A day in the life of Dora Owusu

Tell us a day in the life of Dora Owusu?

A day in my life starts by heading to lecture at 9 am then another at 10 am. My break begins at noon in which I sometimes go to auditions and rush back to campus to make it to my 2 pm lab. Between 4:30 and 6 pm I squeeze in a bite to eat and some studying before my next class which is from 6-9pm.

Where are you from? Where are you based now and do you travel for shoots?

My blood is from Ghana in West Africa. I was born in Los Angeles California but raised in the city of Rancho Cucamonga which is about an hour east of Los Angeles. I am currently based in the Los Angeles and luckily most of my shoots are within the LA area so I usually don’t have to travel over 30 miles for a shoot. Some shoots can be out of state which are always fun because I get to experience how people live outside of California.

Growing up did you know you wanted to be a model, if so who were you influenced by?

I definitely wanted to model growing up but my mom said ‘no’. She feared that I would be taken advantage of or scammed. She told me that if I wanted to model then I should “call Tyra Banks” as if her phone number was a simple google search away. I wasn’t influenced by many besides Naomi Campbell. It was nearly impossible to find a positive representation of myself in society.

How or when did you start modeling?

I started my modeling journey in May of 2016. I was approached by a brand that had a large influence on Instagram. After my photoshoot with them, my photos were being heavily reposted, photographers began reaching out to me, and people were asking how much I charged per photoshoot. I was overwhelmed by all of the love I was receiving but rejected any money offered for the first few months. I wanted to practice and perfect my craft as a model, I didn’t feel right charging people or taking money to do something I didn’t feel 100% confident in.

What do you look for when deciding to work with a photographer?

When a photographer reaches out to me, I first look at their Instagram to get a feel of the look they typically go for. Next, I check out their website to see any other styles they’ve tried in the past. If I like their style of work, I will ask them if they know specifically what they would like to shoot with me. They often send over a vision board and we set a date. Stylist and makeup artist are very important for every shoot. It’s best for the photographer to have an MUA and stylist to ensure that the project will be executed properly.

How important is social media in your success?

Social media plays a major role in my success as a model. Casting directors and agents have asked for my Instagram handle and checked my numbers. Also, social media has helped in getting me noticed by brands and booking me for a great number of gigs.

What else do you do outside of modeling?

Outside of modeling, I am a full-time student studying biology at California State University, Los Angeles. I plan on one day becoming a Physician Assistant however, I recently concluded an undergraduate research program conducting research on thermogenic (fat burners) which expanded my interest in research. I like to keep my options open and go wherever God leads me.

What are some of the mistakes you made starting out a model?

I would say I made the mistake of not being selective enough with the photographers I shot with. Some photographers’ visions did not align with looks I was completely comfortable with and others did not know how to properly light deep skin tones so I end up having photos that I cannot put in my portfolio.

What advice do you have for Working with Agencies for New models?

I would advise models to look up agencies in their area and find when the agencies have open calls and set the time to go. I would also suggest to update their portfolios consistently and lastly, not to be discouraged if someone says ‘no’. When searching for an agent I knew that I would hear a ton of no’s but I just needed one yes to get my foot in the door.

What are 5 Things clients look for when hiring a model in your opinion?

  1. Positive attitude
  2. Fitting the look that the client is looking for
  3. Experience
  4. Healthy skin
  5. Social media presence

How did you grow Your Instagram account?

My Instagram growth mainly came from being reposted on pages that had more followers than myself.               I know sometimes people tag the pages with a larger following to get noticed and reposted. Also, some pages charge a fee to promote a person’s photo on their page.

What are some Keys things to Landing BIG Clients from experience?

  1. Great personality
  2. A developed portfolio
  3. Connections with other creatives (MUA, Photographers, Creative directors)
  4. Having a decent following

What are some of the Risks Every model Needs to Take to Be Successful?

Be prepared to risk your current lifestyle. You have to be in shape year-round, maintain clear skin, and have an open schedule because auditions times and shoot dates are unpredictable.

Who are some of your 10 Must-Follow models on Instagram?

In no particular order

  1. @modelomilano
  2. @eromomen
  3. @mameadjei4
  4. @tifenymoreira
  5. @khadijashari
  6. @iambriannamichelle
  7. @ adwoaaboah
  8. @ lili_ann
  9. @carmen.solomons
  10. @misscolewoods





A day in the life of Gabriella Pawelek

Tell us about a day in the life of Gabriella Pawelek?

As of right now, my weekdays are pretty consumed by work and a climate change law seminar that I’m finishing before getting started on my master’s thesis. I’m usually up and at it around 9 if I don’t set an alarm for the day. I’m always ravenously hungry when I wake up, so I start my day with a big breakfast (110% my favorite meal of the day!). Usually I’ll make some sort of egg dish and a smoothie with whatever fruits and vegetables I have around, or if I’m running late to get somewhere I’ll pop down to Starbucks on my way out and order those little egg white bites and a green tea. If I don’t have a job that day, I’ll try to knock out any castings as early as I can so I have the afternoon free. I can get ready to go in five minutes, so I’ll spend some time in the morning checking emails and messages. You can almost always find me running out the door wearing all black with my hair up in a center part bun, and I’m a tinted moisturizer/lip balm/mascara kind of girl. Lunch is typically a salad with chicken to squeeze more veggies in, and I’ll spend at least part of the afternoon catching up on writing assignments. With this seminar, this could range from drafting hypothetical legislation to writing SEC disclosure statements. I like going to the gym in the late afternoon when it’s not busy. I’ll do weight work about every other day, and the days in between, which are my favorite, I’m outside running. Popping in earbuds and going on a long run is my favorite way to clear my head. I’m not currently on a training schedule for an event, but I’ll register for half and full marathons pretty regularly so that I have pacing goals to work towards. If I’m traveling, I’ll throw some resistance bands in my bag and use Kayla Itsines’ Sweat app for workout ideas. Dinner is the time I’ll splurge a little bit if I want to, especially if I’m meeting up with family or friends. I’m passionate about brownies and would challenge anyone to a burger eating contest. I like to read a little before bed every night – my most frequented is National Geographic, which I’ve read religiously since I was about 12.

nice for what 🌙

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Where are you from? Where are you based now and do you travel for shoots?

I’m originally from the Houston area and am currently based in LA for work. You will always find me traveling, both for modeling and for fun, as much as I possibly can – especially when I get an excuse to go home to Texas!


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Growing up did you know you wanted to be a model? How or when did you start modeling?

Growing up, you wouldn’t have been able to convince me that I would ever be doing this today! Modeling is something that never would’ve crossed my mind. I was an introverted and outdoorsy kid, (still am!) who was very much so into my schoolwork, art, and sports, and I was also teased a lot for how tall and skinny I was.

In high school, I worked for a local wedding venue’s in-house catering company on weekends. I was helping the serving staff during a reception when a wedding guest snapped a quick picture of me (I’ll always remember this picture, I was passing around a tray of bacon wrapped shrimp!). She introduced herself to me as a good friend of the Shell family, the owners of Neal Hamil Agency in Houston, and asked if she could send them the picture with my contact information. I agreed, even though I thought to myself that nothing would come of it and that I would never pursue it  –I’ve always been such a tomboy at heart and I associated all modeling with beauty pageants. A couple days later, I got a call from one of the bookers at Neal Hamil asking about a good time for me to come visit them at the office. Before I could tell them that I wasn’t interested, my mom convinced me to make the trip with her that week. I had my first modeling contract a few days later.

@bryansdimension 💕

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What do you look for when deciding to work with a photographer?

As far as my own personal tastes and style preferences go, I’m drawn to light and airy photos that are taken outdoors. And I love film photography! But I love working with a variety of photographers with different shooting styles, as it helps you diversify your book and different types of shots speak to different types of clients. In the end, I look at lighting, tones, and retouching that doesn’t go overboard.

How important is social media in your success?

Instagram has certainly helped me book jobs! I feel that most clients are just as likely to look at your social media as your portfolios on agency websites, some even more so. I also like that it gives you more room for expression, although I’m not the best at posting consistently. Instagram is also great for connecting with local photographers or booking last minute shoots when you travel.

What else do you do outside of modeling?

Right now, I’m wrapping up a master’s degree through Harvard’s SEM (Sustainability and Environmental Management) program and will be finished with my thesis paper on biosynthetic cannabinoids as of this upcoming November.I love to travel as much as possible, especially to places that have great hiking and/or diving. I also dabble in pen and ink art in my spare time. My style is a little on the minimalist side, and I’m working on building my portfolio – it’s my secret dream to be a fine line tattoo artist on the side!

What are some of the mistakes you made starting out as a model?

Wearing too much makeup to castings! It took me a while to realize that, even though you want to look and feel your best walking into any casting or meeting, directors truly do want to see you as more of a clean slate versus a “finished product”. Also, practicing my walk in one pair of heels that I felt most comfortable in. Before being approached about modeling, I had literally never worn heels! Being so tall already, I never wanted to stand out more than I already did. When I started getting asked to do runway jobs, I had to take classes on weekends to learn how to walk properly, and I always brought the same pair of manageable heels to class. In reality, you always run into shoes that are too big, small, wide, narrow, slippery, and tall – you name it – when doing shows. You have to learn to walk in them all, and I would’ve been doing myself a huge favor by working on this sooner than later.

nyc for the week🗽

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What advice do you have for working with agencies for new models?

There’s no such thing as communicating too much or asking too many questions! Not wanting to come off as annoying or pushy, or to seem confused, can make reaching out to your bookers intimidating, but they’ll appreciate the fact that you’re taking initiative and being responsible. And it’s ultimately your career – don’t be afraid to be upfront about your work goals, to ask why you’re not going on more castings, to ask for some test shoots to revamp your book, etc.

What are things clients look for when hiring a model in your opinion?

First and foremost, aside from having the look that the client wants, you have to be easy to work/get along with. When a client’s investing so much in a production and everyone’s putting in a long day on set, you need to make sure you’re bringing a positive and cooperative attitude. This is especially important for locking in repeat clients, as well as being dependable and consistent in your timeliness and professionalism. Aside from that, everything’s practices, practice, practice. For print work, they’re going to usually be looking for girls who can move without much direction, and for shows, they’ll be booking the girl who can nail her walk in their looks and shoes. Social media presence can be also come into play, as some clients will take follower counts into consideration.

How did you grow your Instagram account?

As I’ve mentioned before, I could definitely do a lot more to be more active on Instagram, but the one thing that’s helped my account grow most is simply being posted and tagged on the feeds of brands and photographers that have larger followings.

the loveliest @lingwangphoto + @kalitamakeup for @lucysmagazine 🌸

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Banner Image credit

Photographer & Wardrobe Stylist – Vara Pappas
Makeup Artist & Art Direction – Cori Aston
Model – Gabriella Pawelek Klein @ Neal Hamil Agency
 @varapappas @coriaston39 @gabriellapawelek

A day in the life of Talia White

Tell us a day in the life of Talia White?

My days aren’t quite as easy as they use to be, I have a 1 year old daughter so my day starts sorting her out before anything else. I check Instagram and my emails, get all my equipment together and then depending on where I am shooting I will either make my way to my studio or location.  The day will be spent shooting for a number of different companies and brands, whether that is campaign or e-commerce.  As soon as I am done I make my way home and start editing the pictures from the shoot. This would be a typical shoot day, however, sometimes I have admin and editing days where I tie up any loose ends and finalise paperwork.

Growing up did you know you wanted to be a photographer, if so who were you influenced by?

When I was growing up I wanted to be an artist and I suppose this is what I am now in my own right, but it wasn’t a career in photography that I imagined. It was when I started a college course in Art and Design that I was required to study a unit in photography and I found it really enjoyable. However it took me two years to discover my true passion. I would photograph landscape, food, portraits and still life, but the feeling of excitement came when I took a photo of my niece in a creative fashion shoot and it was here I knew I wanted to make a career out shooting fashion photography.  Early in my career I admired David LaChapelle’s use of colour, set design and how extravagant his work is and I think perhaps this has influenced my work at times and how I use colour in my photographs.

How did you start your photography business?

Straight out of college I worked in a family portrait studio to develop confidence, as well becoming more familiar with lighting and editing techniques, and dealing with clients.  It also enabled me to build a portfolio of work as I was able to use the studio when the shop was closed. In 2015 I arranged a test shoot with a model who was the face of an up and coming brand, I asked her to bring some clothing from the brand and when the company saw the pictures they loved my work and booked me from then on as their photographer. After shooting with this company I was able to leave my day job because I was getting enough work as a freelance photographer and building up a reputation via Instagram and Facebook.

What interesting projects have you worked on recently or about to work on?

Recently, I had the opportunity to photograph Toff from Made in Chelsea just before she went on to win ‘I’m a Celebrity’ for With Love Lilly a lingerie company which was amazing. I do have a really exciting trip coming up in Mykonos, I can’t say too much about it just yet but I would say it is my most exciting project yet to date.

Provide us some illustrations of how your work have transformed over the years?


2009                                                      2018


How did you to develop your Own Unique Style of Photography?

I suppose it developed over a period of time, my style has changed from when I started out. To begin my style was very vintage and ethereal but it didn’t get me any work. It was at this point where I realised I had to look at what brands were shooting to figure out what was current and on-trend so I switched up my style. I also find a lot of my style comes into my work during editing.

How do you create a Fashion or Beauty Shoot?

It will all start with a brief, usually sent over by the company.  This will include the themes, make-up, posing styles, models and inspiration pictures. From this we design a set to fit the brief (if needed) and everything else just falls into place.

What are 10 Things clients look for when hiring a Photographer in your opinion?

Reputation, professional, personality, quick turnaround of images, passionate about the work you are producing, loyalty, organised, making the whole experience as seamless as possible and adaptable.

How did you grow Your Photography Business with Instagram?

By shooting with brands and models with large followings, constantly networking with different models and makeup artists on the social media platform.

What are some of the Risks Every Photographer Needs to Take to Be Successful?

Even if you are absolutely terrified do it, I’m quite a nervous person, my nerves always get the better of me but whatever the task/job, I say yes because I’d never get anywhere if I didn’t. I recently had to do Demos at The Photography Show for Interfit UK, which back when I started I could have only dreamed of. I was totally nervous but knew it was something I needed to do.

I know it’s cliché but NOTHING comes from your comfort zone, your comfort zone is your failure zone, so take risks. Do something every day that scares you, contact the clients you dream of shooting for.

Who are some of your 10 Must-Follow Photographers on Instagram       ?

I could probably list 100, but here are some amazing talented and supportive photographers I enjoy seeing on my insta feed. I think there are more than 10 here.















What are some advice on how to Get Your Photos Published?

Find magazines that are accepting submissions, check out the up and coming themes, get a great team together and produce something Insane.

How do you Find Models for Your Photo Shoot?

I usually find them via Instagram or I contact agencies.


Any advice for up and coming Photographers?

First of all just test, test, and test. Test with friends, family members and models that are building a portfolio to find your style.

Secondly, my favourite saying is ‘talent will get your far but ambition will get you further’.  There will be knockbacks, it happens to us all, however, if you want something bad enough and you eat, sleep and breathe it, work day and night for it. You’ll reach all your goals.

quality and quantity

Quality & Quantity

It is  not the quantity of work put out by a creative that will make the phone ring, but rather the quality.  Less is more !  i want to take   that even further. sometimes simplicity and putting out less stuff is actually better in the long run than mixing the crap with the good.  I know a lot of creatives make the mistake of  putting out great stuff with the crap. This can have the result of devaluing the great stuff and becomes  counter productive.

quality and quantity

I recently organised and directed a shoot.I came up with a concept, that took 6-7 weeks of planning. The reason i highlight this fact, is because a lot of newcomers,schedule shoots 2-3 times a week, while shooting clients work also.  I can relate to this because I think in the beginning you want to do as much as possible until you develop a certain style. it’s more about the art rather than the end product or the process rather than product.


There’s this misconception that if you don’t post photos everyday it means that you don’t have clients and you’re not successful. How do you handle this dilemma?

I’d like to answer that with the following. time is the currency of  every creatives’ life; to maximize benefit, we want the most quality for the least amount of time. If you can get quality things from life in short order, do so. That’s much more valuable in the grand scheme of things than spending your life accumulating crappy things.

There are many successful photographers who really turn this theory on its head. Kirsty Mitchell Photography is a great example. Her shoots take months of planning but everyone still wants to see her work and there is much demand for her..

There are even some fashion photographers who are not yet at the top of their game and post 1 or 2 shoots a month or even every couple of months and still get booked solid because of the high quality of their work. Joanna Kustra is an example of this.

Many creatives try to get as many shoots in as possible, this can eventually lead to disinterest. Perhaps you might begin to lose enthusiasm for what you used to love.  But once you cut  back  the amount you shoot and plan thoroughly to the T , it can be  more energizing and refreshing going out and shooting. Being able to express  yourself more and put passion into what you’re  producing. This is what separates the success of the Famous vs The Hobbyists .  The hobbyist shoots as often as he or she likes where as, the more famous creative knows their work is being judged  by the public. Therefore,  there’s an emphasis to put more effort into  the process of the shoot and have a well  planned concept  rather than shoot tons of editorials only to end up with a vanilla type of shoot.


Let’s look at it from a different angle in terms of Quality Vs Quantity.

Would you be happiest having only one perfect meal per month or one average meal whenever you were hungry.? You need a degree of quantity to experience quality.

Chuck Close says it perfectly.


“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”

Chuck Close

quality and quantity

I think what chuck meant by this there has to be a balance between quality and quantity. In my honest opinion I think balance is key. To keep posting content regularly enough to remain visible, but to sum up what  Chuck  is trying to get across , really try to make every shot or project count. So that your skills and experience are really being enhanced. That way, you will attract a better audience who really appreciate what you do. whilst it is nice to have lots of followers and fans for recognition, it is actually better to have fewer followers who will engage and connect with your work more and look forward to seeing it. They are the ones who will really help promote you. I believe this is how many other talented artists started who now have a successful brand.  By speaking to people who really connected with them.


Like Ira Glass Previously stated in his tastes video, you can watch it here


There are pros and cons of shooting randomly, but mostly for beginners. If you are guilty of doing way too many shoots,  you’d  find many lacking in quality when  you look back at them.. but the experience and knowledge you’ve gained are invaluable as you would have tried so many different things… But you’d find that what you were missing out on are important techniques and  attention to details.  I would have to end this post with  saying definitely quality content is better , as I’ve learned the hard way.  As my mentor taught me let your work speak for itself. what better way to do that than a quality portfolio.