I said to him with some shock in my voice, “You just got your first website?”
He looked accomplished, with big studio lights, a portfolio book full of tear sheets from magazines I would just die to be in, and he had a beautiful coffee maker and a cream leather sofa, and yet this photographer had only just gotten his first website ever. He wasn’t sure how to download a photo yet and he seemed decades delayed and I wondered what he said when people asked him “how do I get in touch with you?” Did he honestly say “call me.”?
I wondered where he had been? He looked like he made more money than me by his airy studio apartment and huge mirrors hung aside two huge city escape windows. How could he be so behind with the web and it hit me that maybe I was advanced? I had been hustling and even hungry at times but the Internet always made me feel hopeful. I relied on the web and having a website is a major part of my life. I blog every day and seriously without it I would be less of myself.
Before most people had a website of their own, I was using free Internet modeling websites and downloading my photos and setting a rate and starting a business out of my body, before I even had my first tear sheet or magazine exposure I was considering myself a model- through the web I was a freelance model, an Internet model, but the word model was there. My entrance into the modeling world wasn’t from being pawned at the mall or local beach by an agent or talent scout; - there is no beach in Syracuse, New York. I discovered modeling through a Google search of the word model and before the Myspace and Craigslist obsession I was using the web to launch my modeling career and enter a business not of only beautiful tall Giraffes but it was the short girls playground into the modeling world,- found on modeling forums, and websites where models, or basically any- girl -who- could -download -a -photo, could mingle with photographers or any -one- who- could-hold- a –digital-camera- and most of them weren’t shooting for Vogue, but the resume didn’t matte so much, because the Internet allowed for us all to escape and create ourselves and the Wanna-bees had a place.
How many of our mother’s knew of our dreams to be a model is probably a low number. I skipped class and focused on these modeling websites, I was obsessed, entrapped, and excited, making daily exchanges through email with so-called photographers and planning photo shoots that took place in between my college classes at amateur photographer’s living rooms, penthouses, basements, and roof tops. The stench in cigarettes, wine and stale bread and perfume filled the air. In my bag I had all of my typical aging modeling gear- thigh highs, 5 pairs of panties, 5 pairs of shoes, and a brush, hair pins, nail polish, but really it was just my bare skin they wanted to see. And I didn’t mind, so most of the time my modeling accessories stayed in my bag. Maybe the details of a makeup artist and an honest point of the shoot were absent but it felt real to me as I disrobed and pranced around as a photographer followed, maybe a middle aged single dad or a bored husband, a real estate broker, they all took my picture while bathing in their bathtub, or splattered in oil and butter on their kitchen tables. It was hot and afterwards we would look at the photos on his computer and I would leave with a CD of images which I would quickly, as- soon- as- possible-but never soon enough, rush to download on my own computer in my dorm room and then place the ones I liked best on my little modeling website page on an Internet Modeling website. On the street I was another girl, on the Internet I was a model.
Today, five years later, I have an agent but I still act as my own a lot, and although I am still nude often and use my body for work, but I work with brands and names like Conde Nast and TLC, MTV, and national retailers for ad campaigns. These days even though I am not sweating over being the most sought out Internet model for the afternoon, the Internet is still in my very active life. Most of my resume has come from jobs I have gained through my own research, by Googling and using Craigslist. I have learned how to contact the marketing departments at brands I want to work for, like shoe companies. A few random emails have worked. I have promoted myself for the past 5 years through the Internet and it proves that the Internet can launch your career no matter what trade or craft you are pursuing if you are dedicated to researching new venues for marketing yourself every day.
I have caught the media wave strong lately and I understand the importance of being active on the web and not just once in while but every day, to make a statement and to seek work and get ahead. I now have a Myspace page, I use Facebook.com, and I blog daily and discovered blogging when I noticed how news is becoming anything “you” want it to be from sites like Media Bistro and Gawker and Gothamist. On my personal Petite Modeling blog I give hints and tips about the modeling business and industry, I promote the Petite Model and give special attention to how the short models can succeed through my modeling pod cast called MODEL TALK. I update my website weekly with new images but I am not obsessed with being an Internet freelance model anymore. I want the tear sheet, the ad campaign, the real modeling rat race of having a strong portfolio. These days I enjoy giving back, giving advice, sharing my side of the modeling business through the web. I am still hustling, still struggling some days, but I have taken action towards my career and pursuits and not waited for the phone to ring. If I want to be in a magazine, I research the names of the photo editors on the Internet and mailed them my photos, and if I want to be on a TV Show, I now Google the show, I research the topics they consider, I find out who the casting director is, because even though I have an agent, I can never stop fending for myself. And blogging about my day, my pursuits, the highs and lows of being my own business, hopefully will encourage others to blog, and be more active within the opportunities that lie through Internet, and to take action over their own pursuits and to then share the wisdom they have learned along the way.