It was 2008, and I was 19, and moving to NY to pursue my dreams as a Ford Model. Slowly my life was about to change. Within the first week of settling into my apartment, picking up my first portfolio ever at Ford, I knew I was in way over my head. I would see girls on the street towering over me, at 5’11, long legs and always on the same castings as me. The first casting I ever went on with Ford, a Wal-Mart job for $1,000, I booked. And those girls I had seen on the street were the same ones I had beat out for the job. Things were looking up for me. Continuing for a little over eight months, I booked jobs every week, gaining more and more confidence in myself. After grazing the covers of Women’s World, an Italian Magazine, getting a few spread tear sheets in various magazines, meeting Donald Trump while on Celebrity Apprentice, and working for Ralph Lauren for his bathing suit collection, I was on the right path.
Coming from a small town of Grand Rapids, Michigan, word grew quick of my success. The local radio station contacted me as I was boarding my flight to Vegas for a job, and got me in for a phone interview after seeing my debut on Celebrity Apprentice. The ball continued to roll, and the Grand Rapids Press, got a hold of my recent modeling photos, and called me for an interview, placing me right on the front page next to Obama and the Iraqi war. I thought this was all a dream! Why would people want to read or listen to me about my modeling career? Since I was new to the industry in NY, getting signed by a top five agency was very hard to achieve, and I slowly began to realize that. Next thing I knew, my old high school called me in, while I was visiting in Michigan for a few weeks to interview me on an article, “High school graduates and their success”. I was the only one they had interviewed from all the successful high school grads.
By this time, more and more print work came my way, putting me on the cover of a book, and getting me in as an extra in Sex and the City 2. I loved it. But after all the jobs, going to numerous Yankees games, Giants game, dating a Jets player, and with all the money flowing in, I did miss home. I flew back to Michigan from Queens about every three months for two years. I put off school for two years to pursue my modeling career, and as my friends back home were graduating and celebrating, I felt like a piece of me was missing. I felt ahead of the game, and pursuing a real career in modeling, but I wanted a degree…I wanted something to fall back on in the slow months of modeling, or when I’m older down the road.
In January of 2010, I decided to move back home to Michigan to continue my education, transfer schools, and try and tie in modeling somehow to my work, school and social life back home. It was not an easy decision to move back. I cried in front of my boss at The Village Pourhouse on the UWS, and almost teared up in front of my booker at Ford. But without their confidence and support, the decision would’ve been a lot harder. Maybe I was just lonely? I still wonder today what triggered my decision to move back home.
Now, back home in Michigan for 2 months, in school to get a degree in Veterinary medicine, or a licensed dietician, I hope to tie in modeling somehow into these. I am still signed with Ford Chicago, and there is a local agency I have been modeling for, ever since I was just five years old. Luckily they still call, and little promotional jobs, or photo shoots will come in, but I do still miss the castings every day, and the cut-throat industry modeling was in NY. There isn’t anything like that here. If you’re cute…you’re in. If you’re cute in NY, you had to be tall, skinny, photogenic and a 24 inch waist. That is what pushed me to become a better model, and THAT is what I know of modeling. No one in Michigan understands what “modeling” is. To them, it’s photo shoots with horrible photographers who just want to take pictures, and getting jobs like handing out flyers at an auto show, etc. I do miss the industry parties, and the time I had in NY.
Even though a model doesn’t live in NY, it doesn’t mean he or she can’t still pursue their dreams. They say that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. I think that after having been in NY for 2 years I do agree with that. After getting my face on a cover, a spread, on TV., on radio, in a movie, on Real World and in the Newspaper, I’ve just about hit every publication possible for me to succeed. My task now is going back and forth to NY. If someone wants to succeed, and the drive for success is there, they have to work for it. A piece of me is still left in NY, and I have accomplished a lot and no job is every a guarantee…but is anything ever a guarantee in life?
Modeling to me is a challenge. It pushes yourself, and makes you want to become a better person, inside and out. If the road comes where I do not go back to New York, my experience is more rewarding to me than anything. I’ve accomplished one of my biggest goals; getting signed by ford models... Now you just have to think about is, is it everything I wanted? At the end of the day, I’m thankful for the friends, clients and photographers I’ve met while in NY supporting me all the way through, putting my covers on their refrigerators .
“Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe