I moved to Los Angeles with hopes of capitalizing on my reign as Miss USA through the entertainment industry, modeling being one of them. Though I was Miss USA, I had no idea if I would even be bookable as a model.
The modeling industry is extremely competitive and I didn’t feel confident like I did competing at Miss USA. I forgot how to be in a strong mental space in environments of comparison and competition.
I also knew it was key to be agreeable and easy to work with in order to stay in the agent’s good graces, so I never complained and said yes to almost every casting.
Five years ago I wasn’t walking closely with God. Being distant in my faith didn’t seem like a big deal then; things in my life were going well, I was working, had a great group of friends and a great boyfriend and I was still “a good girl.”
I wasn’t rooted in my royal identity as God’s daughter, and my standards began to match the world’s standards of what is considered acceptable and normal. While I never struggled with peer pressure, I’ve always wanted approval from authority figures.
Modeling swimwear and lingerie are normal and expected as a model, but one day I was booked on a lingerie job I wasn’t comfortable with. I felt hesitancy and unease, but I didn’t want to displease my agent by turning it down. I didn’t want to be difficult or a “diva,” and the rate was good.
I decided to make sure that all my woman areas would be covered. I thought at least it wasn’t entirely compromising. So I did the job.
From the moment I got on set, I looked at the wardrobe rack and felt a pit in my stomach. I remember talking with the other model and we both felt uncomfortable, but still felt the pressure to do it. We rationalized because we were already there, we couldn’t turn around and be responsible for burning a client/agent relationship. When shooting, they were saying, “Gorgeous! Amazing! Wow!” Though they displayed irritation when I insisted on being appropriately covered, they obliged my requests. The set, makeup artists, stylists and photographer were all professional, so my anxiety slowly came down throughout the day. I thought to myself, “Okay just get through today and you will be fine. At least they are styling it tastefully.” My guards came down and I became more comfortable throughout the day to my detriment.
From one shoot in one day, I would have to live with the resulting photos forever; all because I wasn’t grounded enough in my identity to decline the job.
If you want to be a model, here some important takeaways I have learned over the last 5 years to make sure you have the wisdom you need:
1. Set your boundaries now:
Draw the line on what you will and will not do and be direct and honest with your agent up front. Let them know in your first meeting together and they will most likely not even send you those certain castings if they know you are not okay with them. However, if they do, just kindly remind them that you don’t do x, y or z. I have finally overcome my fear of getting dropped for having boundaries and have communicated them clearly with my agency. They have been extremely accommodating and respectful. However, if your agent does give you grief for your standards, it’s safe to say that you should find a new one that will. I promise there are plenty of fabulous ones to choose from.
2. You won’t be out of work if you have boundaries:
I know it seems like it limits the amount of jobs you can do and money you can make when you have limits, but I promise it’s worth it to honor yourself before making a one-time paycheck. Also, there are a limitless amount of jobs you can do which don’t require you to compromise.
3. Being easy to work with doesn’t mean you have to be a pleaser:
Being a people-pleaser can get you in trouble, people will do whatever you allow, so you have to be your own champion. Voicing your needs and boundaries does not make you difficult or inconvenient or unlikable. If you think about all the people in your life that you like and respect the most, it’s probably people who are kind yet are strong in their convictions. It’s always best to be fully aware what the job entails and see the contract before you get on set so you and the client are both clear on what the expectations are.
4. Honor your intuition:
I have experienced first hand what models or actors have said about shoots when they got on set and got lost in the moment. You are changing clothes fast, getting in different looks and caught up in the high of everyone telling you how gorgeous you are. Then you see the photos and you’re like “I did that?” I don’t want any of you to experience the regret and embarrassment that I did. So honor your gut instincts from the beginning and remember your boundaries are there to protect you. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise, no matter how much you want to impress them or make them happy.
5. Know Who You Are:
Become grounded and rooted in your royal identity as His princess. Ask yourself what type of photos you would be proud to show your young daughters one day. Define your personal brand now. Who are you? What do you want people to think when they think of you? If you want to inspire other young women and girls, then you will want to conduct yourself above reproach. Remember that someone is always watching you and you never know how you are impacting someone’s life.The question I like to ask to check myself now is this: “What would my 9 year old self think if she saw me now? Am I taking care of that little girl’s heart, dignity and dreams? Is she inspired to be me when she grows up?”
Remember, if the people you are working with don’t like you because you won’t do something that makes you uncomfortable, then great! That means you know you aren’t supposed to work with them.
Now that I am walking in my renewed self with God, I wish I could erase every distasteful photo I ever took from the world. But I can’t. It’s a part of my story, a part of my journey and apart of my former self. I wasn’t entirely whole and confident five years ago, but I have grown since then. I wouldn’t be living as a stronger, more gracious woman if it weren’t for me being able to look in the mirror and see myself the way that God sees me in my reflection. Of course I still have my moments of self-doubt, but I finally learned that God honors those who honors Him and when I put my life, decisions, choices and trust in Him, I will be taken care of no matter what.
I created SheisMore.com with the purpose of inspiring women to be who they were created to be in heaven, before all the layers from our broken world were tacked on. We can only do that when we realize that we don’t have to let our past define us by living out of shame. As Christians, although our goal is to be like Jesus, the point is that we have admitted we aren’t perfected and desire to receive the beautiful redemption and renewal in God.
If my past has ever caused any of you to stumble, I am deeply sorry.
I wrote the devotional called Rise Up, Princess out of a need I had when I was younger. Please let me invite you on the 60 day journey to reveal your royal identity. You can watch the Rise Up Princess video here too.
If this message blessed you, be a blessing by sharing with others.