I was born and raised in Canada, lived overseas since the age of 17, living in Paris, New York and Rio de Janeiro, and wound up back in Canada in my hometown of Calgary. My adventures living overseas being a model would fill a book, but does the world really need another tell all book from the trenches of the modeling world?
I miss the life I had as a model and I would be a liar if I were to say I didn't. Granted, there are some elements of the biz that I could do without, but in general, I enjoyed it immensely. The traveling, the financial side, working and learning with some of the best and creative minds in photography, fashion marketing and advertising was more valuable than going to any university. Do I regret not attending university? Sometimes....
I am using my experience as a model to inform and mentor young girls that have the 'it' factor to be the next supermodel. I have an eye for beauty that comes from working in the trenches of the fashion world. When I offered my services to the local agencies here in Calgary, I was basically laughed at. "We already have scouts and mentors for our girls, what can you offer that we don't already have?.", they said. Really? Who? Does your mentor know what its like to be a 17 year old girl thrown into the lion's den of modeling in Paris? Does your mentor actually prepare young prospects to the real reality (not the America's Next Top Model reality) of the fashion business? Can your mentor truly say they have been there done that? Do you really care about your prospects' health and wellness both physically, emotionally and psychologically now and throughout their career?.......Didn't think so.
Conclusion? I have gone out on my own and am scouting and mentoring the next generation of models.
The difference between me and my competition is that I scout for the whole package. I look for girls (and boys) that have that special something that Eileen Ford calls the 'X' factor. But I go one step further. I also scout for role models. Young people that have beauty, brains and a good heart.
As a model, your image in the magazines and online becomes who you are. Young girls and boys look up to you. What you do in your off time is also important. In this day and age, anyone can be photographed any where any time. My models are expected to be role models 24 hours a day. It doesn't mean they can't have fun and party, but they have to be conscious of their image and not be put in a compromising position. When I modeled, I made sure that when people took photos of me at a party, I didn't have a drink in my hand. And this was in the pre internet days!
I want my models to give back. Help those whose voices are not heard. Giving back by supporting those less fortunate, whether it be through donation or by volunteering or through awareness campaigns. Keeping it real.