Thursday, February 23, 2017

Damsel in Distress

Cabin fever is a real thing.

After enduring one of the worst winters New York has ever had, it was time to go back home for the holidays. And hopefully warmer weather.

In February I received a call. It was my agency in New York with my next modeling assignment. I was going to be living in Mexico City for the next three months. Oh no. I need to brush up on my Spanish. Or maybe I'll just say "no hablo espaƱol."

The nerves were real.

I wasn't getting much reassurance from my family. Most of them were telling me to be careful and how worried they were about me going to Mexico City.

The first two weeks were rough. I didn't leave my apartment unless someone from my new agency came to get me. The wifi didn't work. This meant no contact with anyone back home. The shows on t.v. were all in Spanish. The one time I did leave the apartment by myself, a car full of men whistled and yelled things at me that I couldn't understand.

I stuck out like a sore thumb. I don't know what gave me away more, the pale white skin or the blonde hair.

However, my hand motioning and facial expression skills did improve.

This made my first photo shoot interesting to say the least. The photographer would push and pull me around, putting me in different spots, making motions of what poses he wanted me to do.

Then I met a guy.

He was tall, dark, and a little hairy.

His name was King Kong and he was my hero. I was just a damsel in distress living in Mexico City.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's the epitome of all Christmases.

Christmas in New York City.

 Here are a few things you must do:
  • Rockefeller Center - The biggest Christmas tree I've ever seen. Last year it was almost 95 feet tall! There is also an ice skating rink - fun for all ages.
  • The Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall - The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular is a show full of elite dancers and Christmas spirit. A classic and a must-see.
  • Serendipity 3 - Someone walked in here and threw up Christmas all over the walls, in a good way of course. They have mouth watering sundaes as big as your head (see image below). And frozen hot chocolate. You'll definitely need two spoons.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Thanksgiving in New York

Thanksgivings were spent at my Grandma Alice's cozy, little, red brick house in Oklahoma. She lived in a small town where we would go to Walmart or Sonic "for fun". The town was probably booming back in the old days and still has that old-timey, antique-looking feel to it.

The whole family (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) would snuggle up into her house on Thanksgiving. Every year we would wake up and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Everyone would bring different food dishes and we would eat for days. Literally. For days.

But this time was different.

There would be no going to Grandma Alice's house for Thanksgiving. I wasn't able to come home from New York so my parents decided to come to me. However, one tradition still remained.

On Thanksgiving morning we woke up and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. But this time we didn't watch it on T.V. At 5 am it was time to rise and shine. My mom, dad, roommate and I began the trek to Midtown in Manhattan.

It was definitely below freezing that morning. I'm talking can't feel your face, can't feel your toes, kind of cold.

Oh and the heater just happened to stop working in our apartment. Just tell yourself it's not cold and you'll be warm right? Wrong.

For me the cold is painful. Literally painful because I have a circulation disorder called Raynaud's. Basically when I'm cold (or nervous) I lose circulation to my fingers and toes and they turn unnaturally white, blue, or purple.

But if you're in New York and have the opportunity to go watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade you must. You have to go at least once to say you've been.

The balloons and floats are massive in real life. It probably takes at least a hundred people to "walk" the balloons through the parade. Imagine how much of a struggle that would be on a windy day!

So we found a spot on the sidewalk in front of a little doughnut and coffee shop.

*tip* If it's below freezing outside find a place to watch in front of a coffee shop or restaurant where you can go inside and warm up if you need to.

Also bring lawn chairs so you don't have to stand the whole time. I wish we would have known this before. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Model Apocalypse

New York Fashion Week. Some love it. Some hate it. Some don't even know what it is. However, only a few know what actually goes on behind the scenes. Because all you see are the glamorous runways, crazy fashion statements and stone-faced models.

How to spot a model in New York City:

Skinny. "No make-up". Dressed in all black and towering over everyone.

In the weeks leading up to fashion week you will see hundreds of these women all over the city. Jumping into taxis. Running to catch the metro. Some of them will be wearing heels. Some of them will be smart enough not to.

There are two fashion weeks in New York a year, one in February and one in September.

My first fashion week was in September of 2013. I moved to New York at the beginning of August because this is when all the castings begin.

If you've never been to New York in the summer, lemme tell ya it is scorching hot. I'm talking about sweat dripping down your back hot. And trees are scarce. Which means no shade. Just metal skyscrapers. Probably just increasing the heat from the sun like a frying pan.

Castings or "cattle calls" are visual interviews where the casting director can see what each model really looks like. And for these castings models are asked to dress as simple as possible, most of the time in a black outfit that shows off your legs, body, etc. Models are also expected to wear high heels to show how they strut their stuff on a runway.

This was always the most nerve-racking part for me. I was terrified that the casting director(s) wouldn't like me, wouldn't think I was skinny enough or pretty enough, wouldn't like my walk.

You definitely get caught up in the madness of it all. Seeing hundreds of other models at each casting call, everyone wanting the job. It's hard not to fall into the trap of criticizing or comparing yourself to others.

There's always going to be someone prettier than you. Skinnier than you. Taller than you. The only thing you can prevent from happening is someone working harder than you.

Have you ever wanted something so bad? With everything in you? It's difficult to explain the feeling if you've never felt this way. You just become overwhelmed with emotion. But whenever you don't get this thing, whatever you were wanting, it crushes you. And then you want to know why. Why didn't I get it? Am I not good enough?

This is how I felt when I didn't book every single casting that I went to with hundreds of other models. I wanted to be the best. I wanted to be working. I wanted those jobs.

I was hurt. My heart hurt.

But I don't believe your value is measured by how many jobs you do, it is measured by how well you do them. So I picked myself up and kept trying. And I'm so glad I did because I booked several shows that fashion week season.