One thing I tend to point out is a lot of what I experience with models – usually the negative or things that models should be aware when they do model. This post is different. I am proud of one model, and want others to know that even the impossible can happen with determination and a willingness to learn.
A little over a year ago, someone messaged me that they wanted to do some modeling and first wanted to start with lingerie type images to make sure they could do at least what they saw was a base level of nudity when they modeled. I pointed out that they could do just as well with a bathing suit, but the person insisted on at least lingerie. I suspect they have some goals already where they want to appear and go with their modeling – that is a good thing. It also told me that the person wanting to be a model had done some research about the industry. I knew I wanted to work with this person. I reviewed my normal checklist of subjects that I go through before working with a prospective model.
As we conversed and reviewed the images we created, she let me know she was short and older than the typical model. She didn’t drive, and had somewhat limited hours to model because of her youngest child. I made sure she didn’t want to be a couture model or high fashion model, and she was fine with not being one. She understood that it was difficult and there wasn’t any way for her to be one in this stage of her life. She was shorter than most, and approximately 40 years old. But, she wanted to be a model and become something that her children could be proud when they saw her image knowing they, too, could accomplish their dreams. She was realistic in her expectations and was something I checked after the first four sessions with her. She also had her limits and what she would do as a model – what problem areas were with her fears and things she never wanted to do.
I have done about 8 sessions over the past year – everything from waterfall sessions, park sessions, night sessions, studio sessions, and just about anything we could. I have set her up to work with a few other good and safe photographers in the area (and they are mostly amazed at who she is as a model). As we review her images she has had taken of her, she listens closely and learns. After the second session, she cleared out her perfume and makeup opting for good quality makeup that doesn’t hurt her skin. Within a few months, her skin was looking better. As she looks at her posing, she no longer needs me to point out and make suggestions and she works with the least amount of direction of many models. When it comes to reviewing images, she has learned to see what are “good” images and “bad” images and why. She often points out over editing on other model’s images quicker than I do. She is very critical of people who don’t really “pose” as models – they are obvious to her who the people are who want to say they are a model and those who “are” a model.
Recently, I have started to teach her photography, too. With the photography end, she is beginning to understand light and how it applies to her modeling. With the camera she has been loaned, we are curious to see what kind of images she captures as she has a unique eye for different things and I know that that she would be welcomed into any photographic community with just the skills she has now.
As of Friday, she had her first paid modeling assignment: Working at a Def Leopard and Kiss concert. She loves both bands and had always wanted to go to one of their concerts but couldn’t afford to go. Now, she was at a concert with these artists as a model – one of her childhood dreams.
She is seeing that her perseverance and work to learn and be a model has paid off. She researched where she wanted to go and what she wanted to be, set her goals, and then did what wanted to do. She didn’t become a “diva” or let her ego get the best of her. Getting there hasn’t been easy, and life hasn’t been pleasant to her during this time. Many models tell me they would be further but this happened or that happened – when you talk with this model and understand what she has gone through over the past year, you know that she has had a lot of ups and downs. But, she stuck to her plan, stuck to her limits, and kept taking small steps to get to her goal every week (and she is continuing to do so). I am very proud of her (not that you couldn’t tell from this post).
Determination and learning to be that model that others wanted to work is key. Modeling isn’t just about looking pretty in front of the camera. She isn’t the only one recently who has accomplished her goal, either. Another older model recently signed a contract with one of the wrestling leagues you see on TV to be a ring girl. Learn about modeling, set appropriate goals, have the determination to keep making steps to reach those goals, learn more from everyone you can, and you will get there.
Edit [25 Aug 2014]: Know that during the past year that her friends and previous boyfriends have put her down, often telling her that “You are too old”, “too short”, and lots of other negative comments. The general pattern from most in her life has been that she wouldn’t amount to much as a model. But, she knew what she wanted to accomplish and where she wanted to go, and then she did it. She is taking big steps now, changing her life for the better and accomplishing her dreams.