I wasn’t raised in the fashion industry. Far from it actually. As a teenager, you would find me in the modest of modest clothes, working in a garden, spinning wool, milking a cow or something of those sorts.
I was 15 the first time I snuck mascara on and got caught within minutes and I was 16 before I wore my first pair of jeans and I got them from a friend. I was raised sheltered and wasn’t insecure.
I didn’t think about what other people thought.
Until, I started trying to figure out fashion. Until I started getting around people and realizing that just because someone smiles to your face doesn’t mean the second you walk away that they aren’t going to talk badly about you. It was a new world for me. But I love to explore. I wanted to do exciting things.
I was 5’10 & 3/4 ( I refuse to round up because my husband is 5’11 haha!) by the time I was 14 years old and by the time I was 16, I was hearing, “You should totally model! You are so tall! You are so beautiful! Have you tried modeling before?” all the time. I wanted to try it. I begged and was a tad rebellious at the time, so my parents caved and I went to a Catholic Modeling Program for 6 months. It was there, that I learned that fashion isn’t bad. Being pretty isn’t something to be ashamed of and that no matter what your platform is in life, you can always use it to influence others in a positive way. I also learned that there is a way to dress tastefully and still be in the fashion industry.
A tiny spark, a new little flame had bit lit.
This is not really my modeling story here though….so let me share in a nutshell what the next 6 years would look like. I would go on to sign with an Agency in Dallas, compete in NYC in TV, Runway and Print modeling, win scholarships and callbacks from top agencies and later co-own an agency in Dallas, scout talent and teach modeling and acting. I left the industry in 2013 to raise my kids, but still miss it.
The fashion industry taught me acceptance.
Did you know that it was there, back stage, that I learned about so many different people with different walks of life who all said the sweetest and most encouraging things to each other as we waited to mount the runway or before we went in front of the camera? It was there that I understood what women supporting women meant. Some of my modeling friends had a killer runway walk, some had the best poses in the world, the C pose always got me…I just couldn’t do it so well. But they always would give you tips and point out what you were good at.
Models really aren’t catty and they aren’t stupid.
I feel better now that I’ve got that out.
I learned not only how to take critique like a champ, but how to welcome it. Without critique, you don’t know what you need to work on. I also learned that you don’t have to be perfect to be a model. You have to be confident. You have to have a work ethic. You have to be determined. You have to be punctual. Dependable. You have to want it.
All the things we should be teaching our daughters anyway.
As an instructor, I was married. I was starting to think about my future babies and I realized just how much the fashion industry had shaped me into the confident woman that I am. As I scouted talent all over Texas, met with their parents, and listened to all these young girls tell me their dreams of being a famous model…I knew that I had a new platform with this industry. My most favorite years in the industry were in my classroom with my girls as I taught them to look in the mirror and accept themselves, how to look me straight in the eyes and say what they loved about themselves and I held crying girls who finally had the confidence to get out of bad relationships and celebrate at the end of the year when they walked that catwalk like a professional.
Yes, models have to be a certain height. Yes, measurements are important. Yes, there are lots of scams out there. Yes it’s a competitive world. Yes, there are bad agents, bad models and bad companies to work for.
But it’s also invigorating, empowering, and fulfilling.
As parents, if we are raising our children to to be confident in who they are, then the fashion industry is nothing to shy away from. I have a 4 year old little girl, who has bouncy blonde curls, big eyes and a huge personality and with a few phone calls, I could probably get her in with an agent and I’m often asked why I haven’t done that. It’s simply because she isn’t interested in the least. She would rather make mud pies outside or dance. That’s my girl.
Modeling helped shape me to be a better mom to my daughter without me even knowing it. Everyday I cup her face in my hands and I tell her just how beautiful she is…and how very very beautiful her heart is. I tell her that she is brave, strong and smart. Through mentoring models and teaching young girls I also realized that just telling them about how beautiful they are isn’t enough.
We have to believe that we are beautiful.
The stretch marks. The saggy boobs. The cellulite. The baby weight that became permanent without our permission.
All of us.
If I tell my girl how beautiful she is everyday, but she sees me fret in front of the mirror daily…she will learn what she sees not what she hears and before long she too will look in the mirror and feel insecure.
Modeling self confidence and self worth to my babies is the best modeling job so far.
And the most important.
You are beautiful, momma. So beautiful.