I began my career as a model about 5 years ago, and let me tell you, it has been one hell of a ride, full of many ups and downs. Modeling is my biggest passion in life – I always feel my best and most confident in front of a camera. However, it’s not all fun and games as most people think. Modeling has molded me into the person that and I am today, and I am so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given. But I’m also grateful for all the failures and mistakes, because I know they’ve only made me stronger. Here is a list of the top 10 things I’ve learned during my time as a model:

1. Rejection is Inevitable, but Being Able to Bounce Back is Vital

I have been rejected from agencies and shoots more times than I can count. I’ve heard every reason in the book – I’m too plain, I’m too short, I’m too sexy, I’m too blonde, my personality is boring, my personality is too big, the list goes on…. I’ve literally sat in a room where the agent looked at me in the face and said, “You had a great audition, but you just look like every other blonde girl in the world”. That was fun to hear. It’s obviously easier said than done, but you can never let rejection bring you down or make you quit. I always look at rejection as motivation to show them what they missed out on. Being able to bounce back takes courage, but I promise it will pay off in the long run.

2. Never Give Up!

Seriously – don’t give up. I applied to one of my current agencies 4 times before I was accepted. 4 TIMES!!!! Just because one person doesn’t like your look, doesn’t mean you won’t be perfect for another gig. In fact, many people are impressed by perseverance. You have to continue to apply, and apply and apply. I’ve noticed that for every 99 times I get rejected, the 100th try will be the one gig I get, and it will be career changing. There are a million reasons one person may not choose you, but it does not mean that you’re not good enough or should give up. Show up, and keep showing up. If you want something, never stop reaching for it.

3. Never Compare Your Success To Others

I am SO guilty of this one – but it’s a very important lesson. Comparison is the thief of joy. I always see girls on Instagram with their seemly perfect lives, and girls who always seem to be booking gigs every day. It’s so hard not to get down on yourself. But here’s the thing – social media is NOT real life (shocking, I know). You have no idea who that girl knows, what she’s done to get there, and what her “real” life is like behind the screen. Some of these models have been working and building networks for years before you even started. It takes time and patience. As the quote goes – don’t compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel. Be grateful for your opportunities and stay thirsty for success.  Your time will come.

4. Supporting Others Will Never Inhibit Your Success

Jealousy is unfortunately a common trait in this industry. It is rare to find other women who are willing to lift each other up.  I have found that supporting my fellow models had always led to positive outcomes. Vote for your girls who are in modeling contests, show support on your friend’s images, go to friend’s runway shows, recommend others for gigs you see that you can’t work. As cliché as it sounds, we are all in this together.  Support others and you will be supported in return. Plus – I’ve made some of my best friends in the whole world through modeling. You never know who you’ll meet along your journey.

5. Patience, Patience, and More Patience

Patience was not a trait that came easy for me, but I certainly have learned it after becoming a model. You have to be patient waiting for your images to be edited, patient waiting for people to contact you after reaching out about submissions, patient waiting for magazines to be released, patient hearing back from agencies, etc. It’s easy to get frustrated when things don’t happen right away in this industry. It takes time for things to get rolling, but don’t let it discourage you.  Enjoy the experience, and keep pushing towards your goal.

6. Your Weakness (or Perceived Weakness) is Sometimes Your Biggest Strength

Is there something about you that makes you feel different than everyone else? GOOD! What makes you different, makes you beautiful! There are thousands and thousands of gorgeous women in the world, but what makes you unique will help you stand out. Use it to be a voice for others – help build the confidence of other women in the world who are like you.

For me, being petite was always a struggle. I was always embarrassed to tell people my height, since being tall was always such a standard in the industry. I’ve even had photographers tell me that they weren’t interested in shooting me because I wasn’t at least 5’9”. But I realized that there were a lot of petite women in the world who felt underrepresented in magazines, and I decided to start embracing it. Being short was my weakness, but it is now my strength. I want to be a voice for all the petite women in the world who don’t feel like they are beautiful because of their height. Together, we can change the world.

7. No One Will Ever Hand You Anything – If You Want It, Go Get It

This is a big one. No one will EVER hand you anything. Ever. You want to be in an agency? Apply. You want to be in magazines? Submit. No one will ever approach you and give it to you. You must work for what you want. If you are not willing to put in the work, then don’t ever expect anything. Your career is what you put into it.

8. Never Be Afraid To Ask For What You Want

If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. You’d be surprised how much people are willing to help you out if you’re just willing to ask. Remember, the worst thing that can happen is that someone says no. So what? At least you tried. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve submitted to magazines and asked for the cover, and got it! I have emailed plenty of magazines and asked for features – some said no, but many said yes! Be assertive, and you will be rewarded.

9. Professionalism is Worth Its Weight In GOLD

Being a professional model means that you need to actually be professional.  This means being early to everything you are booked for, not flaking out on shoots last minute, being professional to the other artists you are working with, not being on your phone during shoots/events, and having good communication skills.

I remember working a bridal show where the booth across from me had a model who was late to the event, was extremely rude to the client, refused to hang up her dresses with each outfit change because “she was a model and that wasn’t her job” and had an overall bad attitude during the entire day. I don’t care how gorgeous you are, that kind of behavior will get you nowhere in this industry.  I assure you that model was never booked again by that client, and she probably was reported to her agent. If you want to keep booking jobs, you need to have a good reputation. This is not a large industry, and the 6 degree of separation rule is more like 3 degrees. Don’t talk shit about other people, and treat this job like you would an important office position. Pretty girls are a dime a dozen, but professional and reliable ones are not.  Do not think you are irreplaceable.

10. Love Yourself

One of the most important things I have learned as a model is that it is vital to love yourself. There are enough people in this world that will judge you and bring you down, and you shouldn’t be one of them. With the amount of rejection that this industry brings, it’s easy to get down on yourself, or even to get depressed. But if you love yourself, its far easier to let the bad bounce off you, and move on to the next thing. Nothing is sexier than a girl who knows her worth. Love yourself, and the rest will follow!

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2 comments

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Lovely article with a positive message. Thank you

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I appreciate your honesty and transparency Stephanie! As one who’s been blessed to have a glimpse of all you have done and continue to do as your pursue your passion, I think you nailed it with your 10 lessons! I admire those qualities in you and can share that when a woman is passionate about anything, these rules apply – business, relationships .. life in general … as women we tend to be our own worst enemy …. Thank you for sharing!

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