Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dear SOMW letter by Samantha Cadou

Dear SOMW,

Like many other aspiring as well as working models, I had dreamt of becoming a model since I was a child. I grew up with an utter fascination with beauty and the glamorous life. Models seemed to have it all, money, fame, and undeniably stunning features. They got to travel the world, wear beautiful designer clothes, and go to fabulous events. I envied them with their impeccable bodies and jet-setting lifestyle.

I wanted all that. I wanted to see my face in that Victoria’s Secret catalogue and on the runway in Paris. I believed that could be me in the Vogue spreads and Guess advertisements. I felt in my heart that I had the potential to be a successful model. I felt like, if only that could be me, I would be utterly and completely content. If only I could achieve my dreams of becoming a model I could die happy. In addition to my own conviction, many have told me that I look like a model. I’m tall, naturally thin, I have great hair, clear skin, a winning smile and a determined attitude. So I set out to make it a reality.
Little did I know what I was getting myself into…

Over the course of the last 4 years, I took action. I found an agency in a nearby city that was interested in representing me, known for booking jobs for local Saks Fifth Ave events and Beall’s catalogue. I then put together a comp card for the agency from pictures from my first photo shoot. The pictures were decent but not up to my true potential. I didn’t book any jobs through the agency but went around to local retail stores, and emailed my pictures to local magazine editors. I got some work, but mostly modeled for charity events. Unfortunately, a lot of the times it was for no pay but it was a good way to get practice and get myself out there. I did a couple other shoots with photographers that were more glamour and cheesy than fashion/editorial (Unbeknown to me at the time). I visited Miami for the first time with my measly excuse for a book and made the rounds at the agencies. The reaction I got was that I was “too commercial” or just “not right for us”. I left Miami feeling down, but not broken.

During this time, I started a job as a receptionist at a salon and spa and decided to dye my hair brown from blonde. It drastically changed my look for the better into a more sophisticated and unique me. The change motivated me even more to continue to pursue modeling.

I was more confident with my new brunette do, and pursued modeling with even more certainty. I was set on making it onto my favorite show, America’s Next Top Model, so I attended the castings calls every 6 months or so and sent in video submissions (7 total to be exact). That never panned out, because in my opinion, they want drama and I’m really just a laid back and amicable person.

I did several photo shoots and with each one gained experience in front of the camera. I did research online and looked through magazines constantly to try to determine the kinds of images I needed for the agencies. Then I found an amazing photographer in Miami to do a shoot with through model mayhem. He was super helpful and encouraging and really captured my potential. After reviewing the pictures, I was elated with the outcome and thought for sure these pictures would get an agency interested in representing me.

I then made countless visits to all the big agencies in Miami, New York, and even LA with my new and improved book. I was spending all my time, effort, and money in trips to the agencies. And the consistent result…Rejection! That was what I was faced with over and over again. Even with these new pictures that I thought were going to change my unfortunate fate! The response was not what I had hoped. I’ve been to agencies where they do show interest but then they say they can’t bring me on at this time or some variation of that. It has been a completely disheartening and emotionally draining process. I’ve literally been close to losing my sanity.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am completely aware that this is a tough business and these are tough economic times. It is a one in a million kind of industry. Like I read on this site, becoming a successful model seems to be attributed a lot to luck and who you know. Truer words have not been spoken.

I realize that even when you are an agency-represented model, rejection comes with the territory and not every client will want to book you for a particular job. I’ve grasped that it is definitely not the glamorous life, the life of a model. There is a lot to learn, and I have been trying to gather what this modeling thing is about. It takes perseverance and hard work. I’ve also learned a lot about myself along the way. I’ve discovered that I need to grow thicker skin and not take it to heart. This industry not for the weak and fragile. I also know for certain that I DO, without a doubt want this as much as I always did. My dreams have not faded with all the negativity I’ve been faced with. I’m still 100% positive that modeling is my true calling in life and I still believe I have what it takes.

Things worth having are worth waiting for…

However, I’m still currently struggling to break into the modeling world. In an industry where I really don’t really know anyone and have not gotten my lucky break, the only, and quite substantial predicament that I’m faced with today is, where do I go from here?

In hopes that SOMW has some kind of advice for me,

“Discouraged but not defeated”

Samantha Cadou



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