That Model Chick

It’s been about 3 months since I told my OC agency to put me on indefinite hold status and way longer since I last did any work.  It stirred up of this odd mixture of desire, sadness and stress every time they'd call and ask if I could go to a casting and I'd have to say no. I could tell they were irritated but it was simply too difficult to make myself available. I’d have to get out of work for the casting which is typically 1-2 hours away and then if by some miracle I somehow managed to book the job then I’d have to figure out how to get out of work again. Logistically, it was next to impossible to juggle it so getting those calls and saying no every time was just a source of stress. Although I was a little sad at the same time it’s been a relief to put an end to the phone calls. The nail was already sitting in the coffin of my acting and modeling but this basically drove it in with a resounding thud. I still have a local agent but there isn't much work to be had down here.  I am OK with it though because it's time to move on.   I prefer to GO for it or not go at all and with a full time job I had to shift my priorities.

When I look through my modeling portfolio it’s almost like a different girl staring back at me. She had long hair streaked with brownish red and stars in her eyes.
From my first portfolio shoot
She loved the fun and the challenge of acting classes. As reserved as she was in her real life she thrived on memorizing lines and getting in front of the camera to perform or pose.  She got paid work doing random industrial video's. She really enjoyed the fun of hanging out on sets for hours getting to know new people all the time and checking out the craft services junk food table that was a fixture on every set. 

She had three agents and spent many a days running off to auditions where she saw the same familiar faces all doing the same thing.  She'd spend 5 hours on the road there and back in traffic for print castings where all the girls there look like her and someone snaps a pic with a digital camera in 2 minutes.  She went to LA for commercial and film auditions too.  She walked in fashion shows. That girl was not afraid of walking into a room full of people to be stared at and judged or to strip down to a bikini for a fashion show or photo shoot.

Fashion show

Beyonce Concert Promo 2007
Submitting for work and checking her inbox for responses was a daily part of her routine. She was brave enough to finally quit her much hated 9-5 job of 8 years and work part time for a while. She did all kinds of promo model work too. They were sometimes fun, and sometimes long and exhausting but the money was good and it helped her keep the bills paid.

Promo Job
She was passionate about what she was doing and kept hustling in the face of rejection. She didn’t let her age or height stop her from giving it a shot which is really all she ever really wanted. The awkward nerdy girl she once was was gone and in her place was a woman confident enough to put herself out there and try something she never in a million years though she could ever do.

I will always associate that time in my life with the joy and freedom of getting to work just 24 hours a week. For 1 1/2 years my schedule was flexible and I felt like my own boss.  Getting to LIVE and enjoy life again without being chained to a desk for 40 hours a week was liberating. It was ultimately what allowed me the opportunity to be available for auditions and shoots. I was recently divorced, I was on my own and It was scary to leave the security of full time work but it felt so good that I was finally putting my myself and my dreams first. 

It was so much fun to be a part of that world in even the small way that I was. Rejection was never fun but there are a lot of great moments that stand out.  I was so happy when I finally booked my first job and got my very first paycheck from my agency for a Babies R Us catalog. I couldn't believe that I was actually getting paid to have someone take my picture. I didn't believe it for a long time but it meant that I was actually a real model and it was pretty cool to be able to say that.

1st agency booked gig.  Babies R Us Catalog.
I got booked as an "Under 5" for a short lived soap opera that was broadcast around the world and got to actually see myself on network TV. Under 5 is basically a nice way of saying you have no lines but I was happy just to be involved and got paid more for 2 days then I probably ever will again in my life for the same amount of work!

I LOVED photo shoots. Believe it or not modeling is hard work. Sometimes the shoots are physically demanding. I've been freezing my butt off, forced to hold awkward positions that hurt, ride a bike, or go up and down stairs for hours among other things. Outdoor shoots could be particularly draining.  Either too hot, too cold or dirty but you always have to make it look effortless and natural.  No matter what it was, I just loved being in front of the camera and felt lucky to be able to do it at all.

I was a Commercial model. Not being 5'8" or taller and over the hill in my late 20's I couldn't really expect to be a high fashion model or travel to exotic locations for shoots. You couldn’t find me in fashion magazines or billboards but it was still pretty exciting that my face was on a book cover in Wal-Mart’s and other book stores across the U.S. When I went to the store to buy it myself it was bizarre and so awesome.
Book Cover
It was fun how friends and family got such a kick out of it when they randomly saw me in an add. I was spotted in a Hilton add at a Florida airport and of all places in a little bit piece in The National Enquirer.

Hilton Add

Me in the National Enquirer

Black Singles Add
I was even spotted canoodling with my "boyfriend" on an internet dating website.

I remember how excited I was when I FINALLY managed to get an L.A. Agent. I got to do commercial and print auditions for Old Navy, Target and other such big name brands. Had I been able to keep going who knows, maybe I eventually would have booked a really big one!  Among the catalog shoots I got to do one of my absolute favorites was for a cheerleading company. As a former cheerleader I had a ball playing dress up in these adorable uniforms all day. I did the shoot alongside a bunch of teenagers and thought it was hilarious that no one even knew that I was so much older then the other girls.

Broadway Cheerleading Catalog
Best of all is that I will always have that beautiful moment when I found out that I was a top five finalist in the Joe’s Next Model Contest. It is a feeling I will never ever forget as long as I live and I will always have the fondest memories of that entire experience.  It was just a contest but for me it was my last chance to do anything like that.  What a thrill it was to find out after each cut that I was still in the running.  It was a dream come true to make it so far out of so many people.  It was a HUGE deal for me and I had such an amazing time in LA.  They treated us so well and I got all of that great Joe's Jeans merchandise.  It is so fitting that it was to be my last photo shoot.

Joe's Next Model Shoot
I must say it was fun while it lasted.  I may not have made it to the pot at the proverbial end of the rainbow but most important is the wonderful experience that I had reaching for it.


Olivea said...

Wow, you are gorgeous! Even though you decided to give it up, you have a lot to be proud of. Look at all those ads! I feel kind of cool that I "know" you!

JEM - Aqua Bride said...

wow. I was just telling FH that an actual model is my follower. You are absolutely beautiful and so many people( meaning me) out there would give up a pinkie to live that life, even for a little while. You go hunny!

Steph said...

It doesn't surprise me that you were a model. You are beautiful.

Everyone has to move on I suppose. I'm sure it was a great ride while it lasted and hey at least you got to tell it good-bye and not the other way around.

Ms. Chouette said...

Can I just say you are absolutely GORGEOUS?

I am glad you got to enjoy the life that the rest of us only dream about!

Frugalista said...

Thanks everyone for your kind words!! Giving up modeling was so HARD but that part of my life will be with me forever and I was so glad to share it with you all.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for was nice to learn more about you!

Nicole NA said...

Wow, I had no idea. But now it all makes sense. I always thought there was something "modelly" about you. I'm sad to read that you had to give it up, but glad you have the moments to cherish. I loved the Babies r Us catalog photo.