“It sounds simple to tell people to work hard and never quit, but to really execute those principles takes discipline and faith. Those are the two factors that I believe separates the good from the great; the success from the failures”. -Nipsey Hussle
A couple of weeks ago I sat on the stairs leading up to my room and I couldn’t move. I was physically and mentally exhausted. It seemed like I was totally not kicking ass at anything. Daunted, I began to think about all the choices I had made both good and bad that brought me to where I was.
Once upon a time, which seems like forever ago, I was a signed model. Shortly after I made it to New Hampshire, I started looking up modelling agencies in Boston. I found a few good ones and emailed my portfolio to them. After receiving positive feedback, I traveled to Boston and got signed the same day. In a span of one week, everything I ever wanted since I was seven years old seemed to be right in front of me. I told myself it was too good to be true. It couldn’t be that easy.
Maybe it was my cynicism that was my undoing, or it was just not my time. I never got to experience the outcome of a dream I worked so hard to accomplish. As soon as it appeared, it disappeared, and I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth for weeks to come. When the agency and I parted ways, the experience left me doubting my worth. I couldn’t call myself a model for so long because I just didn’t have it in me anymore. I wasn’t angry at anyone, I was just completely disappointed. I did what most people do when faced with such a setback, I ran away; mentally, emotionally and physically. Although I knew I gave up too easily, I felt safe and protected in my little box of self loathing.
I felt the need to try again in September because my younger brother reminded me to look into other modeling agencies. I reluctantly took some portfolio shots and applied to some agencies in New York, Boston and California. When I mean to some, I mean give or take 10 -12 different agencies.
So far, I’ve been putting in the work. I don’t have a lot of social media following but my engagement seems to be doing alright, my pictures are professionally done for the most part and I deliver good content. I was hoping at least one out of the numerous agencies I applied to would give me a shot to prove myself. Yet, nothing happened. A few days later, I was conversing with my younger brother and I asked him a question. Sometimes you get to a point where you don’t see yourself as a success and you are eager to know if everyone agrees with you.
“Is something wrong with me?” I asked him, “maybe I’m not cut out to be a model after all. I feel like a fraud when I label myself a model because I have nothing to show for it. Having it and watching it slip away feels like I shouldn’t have tried at all”.
“There’s nothing wrong with you sis. God makes everything beautiful in his time. Your hard work won’t go unnoticed forever. Your time is coming, trust me.” He said to me. I smiled and told him he sounded just like our parents. My Mom always tells me that whenever she sees a billboard, she imagines my face up there. Whenever I send a picture to my Dad, he’ll pray over it and say, “keep doing it until someone takes notice”. Needless to say, I have a supportive family. I’m not quite sure what I’ll do or where I’ll be without their affirmation of love.
While pursuing this modeling dream, I am also in graduate school. I love my program and I am actually looking forward to a career in it. It is not a safety net, it is part of who I am, just like modelling, whether I am confident about it or not. People always say it’ll happen someday. Someday seems like worlds away but with every conscious step I take towards it, I am pulling someday closer to today.
So, I guess my advice to you is to stay the course. Do not bother or rush the process. You have to keep doing it until someone takes notice. Don’t quit, don’t give up and always keep trying. Like my brother said, your hard work will not go unnoticed forever. In reality, forever can be what you want it to be, it is not a destination, it is a state of mind. More than anything, you have to always keep the ‘why’ in front of you. Why this dream? Why this goal? Why is it so important to me? The answers will keep you going when everything else seems to be melting around you. I can’t tell you to keep pushing if I’m not doing the same thing. I am pushing, hoping someday, God will pull.