked for money, and honestly I wasn't working at the time…so yeah that didn’t happen.
Just a few months later, my good friend Nick was looking for a model for a photography class project… and that’s when everything began. During our shoot, I got to model with this girl (who is now my awesome friend) Viktoria. She had been modeling for a while, so I obviously asked her the 411: how…do…you..,do…this?!
Viktoria was extremely helpful. I listened to her and followed her advice word for word: Reach out to this photographer I know; Open a Model Mayhem account and add your info and photos; Reach out to more photographers; Don’t feel that you need to say “yes” to everything. Only do things that you are comfortable with. That last advice was probably one of the most important ones that I have received in my life.
“Only do things that YOU are comfortable with.”
I was not the most social person, especially since I was just “fresh out of the boat”, but I followed her advice. I created my Model Mayhem profile, a brand new Facebook profile strictly for modeling purposes, and started sending friend requests to every soul who was involved in the industry. My intention was never to get paid, to be known, or to get followers on social media. I just wanted pretty pictures. That’s all. I even remember not using hashtags until probably a year or two years ago on Instagram because I felt uncomfortable thinking about the idea of people who I didn’t know, where looking at my photos!
My goals developed little by little as I gained experience to what it meant to be a model. Or what I thought it meant. They were very superficial, and I am totally okay with that. They went a little like this:
I want to work with a talented photographer, I want to work with a MUA, I want to work with a hairstylist, I want to work with a wardrobe stylist, I want to be published in a magazine, I want to be on TV, I want to do a bridal photoshoot…
Gradually, my experience grew and I was exposed to many more opportunities allowing me to reach the goals I set my mind to.
After about 2 years in, I started getting paid gigs here and there. And eventually I signed with my first agency. As I started to get more involved with shoots, I noticed how hard it was to break into the modeling industry. Especially for girls like me, who are not “industry standard”, aka short. I quickly learned what industry standard meant, and how I was not “it”…. Shocker, I know.
Fast forward to the time of my graduation in the Spring of 2017, I began questioning if I wanted to pursue what I had studied in college (Fashion Merchandising) or if I wanted to really focus on modeling. I’m sure you can guess what I ended up choosing…
For the past 11 months I have been researching and digging into the modeling world, trying to figure out how in the world I can “make it”.” And after 5 years of being a model, I think I have found a calling and a passion…
I realized that it it is not just about me anymore. It is not just about me trying to figure out things for myself or enjoying photoshoots and working for cool brands. I have learned that the problems I am facing due to my height are the same problems that thousands of other aspiring models are facing. I realized that representation matters. That body-image issues overflow in our society. That the fashion industry needs to be more diverse, not only for the sake of aspiring models but for the sake of women all over the world. That authenticity needs to prevail instead of standards of unattainable-beauty.
I have the dream that my children and grandchildren can see advertisements and magazines full of people like them. So they don’t feel a need to change who they are or who they should be externally. Just like I have…
And honestly, I just want clothes to fit.
The modeling industry is definitely changing and going in the right direction. The most popular topics I read about is in regards of size and skin tone diversity. And that is awesome! I am just waiting for the day petite models get their voice heard too. So I am over here trying to do whatever it takes to help spread awareness and hope to all petite models. I am now, emotionally and whole-heartedly invested in my modeling career.
BTW I didn't come on a boat-- Just wanted to make that clear--I took a plane, you know, like most people do.