Hello, New York!

My heart is softly racing as I type this. For almost a month now, I’ve been waiting to release my feelings and words into the world, along with this exciting announcement: I am now represented in New York by Muse Models! And it feels as serendipitous as ever. It is as if all of these years of working and growing into the woman that I am, has prepared me for this very moment. It doesn’t feel out of the blue or surprising as much as it feels like a wonderful blossoming of life — a beautiful milestone, chapter and blooming of sorts.

I first met with Conor, the founder of Muse Model Management, about a month and a half ago. He was kind, put-together, grounded and… genuinely, himself. He had no walls up or intentions to impress, but was simply there to listen and meet with me. I was sold the second I’d met him, for his gentle and kind demeanor, but was also impressed with the home that he’d created for models, one that is open to diversity. The team at Muse is incredibly kind and sweet (we met on Skype), and I am excited and overjoyed to be working alongside kind, talented people. As I often talk about in my Instagram posts, working with hardworking, kind individuals is what I love most about my job. It is why I love what I do, and it is also why I feel so fortunate and…happy!

Of course, I couldn’t have arrived at this beautiful place in my life without a few (dozen!) special people. First, my husband, Scott, for loving me unconditionally, being my sunshine, supporting, grounding me, and giving me room to grow as an individual. My parents, for raising me to believe that my dreams are attainable and entirely realistic. Paired with their stubborn and determined will to achieve, all of these attributes have served me well. My mother-in-law, grandparents, family and friends for bringing joy and wisdom into my life. Dôen and the team behind the lifestyle brand you all love and adore. From day one, they’ve celebrated me as I am; helping me feel for the first time in my career—whole, accepted and honored (!) as myself. And last, but not least, my agency, Vision Los Angeles. They are an excellent example of what agencies should strive to be in this industry— a professional home and healthy environment for models, with a team that respects, cares for and treats their models with kindness and love. They’ve been with me, especially my agent Meg Day, through thick and thin (literally) — and, most of all, they (and she!) have always given me the room to grow. Thank you. I love you all so much; I could cry!

And now, let me explain to you why signing in NY with Muse is such a big deal to me:

Years of Rejection & Perseverance 

Signing in NY has taken time and a whole lot of rejection. Let’s just say that NY isn’t exactly my first rodeo. I was briefly signed there when I was 15, although never made it out there because that agency closed shop and changed management. I was told I was “too young,” “too short,” and “should look at other agencies.” I would later fly out three separate times within my career, totaling around 35 agency meetings, all to be met with the same rejection. I won’t lie when I say that each “no” was very hard to take, especially considering those were some of my first moments of mass-rejection career-wise. It has taken a lot of time, rejection, growth and self-love to get to this point.

Trusting Your Heart and Vision

My visions were so clear to me. Why should I continue flying out to meet NY agents, if I experience consistent rejection? I knew in my heart that I would be able to work, deliver and achieve all I had envisioned. I may not have known at the time that I’d have years to go, and I may not have known the long, winding journey that I’d have (or get to have—because it has been beautiful, even if painful at times) to go through, but I knew and could see so clearly all that I could do. I had a vision. It was clear as day. And I clung to that vision.

Telepathy Doesn’t Exist…So Hold Onto Your Dreams and Show Others What They Are…

Even when they’re met with laughter and harsh words. I remember years ago, a NY agent told me I was young, still had so much life to go, and I shouldn’t bother being in this industry at all. I remember another agent laughing when I told him I wanted to be an ambassador, a positive spokesperson, and shoot for the likes of Vogue Italia. He told me “Yeah, everyone wants to do that.” Of course! But the difference was that I knew I could do it. (I didn’t understand why I felt that way, but I did. Sometimes I wished I could go the standard route and save myself the pain of rejection. But I had to continue! There was no other way.) A few years down the line, I would shoot for Vogue Italia. Three times. Trust your vision and know that others cannot see what you see. And as painful and frustrating as it can be, you must pave your own way. Listen to your heart, as it tends to know a whole lot. One day, you’ll be able to look back and be grateful you never listened to those who couldn’t see what you could. And to be fair, although we are in 2018, telepathy doesn’t exist. It isn’t exactly fair to expect others to be able to read your heart or your future. So, you’ve got to show them. Show them!

Good Things Take Time

To be signed in NY at this point in my life, holds a lot of significance. Today, I have a much better sense of who I am. I know what I like, what I don’t want, what I stand for, whom I’ll stand for, what I’m proud of and whom I wish to be. I still have a whole lot of learning to do, and I still have many dreams to accomplish, but feeling as grounded as I feel today and having lived the journey that I’ve lived…feels like a blooming of sorts. A point of fruition. Although a younger me would’ve loved to be signed in NY much sooner, I know there could be no better time for me to be signed there, than now. I am so proud and in love with the journey I have had thus far — one that has been full of growth, life lessons, patience, hardships, tears, hope, laughter and love. Sometimes, and most times, good things take time.

Know Your Worth and Surround Yourself With Others that Know it Too

Signing in NY as I am (with no weight talks or pressures) is a metaphor (and feels like a dream come true!) for me, and maybe for you, too, to stay true to yourself and know your self-worth. When you learn to value (and love!) yourself and your work, others value and respect you for it too. Not the reverse. This is a huge lesson I had to learn (and am still working on every day). In an industry where so much of our work, earnings, and future depend on the opinions and choices of other people, it’s easy to put our self-worth in those people’s hands. But this is ultimately unhealthy, unfair to others, and unjust to yourself. You are more than your work or other people’s opinions. You are a living human being, with potential, a life to live, many interests, thoughts, feelings, dreams, quirks and stories to tell. You are beautiful and unique as you are. For me to learn this lesson, I had to completely stop modeling for a year or so and start from ground 0. I began nannying, lost my diet regimen (not purposefully) and had to look inwardly for joy and self-love. Over time, as I learned to appreciate and love myself as I am, I made decisions that reflected that self-love. My life began to unfold in beautiful ways. I surrounded myself with kind, beautiful people. I didn’t bend over backward to please people that didn’t value me or care about my wellbeing. Most importantly, I appreciated myself and knew my worth — no negative comment or rejection could change what I knew about myself. Obviously, rejection still doesn’t feel good! But it doesn’t change how I view myself, and that is key. As for NY and self-love; I knew I would prefer not to be signed there at all, rather than be signed with the expectation to change. I knew if I were signed in NY, it would be because there was a team out there that valued and knew my worth, as I do. They say we attract what we put out into the world; well, if that’s the case, then we must lead by example, even when it comes to ourselves. We must give ourselves genuine love, patience, good vibes, trust, harmony, a sense of worth and respect. With all these things said, I’d also like to give credit to the fashion industry, which has become dramatically more diverse. Primarily due to a changing world and a consumer that desires to see representation, real-life people and stories— both in their magazines and on their Instagram feeds. YOU, the consumer, have given a whole lot more LIFE to this industry. You, followed by brands and agencies with strong leadership and wisdom, have made it possible for me to do what I do. I want to thank you with my whole heart. And now, back to being you, I leave you with this Dr. Suess quote:

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

Keep being you and know your worth as you are, as you were, and as you will be.

Last, but not least, to be signed with an agency that celebrates diversity both in its name and roster of girls (Muse!) feels nothing short of comforting and exciting. I have always wanted to be, and to be seen as, a muse in my work as a model. I love to collaborate and build strong creative relationships with the teams and photographers I work with. To help create beauty, bring visions to life and push past the usual flow, into one of inspiration and surprise. Finding this sweet spot is also one of my greatest joys. To be signed to an agency that reflects that element of modeling is…wonderful. A serendipitous fun-fact: my middle and high school locker code began with the word Muse, along with nearly all of my passwords. Muse was always the place to be! Along with my agency, Vision. I’ve always had a vision!

If you’re reading this, thank you SO MUCH for being a part of my journey and for following along. I am SO grateful for this journey, and no matter which way the tide turns, I am so joyous and thankful for the memories and experiences that I’ve had thus far. Onwards!