Monday, June 23, 2014

What Modeling Means To Me

It's more then just money and fame to me...it's my ME time. You see I am a proud single mother of 2. One is an autistic teenager and the other is a sassy toddler so you can imagine all the action around my house. Besides modeling I do several other jobs from my home while I care for my kids. Any stay at home working mother will tell you that a full day with kids is not a easy task and at times the stress levels are unbearable but being a mom is one of my favorite titles.


When I get booked for a job it brings me joy to just get out the house. Nothing like a break from it all. Over 8 years ago modeling helped me get out a time of depression and it always seems to boast my spirits when I am down. I am always a giver and barely do for myself so modeling pushes me to stop and enjoy myself if only for a few hours. Some folks are good at doing that on their own BUT I need a push and God introduced me to this field to assure I celebrate myself. For those that personally know me I am super low key and not the typical "self centered model" people expect. I have insecurities like the rest of the ladies and through the support of complete strangers I have learn to love those flaws that haunt me for many years.

In my 8+ years of modeling I never had a close friends, family or even a ex-boyfriend attend ANY of my shows or events. At times that makes me very sad especially when time and time again I come and leave alone to events while other models are greeted by love ones but God reminds me that this is ALL about me anyways and the times on set or on stage are the ME break I need in my life to stay positive through the storms.



I doubt that I will do this forever but for now I am truly enjoying the journey and the many lessons learned. The times spent on set or backstage are usually filled with joy, good energy and laughter...we can all use a dose of that in our lives.

 




Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My Thoughts On Non-Paid Gigs


As a freelance model you are responsible for declining and accepting assignments. When I first started I worked many gigs for free or low rates because I feel some experiences are priceless. As a new model you will see improvement after every shoot and fashion show so I recommend accepting some low/no budget opportunities to master your craft. In addition, after time you will learn to negotiate a rate which I will discuss on a future post.

Print Assignments:
Here are some things to consider before accepting non-paid print assignments. Is this gig going to provide quality pictures? There is no worst feeling then seeing a crappy picture of you ALL over the Internet and to add to your misery you didn't even get paid for this awful gig. When they tell you it's a non paid assignment you should ask who will be doing hair and makeup and who will be taking the pictures. Then use Google to check on their work and the brand. Let common sense and your gut feeling lead you to the decision. I strongly suggest waiting at least 24 hours to let it soak in before your make a decision. You might be new but pictures last FOREVER so be very careful. If you don't feel good about it...politely decline and tell them to consider you for the next one (they might step up their game).

Fashion Shows:
I love fashion shows. My career started at shows. Every fashion show allows you an opportunity to meet at least 4 or more new designers and the audience is full of bloggers and industry experts which help increase your exposure in the industry. The best way to maximize your non paid fashion show gig is to remove the "fun times" backstage and instead use it to network. Every designer, hair and makeup artist backstage should have your comp card or business card and you should have there info too. Be nice to everyone...including the models never know when you guys might cross paths again. The industry is smaller then you think and many times I been on set and the designer or production team might ask me "Do you have any model friend who is a size 14....". So again play nice with everyone backstage BUT remember to do your rounds do not stay around only the girls you know or be zoned out with a iPhone in a corner. Your goal at every non-paid fashion show is to secure some good leads on paid gigs in the near future. 

I actually met Qristyl Frazier at a show over 7 years ago and I been her muse ever since. I thank that non-paid community center fashion show for getting me on Project Runway, Rip The Runway, FFFW and numerous TV segments for Qristyl Frazier Designs. I gave her my comp card the day of the show and sent her a follow-up thank you email the next day....the rest is history.



The question I always get is when should I start declining non-paid gigs? I believe this is a per-project basis and every situation is different. I personally no longer do non paid fashion shows because I been blessed to add some great shows to my resume and I feel I have perfected my personal walk. Now I network at fashion shows while sitting in the audience ;-). When it comes to other projects as you become more seasoned you will be able to compare new opportunities to the ones you have accomplished to see if this will help you work on a skill you want to practice on or fill an area in your resume/portfolio that your lacking. Maybe you need some swimsuit confidence or maybe you want to work on your commercial looks (big smiles). Never rule out non-paid assignments because if done correctly as a result you will get some awesome paid assignments.







Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Life Of A Freelance Model


Before modeling I managed multi-million dollar projects for Fortune 500 companies so when it comes to my modeling career I applied my corporate ethics and business management skills to succeed.

My days consist in sending and replying to emails, seeking leads on potential new clients, creating or following up on invoices, running all my social media sites and the best part WORKING. Freelancing is not easy and it's not built for everyone but it works for me. I have invested a lot of years in this industry and met a lot of amazing people that believed in me and helped me along the way. Now this blog is meant to help you in your journey.

As a freelance model I also work with a few agencies that occasionally find me gigs and collect 20% off the rate for their services. Clearly agencies have more leads then me and partnering with a few good agents allows me the opportunity to work with folks that might be hesitant of using a freelance model.

I personally never met an agent that LOVED me or made me their "Favorite" and that is OK because I continue to swim against the current and book amazing and loyal clients independently. Again it is not an easy task but until you find an agent who believes in you I strongly suggest you to try this method because the only person responsible for seeing you shine is God and if this is in His plans He will equip you with all the tools, leads and strength needed to see your dream a reality. 

Read all the past post on this blog and you will be on the right track. Good luck and be great ladies!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

What is a cattle call?


Cattle calls is a mass audition in which a large number of models try out. These castings are filled with models of all sizes, ethnicity, background and experience. This is one of the hardest to book.

Wait times are long and space is limited inside the audition location. Here are some tips to survive a cattle call.

1. Travel lite. Bring ONLY the essentials. But don't forget to pack a small makeup bag to touchup as you approach the front of the line. No matter how long you've been waiting you should look fresh once you approach the front. See post What's in your model bag?

2. Be alert. Usually announcements are done and you might miss something if you too focus on chatting with your friends on line. Remember this is a job interview so leave the "hanging out" until after the audition.

3. Think of packing a pair of flats. It's never cool to stand in heels for a long time. Your feet should be relaxed before your audition.

4. Consider bringing a light snack and a bottle of water. Maybe some nuts or dry fruits. Wait time can exceed over an hours and if you are anything like me I have a hard time doing anything when I am hungry.

5. Get to know the person in front and behind you incase you need a bathroom break.

6. Don't feed into negative thoughts or conversations online or in the waiting room. If you hear it, ignore it or walk away if possible. Worst thing before an audition is a negative or defeated spirit. Sample of negative conversation that I have heard in the past are
  • They already have their favorites.
  • They want tall girls.
  • They want bigger/smaller girls.
Get an invisible ear plug and drain all that BS. Give it your best and God will do the rest. See post Shut the hell up!!!!

7. Once you are approaching the front of the line take out your portfolio book and comp card and put on your heels so you will have the essential ready to be seen by the casting team (unless otherwise noted).

8. Although many casting directors allow regular snap shots I assure you that a comp card is preferred and will set you apart from the amateurs. Be prepared and invest in your craft. See post Photoshoot Time!

9. Be patient and wait for their decision...never ever contact them. This can take sometime or be very quickly. Regardless of the outcome please note that modeling involves more NOs then YESs.

And on to the next one we go.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

"On The Grind” - Essie Golden


When I think of a model hustler I think of this young lady. She demonstrates many of my characteristic when I first started modeling. 


Our next "On The Grind” model is Ms. Essie Golden.

Christina: Have you always wanted to be a Plus Size Model? 

Essie Golden: Yes, I had seen a advertisement with Mia Amber; I wanted to be her. I had never seen a woman with a similar body type look so beautiful. She inspired me so much growing up.

Christina: Do you want to be signed? If so, have you contacted any agencies?

Essie Golden: Yes and no. Agencies have the connections with major brands that I don't have. They can also handle more of the business side and they make sure the models receive the money they're suppose to. On the down side, a lot of signed models don't get any work. They get over looked by their agency and have to find work just like me. In some cases the agency will take a percentage of that money for jobs that you got yourself. 







Christina: How did you feel when you received that first agency NO? 


Essie Golden: You know what, I've never heard no. I just never heard back. I keep pushing and I keep going. 


Christina: Has anyone ever made you feel less of a model because you didn't have an agent? 


Essie Golden: Yes, all the time. I try not to focus on that. I get paid work and that's a blessing. I work hard at trying to be the best model I can be. I'm grateful for the brands who've taken a chance on me. 


Christina: What are some of the brands you have worked with?


Essie Golden: Rue 107, Nakimuli, Essence Magazine,  Tikedi, Lucky 21, Ose Uh-seh, Out of the Corner online boutique and a few others.


Christina: How do you get most of your jobs?  


Essie Golden: I submit my photos to them and ask if they're looking for models or they contact me. 


Christina: Do you model full time? 
If no, what is your other hustle?

Essie Golden: I work a 9-5. I look forward to the day were I am making good money from my dreams.




Christina: If you could use 3 words to describe your “modeling hustle” what would it be?


Essie Golden: Creative, social media savvy (I know more than 3 words), ambitious 


Christina: Who are your model inspirations? 


Essie Golden: Mia Amber, Tara Lynn, Christina Mendez, Denise Bidot, Fluvia Lacerda, Jeanie Ferguson, Liris Crosse, Toccara, and Christina Mendez


Christina: In 5 years where would you like to be? 


Essie Golden: I would love to have a few major campaigns under my belt, commercials, graphic t-shirt line and a successful body positive movement of my own helping women of all shapes and sizes. 


Christina: Any final thoughts for our fellow aspiring and professional model on the grind? 


Essie Golden: Don't be afraid of the word no and don't get scared from those stagnant moments. The work will come stay focused, positive and pray as much as you can.





Learn more about Essie and follow her hustle:
Instagram: Goldenlady25
Twitter: Goldenlady_25
Tumblr: Goldenlady25





Monday, November 18, 2013

Shut the hell up!!!!


 

The title is harsh but in this industry you need to learn to keep your mouth shut and most of the time your opinions to yourself.

I been in the industry for over 8 years and I must say my mouth has cause me friendships, gigs and tarnish relationships. Like they say you learn from your mistakes and I hope you learn from mines too. Below are some examples;


  • This has happen to me a lot. When at a shoot or fashion show the designer or the stylist could be clueless on what looks good on your body type and insist on pairing you with a dress that makes you look like Sponge Bob Square Pants. As much as you want to tell him or her to please quit their job and seek another profession you need to politely smile and sell that muumuu to the world. IF they ask, I suggest you to steer lightly and either say "yes" or if you feel their like they can take it you can say "I usually wear something to show my waist...because it make me look skinner BUT if you like it I LOVE it." Remember designers are very very sensitive about their pieces so I rather just say YES to avoid a designer meltdown. A job is a job and we won't like them all. Simply give it your all and do the best you can.


  • In this industry you will find a handful of models that will act like your friends and truly genuine about that. Be very very careful what you say and who you say it too. I have fail in this department many times. Some folks will trash talk someone with you and then repeat the story to them minus their comments. As cool as you might think they are say less and smile more.  Keep industry friend conversation away from industry topics.


  • I am strong believer that what is meant for you is for you but I have notice that I have tweeted, Facebook or IG about a new potential client and other models are quick to jump on my job and at times sweep the gig right out of my hand. I know it's the nature of the business so from now on I only talk about it if I am on set or if I have a signed contract. I share potential gigs and clients with many models but taking a gig before I shoot it is cold blooded and happens more then you think so be careful ladies.


  • Acting biter or posting stuff on social media sites about not booking a gig or losing a client is very unprofessional. In this industry you will get 96% NO and 4% YES so acting like a 2yr old child will turn off potential clients. For every gig you don't get God has lined up many more. Change your attitude and keep it moving. 



Your journey is based on every accomplishment, every success, every mistake, and every lesson so have no worries, dust yourself off and keep on working.




Thursday, October 31, 2013

"On The Grind” - Jeannie Ferguson:

Amazing things come in small package and this 5'3 curvy diva is one of the best in the industry.
 
 
Ms. Jeannie Ferguson has knocked down many barriers and overcame tremendoous obstcles in a land of glamazons. Ladies, read her story and be inspired.



Christina: How long have you been a plus size model?

Jeannie Ferguson: I've been a plus model for 7 years professionally and 3 years aspiring.


Christina: Have you ever been signed exclusively to a modeling agency? Is so, which one?

Jeannie Ferguson: I've never been signed exclusively, however I was signed to MSA many, many moons ago. LOL! Nothing ever came out of me being signed, since there was no market for Petite Plus. Now I am signed to True Model Management for Fit.




Christina: Name some of the modeling assignments you have booked on your own?

Jeannie Ferguson: BET's Rip The Runway, The Slim & Toned Legging Infomercial, TLC Show Big Brooklyn Style, Glamour Magazine, FFFWK, NJFFFWK just to name a few. I've truly been blessed to work and not have an agent.




Christina: Other than the non-exclusive agencies you work with how do you get most of your jobs?

Jeannie Ferguson: I get most of my jobs thru word of mouth of clients, submitting to the companies directly and "The Sharing is Caring" created by the 1 and only Christina Mendez.


Christina: Do you model full time? If no, what is your other hustle?

Jeannie Ferguson:  At this time, I do not model fulltime. I am a Pre-Production manger.


Christina: You are a well known model with an amazing following. How did you achieve your name recognition and fan base?

Jeannie Ferguson: I achieved the recognition by treating others the way I want to be treated. I too was an aspiring model at a time and I know how it is to have some of the big names look down there nose at you...huh some of them still do. But, I remain as humble and as grateful as possible.





Christina: As a woman who is 5’3 have you ever felt discouraged to pursue a career in the industry?

Jeannie Ferguson: Yes! At a time I was constantly told no because I was too short or I am not a real model because of my look and height. It can be very, very depressing.


Christina: On a previous post I did titled “Dry Spell” I highlight the “Walk This Way” workshop you created. How did that come about?

Jeannie Ferguson:  I was always asked by some of the aspiring models, how can I walk like you or can you show me how to walk with confidence. I fought with myself and consulted with my dear friend Mia Amber and "The Walk This Way with Confidence Class" was created. PLEASE NOTE I LOOOOVE TEACHING MY CLASS.





Christina: If you could use 3 words to describe your “modeling hustle” what would it be?

Jeannie Ferguson: Confident, Strong and Neverending.


Christina: Any final thoughts for our fellow aspiring and professional model on the grind?

Jeannie Ferguson: Keep on keeping on. Don't give up because someone tells you no. Research and study the ways of the industry and don't feel like your the best. Humility is key!
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