Les Feuilles Mortes

Fashion Editorial Les Feuilles Mortes – captured by fashion photographer Vu Thi Thanh-Tinh  for Flawless Magazine

Creative director and Key Make-up Artist by Tri-Anh Nguyen, Represented by The Agency to Make-up Artists.
Captured by Vu Thi Thanh-Tinh, retouched by Vitaly Gerasimov.
Hair Style courtesy of Trang Doan.
Models Courtney Burling – Wink Models, Katrina Sly
Media Assistant Anh Nguyen and
Make-Up by Holly Kalsy.

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





How to Handle Rejection as a Model

By: Ivana West

Allow Yourself to Sulk In the Rejection

Rejection as any sort of artist is always more personal than a rejection of other forms.  This could not be truer than for the art of modeling, in which your body, your face, likeness and being are literally the art. This is why it is so important to process the pain before it submerges itself in your subconscious, impregnate your childhood traumas, and creates a monster of a self-defeating psyche.  So journal, talk your best friend’s head off, and watch all of the Oprah Super Soul Sunday that you need to repair your self-image.

“Competence Creates Confidence”

Rejection crushes our confidence, and understandably so, but we must ask ourselves—was said confidence built on a solid foundation to start with?  Did we simply build sandcastles and get upset when the waves came? Models are paid to exude confidence and luxury.  You are there to be aspirational. But even the Cristy Turlington caliber beauties of the world must practice and hone this craft if they are to feel truly confident walking onto the set. You must become disciplined and competent to have a firm, foundational career confidence.


Yep, this is the get your shit together and step your game up commandment. In life, most of the factors are actually largely beyond our control: our face shape, our nose length, the socioeconomic status and family we were born into, much of our childhood experiences.   However, learn to frolic in the margins and space where you do have control:  your style, your health, your knowledge, your range, etc., then you will not only learn from rejection but gradually experience less of it. Remember, so much more becomes available to you when you’re ready—so stay ready!


  1. Don’t Ignore the Pain—Put it to Use!

Don’t beat yourself up.  Be gentle with yourself.  But also don’t delude yourself into thinking the pain is not there when it is indeed very real.  Though we all wish to be resilient and as untouchable as Teflon, the truth is that we are human.  It’s actually easier to just accept ourselves and our emotional state where it is at.  No matter how tormented and angry we become, this too shall pass.  In the essay, “Uses of Anger” by Audre Lorde, she asserts “Anger expressed and translated into action and in service of our vision and future is a liberating and strengthening act of clarification.”

Anger, resentment, and the sadness that comes from feeling underestimated, overlooked or disrespected is such a powerful emotion.  Allow yourself to use it.  You can get a lot done with it.  Use it to clarify what you do not wish to feel and to be.  Allow this contrast to marinate and be used to mold your desired future. Rejection should not be wasted, as it holds the gift of genuine grit.

2: Know Thyself, Know Thy Industry

Fashion is fun and fashion is fantasy, but it is financial first and foremost.  What does that mean for us models?  We aren’t just some beautiful, ethereal mannequins come to life (contrary to Tyra Banks in Life Size), but we are businesswomen and men.  Similar to any other industry, in fashion you must constantly study its economic landscape, meaning: knowing which designers are booking models of your type, knowing which looks are on trend, knowing how to dress at go-sees to best market your brand, and knowing how to build your platform professionally on your social media platforms, your website, and in person.  A lot of unnecessary rejection can be better understood and even avoided if we just do our homework.  Maybe it’s your look, maybe it’s that you’re a London gal trying to force it into a Miami market.  Not every model is for every booking.

3: Develop Risk Resilience

Above all, one of the most dangerous effects of rejection is that it can paralyze us, keeping us in our comfort zones. The wisdom to take risks that are within our best interest is built over time, like an emotional muscle.  We must be willing to risk reoccurring embarrassment for reward.  It is those spaces in life that hold the greatest probability for embarrassment which also hold the greatest possibility for reward.  If we can learn to relish in these spaces, uninhibited by public opinion, then there is no way we can truly lose.  Don’t be afraid of being seen at the bottom, because as the cliché goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Submitted by

Ivana West (@ivanawest)

What separates professional models from amateurs?

What separates professional models from amateurs?



We would have to look at what defines someone as professional. How do we measure this, especially when the main equity traded is beauty, which we are told is in the eye of a beholder.


Traditionally there were parameters which separated models from “just” beautiful people. Such as weight, height, age, contacts, to name a few. Any deviation from the desired ‘ideal’ most likely meant getting nowhere. Added to this was the process by which models and supermodels were marketed to the consumer. Gone are the days of cameras being difficult to obtain and photography being a mysterious and costly profession to pursue. Everyone can take great images with their mobile phone and more. The kingdom of selfies has cometh upon us. Two edges of every sword and what is easily made and readily available devaluates many a masterpiece.


As social, beauty and fashion industry norms change, we are starting to see the tides shift in the world of modeling too. There is ever greater push towards creating a tolerant, inclusive and ethical society and our rising consciousness is reflected in our wardrobes and personal styles. Perhaps the clothes we wear, how and why we wear them, the brands we buy and support are tell tale signs of where we stand as a society and as individuals. As within so without. Models, the unicorns of this very world, are the ones to profess and represent the changes. Evermore the mysterious “je ne sais quoi “is in the play. The intangible (or even tangible) uniqueness factor may override the traditional physical requirements to be deemed a professional in the world of modeling.


Arguably the lines between professional and vocational are being blurred and perhaps the deciding factor is money and fame – as it always has been the case. Many children of the famous are automatically propelled to the ‘professional’ bracket of the supers and well-paid models mainly on the back of their pedigree (and possibly tweaks from the surgeons). Other models fulfill the old school parameters of double Ts (tall and thin). A person who is signed with a famous modeling agency alas making virtually no money is deemed professional by validation of an entity from within the industry. A gatekeeper of sorts. But as our individual power rises thanks to the internet, we may at times overstep these – or engage with them differently. Is someone a professional model even though their primary or only outlet of representation is Instagram or YouTube or Snapchat? One could argue that if they make a living out of it, the answer is yes. Perhaps there is a certain nostalgia for the tradition, for the glamour of days past, for being validated by the leaders of the pack. But the new day belongs to the daring and the brave.


A question bubbling up to the surface of fashion and media industries since the arrival of the world wide web, but ever more so in the recent few years. The digital technology widely available and media convergence allows people to engage directly with the gatekeepers, to communicate and express their opinions as well as get involved directly in the creative process of fashion imagery production. In other words, the consumer – both as a buyer and as a spectator – is now assuming an active role in the process of defining and redefining of what professional means. As consumers gained their voices so too grew their importance and influence and the message seems to be getting louder. The fashion world and its ambassadors, the models, are to be diversified. Buyers want not only something to aspire to but also something to relate to. Thus the rise of an influencer on social media and clearly growing diversification of models in terms of color, body type, and even age.


Trans models such as Andrej Pejić (now Andreja Pejić) have made major waves in the high-end fashion. Pejić previously walked for fashion royalty such as Jean Paul Gaultier in both menswear and womenswear shows (2011). Pejić was the first trans model to sign a cosmetic contract and was also profiled by Vogue in 2015 and the following year graced the cover of

  1. Not so long ago to think of a trans model being represented by a major crème de la crème agency such as Ford in New York and LA would be more or less unthinkable. As likes of Pejić (And previously Teri Toye) paved way and the shock factor is slowly becoming a status quo, all Of a sudden there is gender fluidity in the mainstream advertising too. Refinery 29 predicts that“For The Modeling Industry the Future is Transgender” as Teddy Quinlivan, Leyna Bloom, Casil McArthur, Gia Garison, and Geena Rocero are unashamedly looking at us from Refinery’s landing page



If someone predicted in the 80s, when the waif look and heroin chic reigned the industry, that in 2018 there will be a plus size Americas Next Top Model finalist, people may as well have laughed. The body positive activist and a model originally from Ukraine, 32 years old Khrystyana was signed by a major UK agency, MILK, just days ago (IG @khrystyana). Somehow one could doubt they would sign her has she not fought for an ANTM crown. That is the power of media harnessed towards ones dream.

Ethnic diversity is no longer a statement from a few pioneers, like the United Colours of Benetton used to be, but as natural as global shipping. The age taboo is slowly but surely softening its edges too, with silver-haired models such as Carmen Dell’Orefice (who is 86) are making ever more appearances.

Andy Warhol rather correctly predicted the 15 minutes of fame. What he didn’t see coming (how could he) was the 15 seconds of fame to follow, birthed by the Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.

It seems the future belongs to the self-appointed, the self-made. Warhol’s Interview magazine just folded and with it perhaps a whole era of what ‘professional modeling’ means.

That is not to say that greatness won’t be forever demanded in the world of beauty and fashion, but perhaps the hunger games are now a little fairer, more people can join and try their luck.

Marilyn Monroe’s “it’s all just a make-believe” is still relevant and true, more than ever before, in the history of fashion and ultimately modeling.

Laura Arten, laura@laurarten.com IG@laurarten Twitter@LauraArten




“How to Find Models for Your Photo Shoot”

How to Find Models for Your Photo Shoot


You have a vision for your next photo shoot. Now is the time to find the perfect model to execute that vision. Casting models can be exciting- you get to meet new models and see what they can offer. Each model can lead to a different look and unique experience. What makes it even better is when you find a great model who enhances your vision creating something amazing. And, each shoot is a venue for exploration, learning and improving. So, keep in mind it won’t always be exactly what you envisioned, but maybe even better.

Before casting, know what you are looking for in a model. This will help narrow down your search. A model should have the right looks for the photoshoot. As a photographer, look for somebody who projects well on camera. This is your vision so make the best of it.

Search for a confident model. It is easier to work with a model who is comfortable with herself/himself and not afraid to work with different photographers. You’ll notice this in the way a model carries themselves. The way someone walks, talks and projects themselves can tell a lot about confidence. Your model should also have an idea of how to actually model. For example, what poses, facial expressions and projections to use. Talking to your potential model(s) can help before making a decision.

Now that you have more of an idea of what you want, it is time to find the ideal model for your shoot. There are plenty of ways to go about this. You can speak to other models you have worked with or photographers to get their recommendations on someone specific, look on social media or websites like Model Mahem, Kavyar . Model Mayhem and Kavyar have model’s portfolios and contact information right there so you can get an idea if they might be what you invasion for the photoshoot. You can even go through an agency if you wanted to. It’s all about what you want and you are willing to do to find the ideal model.

When looking at a model’s portfolio make sure the photos are up-to-date. If it is, you know they are continuing their work and the photos reflect them accurately. Keep an eye out for variety. A model who knows what he/she is doing will have different looks in their facial expressions, outfits, poses, etc. Also, look to see if they have worked with other photographers. That is how you can tell they have experience. It says a lot when there are multiple photographers they have worked with. Typically, that means they are easy to work with and know what they are doing.  It is also a good sign that they take what they do seriously. Another good sign is when a model is agency-represented. This means the model considers their modeling to be a profession. They are more likely to be more reliable and committed. There is nothing worse than a model bailing on a photoshoot.


Keep an eye out for a theme in the model’s portfolio. Maybe some of the photos or “theme” resonate with your vision. If you are doing a high fashion shoot and they have a lot of high fashion photos they might be a fit. You also won’t want a fitness model if you are doing an editorial type shoot. Maybe the model is too tall or thin for what you are looking for. Don’t be afraid to move on. This is your vision and you are the one casting the model. If you can cast a model who is inspired by the theme you are shooting, the results will be more of what you want. It is always easier to do what you enjoy when those involved are passionate and professional.


Finally, after choosing your model, it is time to reach out. Provide them with as many details as possible about the photoshoot. Let them know the theme, possible dates, other people who might be working with you both and any other crucial information. Make sure to discuss compensation. Sometimes the model expects to get paid, respect that. They are making a living just like you. Or, they may be open to doing a trade where you take photos for your portfolio and they get the photos to use for theirs. This demonstrates to the model you are prepared and serious. The model can then let you know their thoughts and also check their availability.


Share ideas with your potential model. It not only can be enjoyable, but you may come up with something awesome. Make the best out of your vision.


Submitted by

Brianna Case
Instagram: @mariebriianna


How To Approach Modeling Agencies

How To Approach Modeling Agencies

The number one Rule to remember is not only in just the modeling business but in any business, is to be on time is not to be late. Always arrive 30 mins early. It leaves not only a good impression, but it’s just professional. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and besides that, you just always want to be able to put your best foot forward.


Be the best version of yourself, and know that you’ll hear millions of No’s before you hear that one yes; and that’s okay. Within every experience is an outcome of growth. The more no’s you hear the closer you are to a yes, and never allow yourself to be easily discouraged. Every “ No “ you receive helps you to become a better version of yourself.

Your Portfolio is the first representation of you. Make sure it stands out. It is your visual resume. It represents you before anyone has the opportunity to actually meet you themselves. You would want to have looks that not only compliment your strengths, but your uniqueness, and it dares you to be different Don’t be scared to stand out. Only greats have the capability of doing such a thing.

To be in the modeling industry you have to develop what I would like to call “ thick skin “; that most aren’t prepared for. It doesn’t just come, sometimes it takes years and years of preparation. Not one successful person made it overnight without failing over and over again. Having doubts about themselves, fears of not being accepted, or even being their own worse critic. Through it all, it helps you to appreciate your successes much more when it comes.

Less is more. Humility looks good on any and everyone. Going to a “ go see, or casting, with tons of makeup on, like your getting ready for a club night, or with a dramatic look, I wouldn’t advise, unless you were instructed otherwise. Be natural, let your “ you “, show. Plain top. Crew neck or v- neck plunge ( whichever your preference may be, a Nice denim. Hair pulled back to complement your features. Stand straight, shoulders back,  hold your head high maintain your confidence And make sure your walk is fiercest in the room, and feel your way!

A Runway model to me has to be one of the most difficult models to be.  Remaining calm in front of a crowd, walking straight without tripping, when everyone is staring; and knowing how to walk in a shoe weather it fits or not. Let your arms hang at your sides and keep your hands relaxed. You also want to smile so you can seem like your approachable, and always remember to remain confident. Practice makes perfect. Practice walking around the house in a shoe.


Learn your angles, and what I mean by that is know which poses would best compliment you. Pose in the mirror, take selfies, and see what poses or facial expressions that best compliment your features as model. Turn your head slowly when it comes to taking selfies and make sure you include your shoulders.


“Wear the clothes don’t let your clothes wear you”,  meaning bring personality to each and every look and own it. Every piece makes a statement and it tells it’s own story. Personality is key, and nervousness is good. Sometimes It helps, and always remember to Keep your Energy positive no matter what. Your energy speaks before you do.


Every experience is a learning experience, use your experiences for growth. It speaks volumes when you fail or succeed and are able to apply what you’ve learned to make yourself a better version of you. It wouldn’t matter if you were wearing a trash bag or a Balmain garment, Bring yourself to the fabric. Make it a piece of your skin.



Remember to Dare to be different, and don’t be afraid to embrace your uniqueness, and not to compare yourself to anyone but the person that you were the day before. In the modeling industry you can become so caught up in what everyone else is doing, or trying to keep up, forgetting your why, losing your uniqueness,  forgetting to stand out. It’s so many people that’s the same. Just live in your dopeness and remember to be great !


Submitted by

Name : Toshiba Mckune

Instagram : @Syckfashion

Tumbler : @ Mrs_shiba

Twitter : @Mrs_shiba

ig : @Mrs_shiba


How to approach a modeling agency as a model to represent you

How to approach a modeling agency as a model to represent you



It’s time, you have been modeling for a while and know this is your calling. Nothing says “you” more than getting in front of the camera or walking down a runway and showing the world what you’ve got. The next step for you is to find an agency that can represent you and your passion.

A modeling agency is there to represent a model and help him/her find jobs. They are experts in the industry. Each agency is alike and different in many ways. The key is to find one who speaks to you the most. It is important to choose an agency that is there to help you and not just themselves.

Start by conducting research. Get to know the three “W’s” of the modeling agency. Who they are, what their goal is for the agency and those who work for it, and where they are located. Believe it or not, location is very important. An agency doesn’t want a model who has to travel very far, especially for a last-minutecasting—unless you are willing to move. Find an agency within two hours from you. The closer the better. It helps build trust because they know you will be there when they need you. Also, make sure to understand how professional the agency environment is and ask necessary questions regarding it.

Next, match the agency to your goals. Know what type of model you want to be and how often you want to work. It will help you narrow down your search. Reviewing the submission guidelines will prepare you accordingly.

Once the search is narrowed down you can now move forward with applying/attending open calls.

When it comes to applying, the agency wants to know basic information about you. For example- age, what you look like, your height, stats (for women, bust/waist/hips, for men, suit jacket, and waist size) and where you live/contact information. Include eye and hair color, dress and shoe sizes as well. Add any experience you have in modeling, but make sure to keep it short. Overwriting could bore them. You want to get to the point. If they want more information, they will ask.

Then, choose the best photos to submit. Make sure they are updated and everything is the same about you (hair color, weight, etc). Choose photos that meet the model agency’s style. For example, if they specialize in glamour, submit glamour-type photos. Never submit unprofessional photos. Agencies don’t want to see your favorite selfie. A website of the model agency or social media can help you see what they are about and what they like. You can also call the agency to ask questions. Remember, the photos you submit are marketing you.

Submission time- some agencies will have you just apply via email or mail and won’t accept walk-ins. This can be more challenging because they can’t physically see you and you can’t interact with them face-to-face. If you choose to submit to an agency this way there are some things to keep in mind. Include your basic information as stated before and your photos. Make sure to include a return address and phone number. Not many requests for email submissions, but if the one you are applying to does, keep your email simple and avoid a ton of links or attachments. Embed photos in the message and make sure the files aren’t too large or too small.

Most agencies do castings where you can go there and meet the agent in person. When you have an appointment, it is good to arrive on time. Nothing is more unprofessional than to be late. Also, arrive alone. There is limited space so it would be unnecessary bringing someone with you who isn’t there for the casting. Carry a pen and paper to take notes. It also helps to have a list of questions before you go in. Asking questions gives you a better understanding of the agency and shows them you care. It is good to follow-up after with the agent and to ask anything you may have forgotten.

When it comes to approaching a modeling agency as a model the most important thing to remember is to be you. Show them who you are and why you want them to represent you. Don’t forget why you chose the agency in the first place.


Submitted by Brianna Case

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