In August, I took the plunge and moved out of my comfort zone of beachy, tropical Florida and into the concrete jungle that is New York City. My newly acquired job? Assistant agent at a fashion modeling agency.
I felt life come full circle when the office decided that we needed to do some scouting to recruit fresh-faced talent. "Where are some places we can look? Scouting events?" Now, if you work in the industry, probably the first event that would pop into your head is ProScout. Lo and behold, that was the first suggested event that popped out of my directors mouth. Once I tracked down the contacts to gain an invitation to the event, my director also gave me the responsibility of attending and scouting.
But let's rewind back five years, relocate to Orlando, Florida and open scene on my mom and I wandering through the Peabody Hotel lobby. I was the aspiring model, tugging my mom along to the registration table and scouring the room for potential scouts that could as well be keeping an eye on me. The two days at the convention run by like a blur, especially when nerves are as spiked as mine were. You could feel the tension from the stage moms and dads, evaluating the "less deserving" kids that weren't their own. Most of the kids seemed to be there for the fun of walking a stage runway and therefore having the bragging rights to tell their friends they saw the "top NYC agents." I wanted a contract. Badly. With fifteen callbacks I was sure I would secure something, anything. Nope. Not one single contract came out of the event. One of the managers could only remember me as the "girl with the ass" when I phoned in to see if he had potential updates on a contract. For Kim Kardashian, being the "girl with the ass" is a multi-million dollar brand but that rep as a fashion model will ruin you.
|Wow. Is that even possible?|
Now fast-forward to the present. Model dreams aside, power agent goals ahead instead, I sit behind a ProScout callback desk in Philadelphia waiting for the first nervous participant. As the young girls, and one guy, lined up to speak with me, I couldn't help but talk their ears off explaining the workings of the high fashion modeling industry, why it has size requirements, and why they should not stress if nature didn't give them the super skinny lanky genes. I only spoke to nine or ten ProScout participants, and yet by the end of the callback session, I barely had a voice left. I refused to let them walk away thinking they had to force themselves to rail-thinness. At fourteen years old, that shouldn't be a primary concern.
My [model] life journey has taken me through aspiring model, working-ish model, frustrating weight gain (or developing and maturing as the normal public sees it), failed weight loss and finally resignation from that stress in turn for a job as the guide for the aspiring models to come. As I shook the hands of the young girls and their parents at the callback table, I only hoped that my mini-speech/Q&A session guided the doe-eyed teen to take a different fork in the road than what I had tried just five years ago. Who knows, maybe I'll see them on my side of the table in half a decade.