I remember the moment this photo was taken, the click of the camera. I dropped my head down and finger-combed my hair forward, then flung myself up for the I-don’t-know-how-many-th time, then BAM. Not to sound like a narcissistic nightmare who makes you wanna choke on your own vomit, but it was a hard shot to pull off all things considered: chin had to stay down, shoulders up, find the lens and make eye contact in a millisecond, hand ever so slightly tugging my shirt, then hope my hair was still up and not whooshed back out of sight.
Sometimes things just come together – a perfect fucking moment. But it takes a bunch of awkward attempts. Tons. And mad peeps judge me hard, #whichisfine. At the end of the day, those people who choose to judge and not put themselves out there aren’t hurting me, they’re hurting themselves. Because I don’t give a rat’s ass if you think I’m full of myself, I AM. I’m the most confident I’ve ever been and it feels amazing. I’ve been clawing and fighting for the last 6 years to have a modeling career in New York City and I’m fucking doing it. I’m not a top model; I’m nowhere near the top, and if you averaged the hours I spent going to castings I don’t get, then divided my yearly earnings as a model over all the “man hours” I put in, I probably make less than a minimum wage employee behind the counter at McDonalds each year. But I don’t demand my art produce a full-time living, nor do I expect that anymore – I just do it because it’s my passion, it’s my fight, it makes me feel exquisite and alive, it inspires others and it’s FUN.
And it didn’t happen to me, I CREATED IT. I believed in myself when 95% of people/clients/agencies said no; I withstood the bullshit survival jobs, I monitored my diet, maintained a healthy lifestyle, dropped loot on a dermatologist, religiously used my skin care products day and night, and continue to this day to hustle in real estate in order to keep my schedule open for the EXTREMELY UNLIKELY CHANCE that I book a job. This isn’t easy folks, but it’s my adult choice. It makes me feel alive to be creating art, to feel like a human piece of art – it’s fucking erotic, suffocating, exhilarating, terrifying, freeing, restrictive, crazy, unreasonable, cathartic, blissful and bad ass all at once, and so much more.
I’m almost 30, and a lot of people think a career dies then, but that’s such a lie the media wants you to believe. There are 50+ year-old male models making $250K/year modeling, they’re just focusing on areas of the industry you might not know about like fit modeling. People laugh at me (and I laugh at myself) for doing hand modeling, but guess what? It pays the bills sometimes, so if the client wants me to fuck around with the newest tech gadget, or a bottle of liquor for 5 hours, then feed me and two weeks later I get a check that pays 75% of my rent, I’ll take it, and I’ll laugh all the way to the bank.
I’ll never give up on being an artist. And yes, I do consider modeling an art form. No matter how many “no’s” I hear, I’ll continue to say “yes” to myself and my dream. Unless it doesn’t exhilarate me and make me happy, at which time I’ll absolutely move to Maine/Costa Rica/wherever east-bum-fuck location I can live away from noise and write, live off the land and heal.
My message to anyone struggling to find time to live their dream is this: believe in yourself when no one else does. Imagine yourself as the person you want to become and emotionalize the fantasy to the point that you feel the feelings of having your dream life NOW. Fucking go for it, no matter what age you are, no matter what small way you have to do it, no matter what your bank account says. As Elizabeth Gilbert says, “SNEAK OFF AND HAVE AN AFFAIR WITH YOUR MOST CREATIVE SELF.” If you only have 15 minutes in a day to devote to your passion, go for it, write that sonnet, throw some paint around, build a webpage or a picture frame, sing a song, dance, move, create, BE. Because if you don’t make time for your dream life RIGHT NOW it’s not going to wait around. Instead you’ll see people achieving their dream life and hate on them. Don’t be a hater, be a creator. Thank you.