As a woman who has worn many hats, I am an advocate for women pursuing their visions and dreams. I believe that self-confidence and determination are the keys to success. Too many are held back by the fear of success or listening to negative advice from others.
My motto has always been “if you don’t play, you can’t win, and have turned a deaf ear to anyone who has tried to dissuade me from moving forward.
I proved this to myself time and again beginning with my first venture to become a model. I was a young woman pursuing an art education when I began reading about models having the opportunity to live and travel abroad. I’m over five foot nine and was often stopped on the street to inquire if I’d be interested in modeling for a photoshoot, so I decided to throw my hat into the ring.
Being an adventurous person, I announced to my family and friends that I was going to take a trip to New York to see the top agencies. My mother’s response was a sarcastic “sure, they are waiting in line for you” and friends urged me to “try a local agency here in Philadelphia because we don’t want to see you get hurt.” Needless to say, this made me more determined as I’m not one to turn down a challenge.
Within the week I was on a train to N.Y. with a handful of Polaroid’s taken by a friend.
Looking back, I was sporting the wrong fashion as well as hair and makeup. After submitting my poor excuse of a modeling portfolio and waiting an hour in line with the other hopefuls, my name was called and I was escorted into the office to meet the head bookers.
After reassessing my photos and inspecting me in the flesh they began a discussion as to whether they would sign me immediately or send me to a smaller agency for grooming as I would be requiring a lot of work. Ford was the top modeling agency in the world and although I was elated that I was accepted on any terms, I boldly stated that I had no intentions of waiting and that Wilhelmina their competitor had already accepted me. Voila, I was handed a contract on the spot! In fact, I had never walked through the doors of another agency and lord only knows how I conjured up the nerve!
Being artistic, I requested to do my own makeup for shoots and editorials and it was only a matter of time before I was hired as a makeup artist. I knew that I was going to make the transition to the other side of the camera; however, there were roadblocks! “The model who thinks she can do makeup,” was the buzz without giving me the benefit of the doubt and turning a blind eye to my talent. I had to work extra hard to prove them wrong.
Back in the ’90s, I was given the opportunity to write a beauty book. Once again I was faced with a challenge. My literary agent later confessed that he was surprised by my dedication and never believed I would actually be able to complete the project; hence, I was labeled the dumb blonde and stereotyped. As your humble writer and the fact that you are reading my article is further proof that one should never listen to negative opinions or allow them to railroad your moving forward.
These are two of the many examples I have experienced and thought they might prove helpful to you, the readers.
Furthermore, most of us are no strangers to the many challenges we face when competing with the boys club in the workforce. Men are awarded more money for the same job we perform and we have to work harder to prove our credibility. We will prevail!
Ladies, my message to you is “go out and fight for what you want in this lifetime,” believe in yourselves, and remember “you deserve to have it!”