8 years seems like a looooong time until it passes… I remember it like yesterday. I was 16 years old and naive as the Little Mermaid on land. I wanted to be an actress and singer so bad, but at 5’10 and 120 lbs soaking wet modeling was being forced down my throat left and right. I had been approached by agencies numerous times but my heart was set on acting, I didn’t think twice about it. That is, until I found out modeling could potentially open acting doors for me. Sign me up! I found this little site called Model Mayhem, applied with some old Facebook pictures, got accepted and before I knew it I was “booking” modeling gigs every weekend. I use the term booking loosely because seldom was I paid, and I didn’t have a mother agent or agency to be my liaison with actual companies. So here I am, posing for photos that may not even be good because I’m trying to build a portfolio for an industry I have no interest in, just so I could possibly get my foot through the door of the industry I’m actually interested in. It was exhausting.
When you’re already battling depression and body dysmorphia, being told every other day that you should “thin out” your thighs or broaden your shoulders… well let’s just say it can really mess with you. I was over it. Until I booked my first “big” modeling gig. In actuality, it was pretty small. I would be walking for an indie designer named Andrea Diodati. Her collection was one of many featured in Mercedes Benz’s fashion show, but it was a part of New York Fashion Week! I couldn’t believe little old me would be walking in NYFW.
Getting prepared for my first fashion show in 8 years
I arrived early and was immediately ushered into hair. After 20 minutes of being transformed into a futuristic alien look, and a few cans of silver something sprayed in my hair, someone noticed I wasn’t where I belonged. They were getting me ready for the wrong show! I was yelled at but no one even bothered to ask my name… Here I am only 16 years old with a room full of adults staring at me in disgust. I was mortified, how could I make such a stupid mistake? Two assistants rushed to undo the spaceship on my head and I’m ushered into another room where faux flower petals are quickly glued to my eyelashes. I watched the makeup artists in awe…
Backstage at the Stevie Boi PINK runway debut with models @1kevinwallace and @tanyabeau
One thing I realized right then, is that I am in love with everything behind-the-scenes of the Fashion industry. Hair, make-up, design, styling, even photography. I love the madness, hard work and creativity it takes to make these amazing images and fashion shows come to life.
After make-up I was dressed in the look I’d be wearing, and to my delight I wasn’t in heels! I felt comfortable and confident again knowing I could really kill the runway in flats and not be nervous about falling. But I can’t forget the feeling of all the models literally looking down their noses at me. They knew it was my first show from the second I accepted the snacks they’d all turned down. These girls smelled a newbie like sharks smell blood. I didn’t fit in. But surprisingly, I didn’t care. I was still riding the high of having been accepted into one of New York’s most elite events of the year. I excitingly inched toward the runway prepared to walk and as I approached the stage I realized… OMG my top is totally not staying up! How did I not realize this sooner? Sure enough… my nipple popped out on the runway. To this day I have not seen a single photo of myself from that show. Maybe the fashion God’s were on my side, or maybe someone didn’t want to get sued for child pornography…
That was it. Other than the smile on my mom’s face and the excitement I had for booking my first big gig, I didn’t like how I felt that day. I had to buckle down for SAT’s & then college. I dabbled in it from time to time but again, only because people would force it down my throat. Oh & it paid… sometimes. But once I started blogging, that was the only time I cared to be in front of the camera.
I guess you’re wondering how I got here… here being another fashion show during NYFW, a whole 8 years later. Well, I grew up. I realized that it was never modeling I disliked. It was the criticism, judgement and other people’s opinions I hated. Now I’m a grown woman, and far, far from that insecure 16 year old girl who cared wayyyy to much about what people thought about her. I do love the feeling of hitting that runway or killing a photoshoot. Now my mentality is, sis you’re either going to book me with my body built like this or you’re not. Once I started embracing that “take me or leave me just the way I am” mentality, well… let’s just say I’m being taken.
I’ll be spilling all the beans from my first runway show in 8 years, plus all the other madness of NYFW next week when it’s all over!