Always believe in the unbelievable, because what you dream of and what is meant for you will happen. You just have to trust and believe.
I wanted to write this blog post for those who have been asking me how I have gotten involved in several photoshoots these past couple of years. Anytime I make a post about it on my Instagram, I always have somebody ask me how it happened. The truth is, it just happens. I truly believe that these all manifested in my personal life as an effect of me tuning into my dreams, facing my fears, and becoming vulnerable.
The beginning of my modeling experiences actually started as a baby and child. I was signed with Wilhelmina Models, was a fit model for Tommy Hilfiger, and was in some prints and on a toy box. Cute, right? This was WAY before any of these new modeling experiences have occurred, and there was definitely a 15 yer gap of me not doing anything in this world.
I started up again out of coincidence in the beginning 2018. At this time, I had just finished chemotherapy, but was still relevant in my community at my school, Marist College. (I eventually ended up transferring to Fordham University to be closer to home, but that is beside this story.) I was still selling jewelry at a boutique on my campus, and was still in touch with some friends. There was a new initiative on campus that I was nominated for called For the Record.
I was selected as one of the top 50 inspiring students on campus. The team at Marist Circle wanted to interview and photograph me. The thought of a photoshoot made me cringe. I was FRESH out of chemotherapy and did not look myself AT ALL. My hair was about an inch long on my head, not even. I gave the team at Marist an old photo of me that I took a week before my surgery to use, but hesitated on actually getting headshots like all of the other students. I was not sure I wanted anyone to remember me like this. I knew that this photo was going to be on the internet forever and I was scared to have to explain to people why my hair was short. I prayed on it and committed to visiting campus for a short weekend to see friends and get my photos taken despite my insecurities.
This then led to an independent NYC photographer reaching out to me on Instagram to shoot with her. At this time, I was still super insecure about my appearance because my hair was now a poof ball and my scars were very bold. Despite the hesitation, I decided to do it for fun because why not?
I was then asked to be part of Luna Peak Foundation’s book Beyond Remission. I talk about the whole entire experience in Power to Persevere, but in brief it is a collection of photos and insight from cancer thrivers and survivors. Now, I know I always talk about this experience. I do not like to always revolve my conversations around and talk about my health, but it is relevant. This season of my life was truly a reset; it changed everything.
These three experiences combined must have created more traction. I had made a sneak peek post about this initiative on my instagram, which led to more. In the spring of 2019, I was then asked by someone on Sachin and Babi‘s team if I was interested in doing a photoshoot for their Mother’s Day campaign. (Peep my hair slowly starting to grow!)
After this, another independent photographer asked me to shoot with them that summer. I was even invited to shoot with Fadil Berisha after meeting him for a shoot I attended with my friend Lexie Duval. Then in the fall of 2019, another independent up-and-coming NYC photographer, Brian Edsall, asked me to shoot with him for his portfolio.
In the fall of 2019, Sophie Beren, someone I had met at a conference, had reached out and asked if I could be featured in their opening video launch for her new platform she was creating called The Conversationalist. It was going to be difficult for me to make it because I had travel plans to visit old friends at Marist for Alumni Weekend, but I knew that I could make some magic happen. I signed up for one of the lat shooting times. I was so camera shy. I was never filmed before. It was actually such a nerve racking experience. I think it reflected in the recording, but I was told that it went great. Another experience down in the books!
Fast forward to 2020, Larissa May from #HalfTheStory reached out to me, asking if I wanted to be part of their #DitigalResolution campaign. Why not? I met Larissa at Fordham University’s Accepted Student’s Day Orientation as she was a guest speaker, and after I reached out to her to feature her in my book. She became a friend, and of course I would help her out!
Then the pandemic hit and I had to move out of the city for a while. At this time, I was struggling to finish all of my class projects and final exams to graduate. I had the opportunity to sign with a top nationally and internationally recognized modeling agencies, but because of the circumstances with the world, I decided to not proceed. I felt in my heart that it was not the right move at that time, but that this was not the end. There was still something out there for me.
That summer I received an email from a producer named Josh Sondock. He heard my story and wanted to chat. He was casting for a commercial with Next Gen HQ for their new initiative, the Momentum Magazine. I went on an interview with him, talked about my past experiences, and a few weeks later I was asked to be one of the three entrepreneurs to be filmed. This was an ultimate life-changing experience. I had never been on a film set before, nor did I know how much went into filming for that one perfect shot. This process for my part took about seven hours for not even 50 seconds of clips.
Fast forward to October 20th, I received a DM on Instagram from an account called @careandwear about another opportunity. I looked into them more and immediately fell in love.
Everything was confirmed just the day before the shoot. The spontaneity around this was one that I never experienced before. I was able to move around some of my plans for that day to attend the shoot. I felt like the cards and cosmos were aligning because just three years prior, right before I had my cancer diagnosis, I helped backstage at Oscar de la Renta for fashion week at their HQ.
Around the same time, I was then invited to do another shoot with Brian at Egg Studios in Brooklyn, and a few other companies have reached out to me to shoot for their products for Instagram posts. Ultimately, one project led to another, and because I kept saying “YES” and putting myself out there, I was able to learn for my experience and build a little portfolio. Now for my advice…
If I could give advice to anyone out there these are my top 5 tips:
- Listen to your heart’s desire, find an outlet to express yourself on, and put yourself out there.
- Become a leader in your space by building a community.
- Say YES even though it might be scary.
- Post about it to show credibility.
- Trust the process.
A sudden dream occurred out of the blue on God’s timing. As I continued to pray on my path and question if everything that I had worked hard to achieve with Power to Persevere and all of my cancer-related work for the community and the wellness space. I am not sure what God/ the universe has in store for me next, but I am excited to see!
Remember, the right people will come into your life according to divine timing’s planning; you will meet one person who will change the course of your life. Be friendly and act from the heart.
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