Photo by Antonio Anobile
Right after I graduated college, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. All I wanted to do was move to New York City and become a model like I’d always dreamed of, but how? It felt like there was so much money, time, and work between my dreams and I.
Now, here I am, with all these experiences that tell me I’ve accomplished some semblance of my dream, and with an equal amount telling me I’ve fallen short and nothing has been good enough.
But if I could go back in time and show my then-self what my present reality looks like, he would be so relieved to know all the hard work was worth something. So, my challenge today is trusting that every tomorrow is leading me to this same experience. If my former self knew the successes he’d experience – would that relieve some anxiety? Can I adopt that same energy into my present-day life, knowing everything is going to work out?
The only problem is, the human mind quickly adapts to new things, and that whole “grass is green on the other side” saying is totally true. So, how can I hold my future dreams at the forefront of my mind, yet allow myself to be deeply connected with My Now today? Because as much hope as tomorrow can provide, it is still not guaranteed, so how can I make My Today the best it can possibly be?
I choose to allow myself to simply Be today. With all the work ahead and all the distance I still have from my new goals, it’s OK to Be. It’s OK to enjoy. It’s OK to take a break. Everything is going to work out, and if it doesn’t, then it doesn’t.
Acceptance is my elixir.
On the evening of March 28th, I was doing the usual: sitting around watching Netflix, drinking some tea, pretty much straight-up chillaxing. Then I received an email from a casting director:
I’ve received emails like these tons of times. There was another huge magazine cover job a few months before that was looking for a “Hippe Jesus type,” and I submitted and heard nothing, so I didn’t expect much…
Long story short, by 5pm the next day I confirmed the booking. As you can see, the rate for this job was definitely not going to make me rich. That’s the way editorial modeling is: pretty much any magazine cover you see or editorial you see run in a national magazine — unless it’s a celebrity — the model was paid $100-$400 dollars tops for the day. So, the main purpose of the job for my modeling career wasn’t about the money, it was about gaining more Career Capital, i.e. more marketable shots to add to my book, which will help me book more jobs down the line, hopefully for large brands with day rates 10X+ higher than this job.
It’s very rare to get a breakdown of the shotlist like this before a job, but I was grateful to have it. Basically, I was going to get one recognizable shot from this job, and the rest would be Parts’ tearsheets.
Arriving on set that day, I was excited to work with the photographer, who I’d shot one of my very first jobs with years ago. The makeup artist was amazing, and so was the client. I was the only model booked that day, so it was just me and the team.
The shots we were going for were… (keep in mind, this is a men’s grooming editorial for natural products, so the main goal is to sell products)…
(ps- had to shave my armpits for this one…)
(as you can see from the original shot list, this concept changed to have my hair up rather than down)
Face masks (hero shot):
I had these face masks on for about 45 minutes, so my face was a-tinglin’!
The Reality of the Situation
This job was between me and over 100 other guys, and according to the GQ Photo Producer on set, they narrowed it down to 20 guys, then selected me. Which isn’t to say “I’m so good, look at me,” since I’ve been “on hold” for hundreds of jobs that I didn’t book. I got lucky and the stars aligned.
I will make $110 for the 8 hours I was on set that day. That’s my net profit after my agent takes their percentage. And I’m writing this post 5 months later and still haven’t received the check, which is pretty normal for magazine work. I shot an 8-page editorial (a parts job, ie, just for shoes and watches) for British GQ and — I’m not kidding — was paid exactly one calendar year later to the date.
A lot of my friends thought I became rich from this job! That definitely is not the case! If I didn’t have my Survival Job as a Real Estate Agent, I would not be able to live my dream as a male model in New York City. Period.
Walking into Barnes & Noble a few months later, picking up the magazine, and seeing myself in it was a surreal experience. I was in shock for about 2 weeks.
I mean, we’re talking about a small town Vermont kid who had a monthly subscription to GQ Magazine when he was a child, who now holds the same magazine in his hand with himself in it. Talk about full circle.
Check out the final tear sheets from the magazine:
So, that’s that! A dream came true and now I can say I’ve been in GQ Magazine, woohoo! I booked this job at 30 year’s old, so anyone reading this with a dream that people tell you you’re too old to follow, tell them to shove it. I know 30 isn’t old, but I had a lot of people tell me I would never have a career after 25, so this experience was honestly magical.
Check out my video showing a glimpse of my experience on the day of the shoot, and when I went and picked up the magazine thereafter. Check out my Vlog about shooting GQ
Thank you, Universe, for this wonderful manifestation.
Stepping into this week giving the actual least amount of fucks possible. How freeing.
Listen, I gotta tell you something right now. If you’re trying to get someone to like you — someone who clearly doesn’t — just stop. Let that shit go. You’re better than that.
Imagine yourself as a child, how innocent you were, how you just wanted to be loved and seen. Would you want to put that lil guy through the trauma of trying to play with a bully who kept pushing him down? Nope.
I’ve got some news for you: hurt people hurt people. It’s not your job to find out why they’re potentially part of the walking wounded. Keep it moving, bro.
When 90% of your world responds to you with simple kindness and respect, why bother with the other 10% who wanna make you feel less than? Release them in whatever way is possible for your specific situation. And if you still have to interact them regularly, keep it cute, or put it on mute.
Their may be layers of self-hate and pain there. Or not. Again, not your job to discover the “why,” you just need to love yourself through the process of accepting the situation exactly as it is. Which may be very uncomfortable. But sometimes as adults, we have to accept uncomfortable situations, and just get through them.
If you’re used to people responding to you in a certain way, I know it can be hard when someone varies in a negative way. What part of your own ego can you let go of? How can you practice self respect? And when the urge to people-please rears it’s ugly head, please take a deep breath and be okay with an awkward silence or two.
It’s not your job to make mean people feel uncomfortable.
Life is up and down. Life is messy. Life isn’t linear. We’re not living in our parent’s age anymore, so let’s release our parents’ scripts.
What this world needs more of is self compassion. Yes, we’re all fighting to be seen, heard, and loved. Yes, many of us feel tired. Yes, the energy today is highly volatile and unlike any energy our human form has experienced.
How can we relax into this here and now without steamrolling ourselves? Can we treat ourselves with the gentleness, love, playfulness, and respect we would for an innocent child?
Yes, the critical inner voice will always be there – that’s not going away. But you gotta stop believing that shit. Watch the negative messages come by like a passing cloud. Feel them for only as long as you need to, to become aware that the script was switched — it’s all mixed up — cause those nasty messages aren’t for you, you beautiful ball of humanness. Release the harshness toward yourself. Release the judgement. Because no one’s ever gonna judge you as harshly as you judge yourself.
Hang in there, people. If you feel like you’re fighting, pushing, striving, and forcing, take a breather. Take a fucking bubble bath. Know that you’re doing enough. Know that you are enough. You are enough.