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Early Beginnings in Fashion: Ford Models, NYC and Pre – Rejection

I figured it was about time to start writing about what happened next in my modeling adventure. If you guys read the first post of Early Beginnings, I explained how I was scouted and how I started modeling with Ford Models in LA. The reason that I was reminded to continue to write my story is because I wanted to write about what happened to me a few weeks ago. Two weeks ago, I was booked for a job in New York. I told my agent Meg, “hey while I’m out there, I want to see agencies! I think it’s time to have a New York agent.” Although having a NY agent is something that I want & feel that I am ready for, I had a breakdown after getting off of the phone. My lungs were struggling to pump air, my throat tightened, my thoughts were swirling  – “holy crap, I’m going to see agencies in NY. Again.” I started crying, out of complete fear. I felt like a little mouse and all I wanted was to curl up in a ball. WHY? WHY was this my reaction? I even surprised myself, because I thought that this was something that I wanted! It was. However, for myself and for you, or for anyone to understand, we have to talk about the past. So here it goes.

I was signed with Ford Models, one of the biggest modeling agencies in the World. This is where the journey all started.

Ford Models

When I was first signed to Ford in Los Angeles, I was still in high school. My mom would take me to a few castings after school, maybe once a week. It was very seldom that I would be taken out of class, however. Looking back, I realize how lucky I am to have had a mom that, despite having 3 other children, tried her very best to take me to every single casting that she could. She is wonder-woman, and what a blessing it is to have a mother that has always supported her daughter’s dreams, though often unconventional.

Fashion Studying

During this time in my life, fashion was all that I thought about. I wasn’t popular, but I wasn’t a “nerd” either. I was this girl that befriended people from all over and spent her lunches in the IRC (library) studying The Fashion Spot (a blogging forum) and learning about all of the models and photographers. At that time, I knew every single model out there- her height, agency, shoots she’s done, runways she’s walked. I was a model dictionary and I’d even play the “can you guess her name” game with myself in magazines. I’d flip open each page, quickly scribbling down who the model was and what her agency was. It was the funnest thing ever, and I never cared about anything else. This was my life : School, fashion, sleep. ( Luckily for me, I had found friends in the industry, like my basically-brother now-makeup-artist Jeffrey. We’ve been friends since I was 14. He was a photographer at the time. We’d spend days on end together, studying fashion, muses, Vreeland, Rampling, you name it. Painting each other purple and silver, shooting everywhere and anything. We discovered our talents together, and I will be forever grateful for him and this period of time in my life.)

I was also a firecracker.  Even at fifteen, I absolutely knew the type of model that I wanted to be. I wanted to be a muse, revered for the art that I created and the connections that I made with photographers and artists. I wanted to be known as a model that was special, more than a model. Like Guinevere Van Seenus, Crystal Renn, Veruschka, Laetitia Casta. So, I studied those models. I changed by book (portfolio- at the time there were no Ipads, models carried around heavy books) to look more interesting – I made collages of Polaroids in the front and back. Everyone loved them, including my agency. They let me keep the collages. Looking back, I loved the Polaroid aesthetic because I loved what Paul Rowland (a model agent + creative visionary)  had done over at Supreme (modeling agency). All of the models were unique – they had something special. I knew that Paul Rowland was the guy for me. I knew that he was an agent that would appreciate my look, and who I wanted to be as a model. So, I went for it. Despite my agents telling me to “wait, hold off”, I sent in pictures to New York agents. DNA called right away. I soon after was planning a trip to New York, with the help of my mom whom supported me like no other, while my agents set up meetings for me with other agencies as well. As I ponder about these things, I am once again in awe of the trust that my mother had in me. I was maybe 16 and I knew what I had to do. I said “mom, I have to go to New York.” She said “Okay, let’s go. Let’s look at flights right now”. My mom says that she knew of how certain I was. It was undeniable.

NYC Tickets

We arrived in New York. Because Ford Models LA was my mother agency (the first agency to represent me), Ford New York had first dibs on seeing me (that’s just the rules of the agency world!). I remember walking in confidently. Paul Rowland wasn’t there, but this woman named Agnes was. She sat with me, chatted a bit, saw my book, and brought me in for Polaroids. As she was taking polaroids, I remember her saying “oh wow. You are going to work a lot. It doesn’t matter if you are short, there are many girls that are short. It’s about face and proportion. You will do runway, you can do anything.” She then rushed over and called in Mohammed, Paul Rowland’s right hand man. Mohammed was just as excited, and said “you’ve got drive. You’ve got what it takes.” Their faces lit up and Agnes immediately called my mother agent, Meg. They said “Is she scheduled to meet anyone else today? We want her. She doesn’t need to see anyone else. We want to sign her”. I heard my dear Meg scream into the phone with joy.

Mohammed & Agnes

That was that. I was signed with Paul Rowland’s team, the agency that I’d always wanted to be signed to. The agency that I knew I would be signed to. We shook hands, or something like that, and my mom and I were soon on our way home (after a test shoot with Jonathan Waiter – who sadly passed this year but remains one of the most special souls in my heart. Love you Jonathan). The plan was to finish school early, and prep to hit the runways.

Pt. 3 Coming Soon…