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I Try And Model For Something Bigger Than You Or Me

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When I first traveled to South Africa, it changed me. I had heard about the country in school, but the textbooks did not prepare me for the experience I had with the people I met there. They were warm, genuine, and couldn’t care less that I was there shooting for Vogue. With all the paparazzi and drama I receive back at home, it can be easy to forget the human side of life. In the sanctity of South Africa, I could be human again.

I was so moved by my experience traveling throughout the country that I asked my agency to extend my time there. They agreed, and I spent an extra week working with abandoned children. Some of the photographers stayed behind with me, taking pictures as I read with the children and played games. It was an amazing experience that I wanted to share with the world.

Some people may wonder why I would choose to stay in South Africa at an orphanage instead of flying home and resting for my next project. The truth is, I wanted to do something that mattered. When I saw those poor children’s faces, I knew I could help them. I was able to expose their lives to the world simply because I was a model. How could I ignore that opportunity?

As models, we are always in the spotlight. People look to us and some want to be like us. When I was in South Africa, I knew that I could help the world if I simply shared my experience with it. I mean, if people were so interested in my life and allowed me to have the influence that I have, shouldn’t I use that influence for good?

My time at the shoot was documented and shared on my social media. As a result, the orphanage received thousands of dollars in donations from my fans. The children now have new clothes, books, and toys. I often think back on my memory of some of the children and picture their smiles as they open their toys and play in their new clothes. It makes me smile and pushes me to keep working as an ambassador for others like them.

The week in South Africa was a few years ago, but I haven’t stopped seeking out people who need help. I now regularly request a little extra time when I travel so that I can find new ways to ‘do good’. There are plenty of people needing help that the world never hears about. I am lucky enough to meet these beautiful people, and I want to share their stories whenever I can.

For me, doing this isn’t something special; it’s an obligation. My career has allowed me to be a citizen of the world. My success at it has given me lots of influence. I’m just combining the two things to help those who don’t have enough influence. I guess you can call me a model citizen.

Smile For The Camera – It Loves You Baby!

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“Make love to the camera!” is a commonly referenced statement whenever it comes to photoshoots and modeling. While a bit exaggerated, the meaning behind the statement rings true. While no one expects you to literally “make love” to the camera, it is important that models know how to develop a relationship with this seemingly “artificial” piece of equipment.

Real photoshoots are more than just pointing and shooting a model. Amazing images are those that capture special moments that can’t be achieved without the talents of the model and the photographer’s timing. Many new models have a tendency to get nervous or apprehensive about appearing in front of a camera. The key is to develop a level of comfort and establish a “relationship” of sorts that allows you to be uninhibited and unfazed by anything going on around you.

Whenever I shoot, I cancel out everything around me…all that matters is what’s going on between me and the camera. Sure, there’s a human being behind the lens but, for me, it isn’t even about the photographer. I focus on the camera by giving it humanistic traits. For example, I’ll envision the camera itself as a person. Depending on the shoot/theme/concept, my “character” and who the camera becomes are related to one another.

One example of this is a lifestyle shoot I did a while back in San Francisco. It was a simple, natural light shoot that took place in the photographer’s apartment/studio. We wanted the images to appear as “intimate” as possible by creating poses, expressions, gestures, etc. that appeared as if I was having a private moment with my boyfriend and someone just happened to capture the exchange.

To build my relationship with the camera for this shoot, I envisioned the camera as my boyfriend, my lover, and my confidant. I knew that my eye contact would be the selling point of the images, even if I wasn’t looking at the camera. Ladies and fellas, think about how you gaze at your significant other when you’ve in love. Your entire face is relaxed, soft and endearing. This type of look being given to the camera differs greatly from a high fashion or editorial shoot where that type of eye contact is edgier, direct, wild-eyed and intensely focused.

Even when I wasn’t looking directly at the camera, I kept that relationship between the camera and myself going. If I was looking away, I pretended I was reacting to my imaginary companion…I stayed “in the moment.” As I’ve stated before, modeling is similar to acting when you have to embody a persona that may or may not reflect how you are in real life.

I like to romanticize the nature of the relationship between model and camera because, if you think about it, this connection is the strongest during the entire process of the shoot. Unless you’re truly able to develop that comfort level with the camera, no amount of posing, expressions or gestures will produce accurately genuine results. Don’t think of the camera as a thing or an “it”…think of the camera as a “who.” By doing this, with time and experience, I guarantee you’ll strengthen your skills as a model that constantly puts out amazing photos.

 

Modeling 101 – A Model’s Diary
By Dania Denise

The Role of Modeling In My Life

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Modeling is more than just a hobby for me. It’s a passion and something that I continue to enjoy more and more with each passing year. However, the role that it plays in my life is probably a lot different from what many of you would think.

I often get asked if I model full-time. My answer is “yes and no.” Yes, because it is a career that I seriously pursue and run as a business (I file my own set of taxes each year that relate to my modeling and acting work and related expenses). No, because I also have other careers that I also seriously pursue (I’m also an artist and writer/journalist).

Modeling isn’t my only/main source of income because, realistically speaking, I can’t live off of what I make through that type of work. For younger models that still live at home with their parents and have no bills to pay, making money full time from modeling is more of a reality for you. But I’ve been out of my parents’ house for almost 4 years now–I’ve got rent, auto insurance, a car note and other living expenses that have to be paid every month and in such a situation, depending solely on modeling income just ain’t gonna cut it, lol. Plus, I’m a print model so that limits the amount of work I can get (no high paying runway shows or high fashion magazine spreads for me :-/).

What also makes relying on modeling income alone unrealistic for me is the fact that the work I book through my agent doesn’t pay right away. Many new models don’t realize that even the biggest paychecks for gigs won’t make it to your bank account for 30-90 days. That’s a long time to be without funds. But again, if you live at home and don’t have a bunch of financial obligations and responsibilities, this won’t be such a big concern for you.

I’m signed to one agency. I’ve toyed with the idea of having more than one but at this point, it would be stretching myself too thin, especially since most agencies don’t want you signing with the competition in the same market. Right now one agency is more than enough for me, especially since I also do my fair share of freelance modeling, where I find work on my own in addition to what my agent gets for me.

As far as how frequently I book work, it’s not a consistent thing. I would estimate that on average, I probably book a modeling gig once every other week or 2-3 times a month. Sometimes if the timing is right and the opportunities are there, I can book 2-3 gigs in a 1-2 week period but then it’ll dry up for like a month. That’s how it goes in the industry–and that’s regardless of what kind of modeling you specialize in. If anything, the number of castings I attend outnumbers the actual gigs booked. The more castings you attend, the higher your chances are of getting hired but no model gets every single casting or go-see (I’m referring to the average, working model, not those that are “it” models or supermodel status).

Modeling is a huge part of my life but I work realistically within my expectations as far as my height, physical look, market/location, etc. So far the results I’ve gotten work for me. My best piece of advice for models trying to gauge how successful they could be in the industry is to work within your comfort zone and set practical, realistic goals that work with your lifestyle and not against it.

 

Modeling 101 – A Model’s Diary
Dania Denise

Being Runway Thin Will Kill You

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“From cocaine to eating cotton wool balls, the sad reality of how models are told to stay thin”

By Bibby Sowray, for The Fashion Telegraph UK

Each Fashion Week season, the issue of models and their weight is brought to our attention. Whether it’s the latest industry initiative to stop designers using unhealthily thin models, or society’s discontent with designers who consistently book underweight models, you can guarantee debate and controversy one way or another.

As New York Fashion Week ends, one model has spoken of the great lengths some models go to in order to achieve the sample-sized figure their work requires.

Russian model, Kira Dikhtyar told Fox News that “packs of cigarettes, daily colonics, laxatives, Phentermine diet pills, Adderal, prescription drugs that suppress the appetite,” are just some of the techniques employed by her colleagues to stave off hunger.

“I’ve heard stories that some modeling agents encourage girls to do speed and cocaine in order to speed up metabolism and eat less. And all kinds of injections are becoming more and more popular, from HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) injections that go with a 500-calorie [per day] diet plan to T3 thyroid injections that healthy models inject in an attempt to speed up their thyroid function, which results in a faster metabolism,” Dikhtyar said.

The 24-year-old said only one designer had turned her away for being too thin at New York Fashion Week this year. That designer was Elie Tahari. “So I guess I should applaud him,” Dikhtyar said.

HCG injections consist of a hormone which is produced during pregnancy and causes the uterus to be enriched with a thick lining of blood vessels and capillaries, so that it can sustain a growing foetus. As a prescription medication, HCG injections are often used in fertility therapy, however, they have recently received attention for their use as a weight loss aid, due to their ability to suppress appetite. Health authorities have advised against using HCG for weight loss, due to serious side effects such as gallstones, strokes and blood clots.

Dikhtyar said some models are trying hypnosis to curb their desire to eat, while others resort to eating cotton wool balls, to fill their grumbling stomachs. One model manager said a client was forced by her agent to urinate on a ketosis stick, to make sure that she was adhering to the agent’s prescribed Atkins Diet and not consuming any carbohydrates.

“From taking water pills, to fat flushes; models do everything they can to flush out any excess fat or water weight before hitting the runway,” she told us. “I’ve seen models do ridiculous cleanses and diets – the lettuce soup diet, the lemon juice diet, extreme diet pills etc. I’ve even heard of models detoxing a full month before a show and working out three times a day. It’s insane.”

So why is it that high-end magazines want more “full-figured” models on their covers these days, while high-end fashion shows are still seeking super thin, super young girls to roam the runway?

“People that pick up magazines are consumers. They want to see people that relate to them, which will make the consumer more eager to buy products. But designers are showing their garments to the majority crowd, who are mostly retailers. The collections are also considered ‘drafts’, and those drafts are fitted to a mannequin that is size 0 or 2 dress size,” explains Krystle Kelley, former model turned president of the California-based Desert Models Agency. “The other concern of the designer is for the garments to flow, as well as be mesmerizing on the catwalk, and the way to accomplish that is for the dress, pants, gown etc. to be long. The only way to fit a long garment is with a model who is thin and tall.”

Dikhtyar’s claims come shortly after two major initiatives were put in place to combat extreme and dangerous weight loss behaviour. In January this year, the CFDA released guidelines asking NYFW designers to, amongst other things, ask models for I.D., encourage those with eating disorders to seek help and to provide substantial amounts of healthy food backstage. Similarly, Vogue magazine launched ‘The Health Initiative’ in June – a pact between 19 of the magazines’ international editors to encourage a healthier approach to body image within the industry.

 

Above: Martyna Budna exposes her tiny frame on the catwalk during Mark Fast’s autumn/winter 2011 collection at London Fashion Week. Photo: Rex

 

Read full article here

 

Model Maison – Molly Gay

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This is an edit from the beautiful website called Model-Maison. Model-Maison is a project of love and dedication that has seen the photographer, Cybele Malinowski shoot models in their bedrooms all over the suburbs of Sydney, LA, London, Ukraine and shanghai. Each week we will be featuring a new model from Model- Maison.

Photography // Cybele Malinowski

Model // Molly Gay @ Chadwicks

Stylist // Angela Liang

fashion credits // Limedrop Dress, Kinga Ksilla silk pants

The Wardrobe Cleanse, Part 2: The Edit

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By Stylist Jenni Sellan

The goal is to have a fabulous and functional wardrobe that you LOVE and to never again spend unproductive time aimlessly staring into what currently feels like the black hole. You have made a date with your wardrobe and have promised not to stand her up.

As a side, before you get started it is important to realise that the process of editing your wardrobe, particularly if it has been a while between cleansing, it can feel exhilarating, terrifying and sometimes emotional. So in order to create a fun experience ask a friend who is both honest and trustworthy to join you… and may I suggest a sip of champagne?

Time to edit!

The first step is to remove all of your clothes from your wardrobe. If you have limited floor space, the bed is best. Once everything is out, categorise your clothing and create piles for each; jeans, shirts, skirts, pants, coats etc, and don’t forget about your shoes and accessories.

You have your 3 bags ready; “toss”, “sell” &  “donate” (garments you are keeping will be hung back in your wardrobe), and your storage boxes are on hand for accessories and the items that need to be stored and secured until next season. It’s also a good idea to create a space for the pieces that you have trouble deciding on.

Style Tip #keep a full length mirror handy as you will no doubt be trying things on throughout the process

One pile at a time, you need to look at each individual garment and ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do I have multiple items of this piece in the same styles and of the same colour?
If you are really committed to this process, you will narrow it down to 1 or 2.

2. What condition is the item in?
Is it damaged, frayed, ripped, faded? Has it lost it’s shape? Can it be repaired, and if yes, is it a quality piece worth repairing?

Style Tip# Any items that are beyond repair or their lifespan, need to be placed in the ‘toss’ it bag. It’s a long way from chic to donate clothing that is not in a wearable state.

3. Have I worn this item to the point that it needs replacing? If so, make a note of it. (This will be important information for your first shopping trip after the editing process is complete)

4. Does it fit? If not, is it worth having altered?

5. My favourite question, can I wear this item with a minimum of 3 other pieces in my wardrobe? Versatility is essential for a functional wardrobe.

6. Is this style flattering and does it suit both my personal style and my lifestyle?

These questions will need to be considered for each piece. Once you have answered them, place each item in the appropriate space.

At the end of this process, you will be left with 3 bags containing items that need to be tossed, donated or sold and quite likely a pile of clothing that you need to make some decisions about. For the pieces you are unsure of,  go through the list of questions again and  wait a few hours or even a couple of days before making your decision. (For those you decide to keep, a great tip from wardrobe 101 is to make a note of the date and see how long it takes before you actually wear it again).

Everything else will either be in storage or hanging in your wardrobe.

The next step is to get your wardrobe organised but before we do that…..it’s time for some champagne!

You are half way there to creating a wardrobe that is nothing less than chic xo

And if you missed Part 1 – then go have a read!

Too Damn Fierce For Words

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My grandmother used to model – long before it was anything like it is now. I used to go to her house and she’d spend hours teaching me how to hold a pose perfectly for 5 minutes at a time. She taught me about face angles and the technique of showing expressions with the eyes.

Sometimes it makes me laugh when I think about her lessons. My grandmother’s modeling was a lot different than what I do. I think the best way to compare it is fashion modeling compared to commercial modeling. Although my grandmother did appear in an issue of Vogue, her sweet smile and conservative poses seemed better fit for and Old Navy commercial.

When my grandmother was alive, she reviewed some of my first shoots.

“Why do you have so much attitude on your face?” she’d ask with a confused look.

“Oh grandma,” I’d laugh. “That’s what people like- that’s what sells.”

“Well, I don’t even know what you are wearing- all I see is your body and your face, “ she added, wrinkling her nose. “But it’s the prettiest face in the world!” she’d add, kissing me on the forehead.

While, I know my grandmother lived in an entirely different world than I do, I couldn’t help but think about what had changed in modeling. Was it more about the body? Did people even notice the clothes anymore? Why do we have so much attitude?

I mean, when I was a kid, I didn’t remember happy smiling models in the fashion magazine. No, they were more like femme fatales – dangerous women with sexy lips, piercing eyes and seductive bodies. I wanted to be that- the image of beauty and strength wrapped up in high-fashion apparel.

Where I was growing up if you mentioned the word model, people thought of the beautiful girls in music videos. You know that object of affection that every girl wanted to be. I never really identified with that image. Instead, my idea of a video model was always something more like the girls in Polyptych video.

Instead of me being the girl in a bigger story, where I am illustrating something else, in my mind I was always the story. I guess you could say that’s a bit vain, but I say you probably don’t understand the amount of work that goes into modern day modeling.

Unlike what my grandmother did, it is not about getting in front of a camera and looking pretty anymore. It’s not even about making the clothes look good. No, fashion modeling is about using the body to create an emotion that is overpowering. It’s about being soft while strong, attainable yet rare, desirable and almost unreal. Fashion models don’t make good music video models because they overshadow any other message that is attempting to be shared. They are so powerful they could sell anything based on their looks; they are too damn fierce for words.

Model Diaries #8 Love (The Final Chapter)

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The final chapter…

Continuing on from Model Diaries #4 & Model Diaries #7

…pure example of how you need to change your attitude, because then you change the causes in your life & subsequently, your effects. I don’t want to change you, i want to bring you up. Make you even better. I want to be in your world and i want you to see mine. Because i like how it feels when i spend time with you, and you drive me crazy. You are so bad for me. But i don’t care. Sometimes you need to dance with the devil.

 

No Patience? Then Modeling Is Not For You

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By Dania Denise
Modeling 101 – A Models Diary

I kid you not when I say that modeling is not always glamorous–whether it is high fashion or a commercial/print shoot. For those that have never been on the set of a photoshoot before, there may be some things that surprise you, namely how long and boring the down time in between shooting can be.

If you think that a modeling shoot means arriving, getting hair and makeup done, getting dressed, posing for the camera and then going home…that’s only the bare bones. Most don’t account for the time it takes for the crew to get the location setup, the time needed to change looks and other factors. For many shoots the actual time spent in front of the camera is less than the time you spend standing around waiting for everything to be ready.

For those that have zero patience and/or expect things to happen right away so that you can be somewhere else, this aspect of being a model will greatly disappoint you. Even for shoots that are typically shorter in nature, you can still expect to have some down time where you aren’t able to do anything. Even if you arrive early and are ready with your hair, makeup and outfit, if the photographer isn’t ready or if the location or set isn’t just right, guess what? You’ll have to wait.

Signs of experienced models on set include those that are tucked away in corners reading a book, surfing the Web on their phones or even doing homework. While such activities are typically not recommended for attending go-sees and castings, photoshoots are a different story. It is always a good idea to bring something that will occupy your time while waiting for the action to start.

I often have friends express interest in tagging along to one of my shoots and I have to explain to them that my reason for not allowing it isn’t personal…I’m truly saving them from dying of boredom! Sure, in the beginning it is cool and enticing to witness but after a while, especially in between shooting, the experience is anything but fun. I once had my cousin fall asleep in the corner of the studio during the entire shoot!

It is important to realize that photoshoots are not just for the purpose of having fun in front of the camera. It is a business process for all those involved. It takes time to get a studio setup just right. It takes time to make sure all of the equipment is functioning properly and accounted for. It takes time to test the lights and make sure that it is producing just the right look that the client wants.

It takes time to get a model ready for hair, makeup and wardrobe–especially if the next look is completely different. For shoots on-location it takes even more time and waiting around to get the ideal conditions, lighting, weather and element needed for the shoot to go off without a hitch.

So what is a model that is eager to get to work supposed to do in this situation? Find something to occupy yourself with while keeping an eye on what’s going on. If there are other models on set, that’s a plus because then at least you’ll have someone to talk to to pass the time. I love being able to make new friends with the models I’m working with or if I’m solo, I’ll get a good book or word search to keep me busy. Even during the times when I should be or am a little bored, I’m still excited because, hey, I’m still getting paid for it!

The biggest “don’t” in this situation is to complain. “Hurry up and wait” is a saying that is commonly used in both the acting and modeling field and the sooner you come to accept what that means, the easier your job will be (even if you’re bored in the process lol).

Your Summer Fruit Face Mask

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By Jessica Sepel – The Healthy Life
@jshealth

You don’t need to splurge on a fancy face mask – do a little DIY pampering! Most products contain natural extracts, so just go straight to the source. Chances are you already have all the ingredients you need in the fridge. I have these items on hand all the time anyway, so when I need a little beauty boost it’s so easy. This Avocado and Banana Face Mask is one of my favourites!

To get the glow factor, mix together:

– 1 avocado (great source of omega-3, vitamin E and antioxidants)
– 1 tablespoon Manuka honey (antimicrobial)
– juice of 1/2 lemon (rich source of vitamin C)
– 1 banana, mashed (full of betacarotene and potassium)

Apply to your skin and allow to absorb for 20 minutes before rinsing off.