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!
Follow her on Facebook

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Photoshoot Time!

As a model one of the most important things to have are quality portfolio pictures. The quality of your pictures will determine the type of work you will book. We all heard the saying "You get what you paid for..." and this is true when it comes to your pictures. I still book jobs from some of my timeless quality pictures that were shot over 6 years ago.

I recommend that aspiring models test with a few photographers or with your friends just to practice and review how certain poses, makeup and clothing looks on camera before you spend the big bucks. When you feel ready to get serious about your craft you will need to save up to shoot with one of the top dogs in the industry.

When it comes to creating pictures that will get you booked and stand the test of time you will need to invest in the ultimate "Dream Team". What's a dream team? A killer makeup artist, hair stylist, fashion stylist, photographer and retoucher. Everyone in the team is equally as important. If you attempt to cut corners you will see the affects in the final product.

Most photographers will tell you "I can shoot plus size models." but the truth is that shooting us is a skill and not all photographers know how to properly capture our curves. I listed just a few of the extraordinary photographers in the plus size industry. The price ranges for their services are between $500-$900. Contact them directly for prices and inquire about any upcoming sales or promotions.


Lucas Pictures - (New York based) 


Stanley Desbas - (New York based)


Nikki Gomez - (New York based)


Inez Lewis - (Los Angeles based)


Captured by Chelzea - (Canada based)


Michael Anthony Hermogeno - (Los Angeles based)


Enrique Vega Photography - (New York based)


 (Ask about their travel plans, they all travel frequently.)

Professional Hair and Makeup are so important at a shoot and need to be selected wisely. I usually start by asking the photographer who he/she recommends. Sometimes the photographer has a rate that includes hair and makeup. But, remember this is YOUR shoot so make sure you review samples of the makeup/hair stylists work before you give the final OK to use them. Models, you can be selective this is a big financial investment and you are the boss of this shoot. Also be prepared to hire a person for hair and a person for makeup. Very few do both task flawlessly. The price range for a makeup artist and hairstylist is $200+ each. After working in the industry for so many years I have my go to glam squad.


Tara Taylor - Makeup Artist Only (NY Based)


Makeup By Johanna Javier - Makeup and Hair (NY Based) 


Brown Candy Design - Makeup and Hair (NY Based)


 (Ask about their travel plans, they all travel frequently.)

Fashion Stylist is one piece that I have tried to cut off my budget and I must say the stress of putting things together is so overwhelming that I regretted not having one. I consider myself a fashionista and I love to shop but when it comes to shopping for a shoot I feel so much pressure to look great that I become useless. Before selecting a stylist I would recommend asking the photographer. Based on your budget and theme he/she will be able to recommend someone who they've worked with before. Again check out their work before you agree to book them. The price range for a fashion stylist various so much but be prepared to pay over $300. The stylist on set will be responsible for making sure you look great throughout the shoot. Some will shop with you. Some will raid your closet and see what you have that might work for the shoot and others might bring amazing stuff from designers and department stores. Here are some great ones to consider.

Spry Lee Scott - (NY/LA Based)


Meaghan O'Connor - (NY Based)


Steffany Allen - (NY Based)


Reah Norman - (LA Based)

 (Ask about their travel plans, they all travel frequently.)


After the shoot is over the photographer will usually email you a link to all your pictures or mail you a disk...either way you need to get them cleaned up by a retoucher before they become your "money makers". No matter how pretty you think the picture is don't ever release without cleaning up any imperfections or correcting lighting. Most photographers include 1 retouched picture per look so make sure you inquire about that when you book your photographer. Another model recently introduce me to an awesome website; They are affordable, quick and willing to make changes until you are happy with the image.


Monday, October 7, 2013

"On The Grind” - Asia Mone’t

"On The Grind” spotlights non-exclusive agency models that continue to defy the odds and make their mark on the plus modeling industry. Being a working plus model I understand the value of having a modeling agency but I am here to let you know that if you currently do not have one you can still be successful and accomplish your dream. I am a prime example of that and every month I will bring you my fellow models who are on their grind.

Our first spotlight model is Ms. Asia Mone’t. She was one of the first models I saw with a professional website when I first came into the industry in 1996. Asia Mone’t has been seen in national campaigns for Plus Retailer Ashley Stewart and she has walked the runway for Full Figured Fashion Week in New York City. Asia was the first Plus Size Model to appear in a campaign for intimates brand Le Mystere. You have also seen her in the Style Network’s hit reality show, “Glam Fairy,” BET's "Rip the Runway Model Search ", Inside Edition, Extra TV, The Today Show, Essence, Glamour and the list goes on. I have always admired her drive and professionalism.

Meet the Fabulous Asia Monet....


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

Asia Monet: Nope.. To even dream to be a model was so farfetched to me.

Christina: Are you currently signed exclusively to an agency?

Asia Monet: I am not signed exclusively to one agency, but I do freelance with a couple.

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

Asia Monet: At this stage of my career I don’t desire to be exclusive. Opportunities come through different agencies and directly to me.

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

Asia Monet: For me the first no I received came with a heavy feeling of rejection. A feeling of not being good enough to be in this industry. But as time went on "No" to me became "Not at this time”.

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

Asia Monet: Yes I have encountered the term "Agency Standard Model" with gives off the implication that if you didn't have an agent, you didn't live up to a certain standard.

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

Asia Monet: I have worked with Ashley Stewart, LeMystere, and Wacoal to name a few.

Christina: How do you get most of your jobs?

Asia Monet: At this stage of my modeling career most of jobs are from referrals and the agencies. In the beginning I sourced clients I thought I would be a good fit for. I answered casting calls on the web like from Craig's list and model network sites.

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

Asia Monet: Yes my regular clients consist mostly of fit work. But I also design web sites for other creative professionals.

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

Asia Monet: My Model Hustle is Strategic, Purposeful and Preparatory.

Christina: Who are your model inspirations?

Asia Monet: I am inspired by fellow model hustlers but the one who I admire both as a Model and Business Mogul is Tyra Banks. She has built an empire stemming from her modeling career.

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

Asia Monet: In 5 years I hope that I will be reaping the benefits of my sacrifice and grind in this industry with my own TV Show, Intimates Line, and a Best Selling Book :)

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

Asia Monet: Always prepare yourself with knowledge of your craft and the industry. When you understand that your Grind is a Business and treat it as such, there will be no limits to where you can go.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Model Dry Spell

As a model we all go through our highs and lows. Some months we are so busy and wish we could clone ourselves to be at every casting, job and/or event. While other times we sit and wait and wait and wait. I know the feelings and thoughts that run through your heads whenever we hit those "dry spell".

- Is this for me?

- Will I ever get another gig?

- Is it my hair/look/size?

- Do I need new pictures/new agent?

And the truth is 9 out of 10 times it's not any of the above. Here are some tips on staying positive.

- I strongly suggest staying away from spying on other model's websites and social  media pages (WE ALL DO IT). The less you see the better you will feel. God has provided us all a unique path and the devil likes to dangle folk’s success when we start doubting ourselves or feeling low. Avoid that by simply staying away.

-While you wait use this time to take care of your hair and skin. Trust me you will BOOK again so make sure you are ready to knock’em dead with your fabulous hair and skin. Make an appointment to get a deep conditioner and clean up your ends. Book a spa day for a fabulous facial and body scrub.

-Practice your craft. During off-season football players workout, do drills and go to practice camp so they can be ready for the season. Guess what? Modeling is a sport and you can sign up to various modeling boot camps to keep yourself in “tip-top” shape. My good friend Jeannie Ferguson has an awesome runway class and I recommend signing up.  Take a look at the video below for a snippet of her class


-Prepare for the rush by fixing your portfolio, printing out new pictures, try to recreate your business cards or comp cards.

-Check your model bag inventory. Make sure you have all you need for your next gig; Body foundation in black and nude, strapless bra in black and nude, seamless panties in black and nude, seamless thong in black and nude, black thighs, black tank top, leggings…..the necessities. Send out positive vibes by packing your model bag and putting it in the side, you will be BOOKED again.

-Pray Pray and Pray. Don't allow negative thoughts to take over, here are some amazing passage that can rejuvenate you.

Proverbs 16.9 - “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines out steps.”

Hebrews 11:1 – “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

Hebrews 10:36 – “Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.”

Galatians 6:9 – “So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up.”

Isaiah 55:8 – “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”

Again you will BOOKED again and when you do you will be ready. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How to get your child into modeling and acting?

Photo By Dideography
My 19 month old daughter is a real charmer and she loves the camera so much (wonder where she gets that from?) At 3 months old she landed her first gig with Fisher Price and since then she has worked with Gerber, Target, Babies R Us, Toys R Us, Avon, Metlife, Footwear Plus Magazine and a few others. I get questions everyday from other parents about getting their kids in the industry so this post is for you.

Below is a list of authorize agents and managers. Simply submit 2-3 clear pictures of your child. Because children change so much I don't recommend investing in pricey professional pictures when you first starting but consider purchasing quality pictures when your child starts booking. Reach out to the agent/manager via email or mail and make sure to note your child's Name, Age, Height, Dress Sizes, Shoe Sizes, Hair Color, Eye Color and Race.

NY Children Agency:

Product Model Management

Funny Face Today

Wilhelmina Models 300 Park Ave South, 2nd fl, NYC 10010 Attn: Kids

Ford Models 111 5th Ave New York, NY 10003

Generation Model Mgmt

Ikon Models

Ramona's Talent

Expecting Models - yes they have a kid’s division :)!

Hampton Models


Take 3 Talent Agency

CESD Talent 257 Park Avenue South

Abrams Artist Agency 275 7th Ave 26th Floor

Generation TV

Innovative Artists 235 Park Avenue South, 10th Fl

Frontier Booking International, Inc. (FBI)

Jordan,Gill,&Dornbaum (JGD)

About Face Talent

Don Buchwald and Associates

Clear Talent Group

Carson Adler


Shirley Grant Management

Mollo Management

Connecticut Kids

Adorable Talent Management

Nouveaux Talent Mgmt

RKS Mgmt

Inspired Artists Mgmt

Ingrid French Mgmt 928 Broadway Suite #302

Prestige Mgmt

Parkside Talent Management

CP Talent

GoldStar Talent

Cathy Parker Management

Marilyn Zitner Mgmt 16 Penn Plaza, New York, NY, 10001

Noble Talent Mgmt

Harvest Talent Management

Friendly Faces Mgmt

Adele's Kids

Brilliant Talent Management

Tannen's Talent