Flashback Friday

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One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t journal my life in NYC as a model. (There isn’t much else I regret) What an awesome blog would that have made!

I just don’t know why I didn’t, but the thought didn’t even cross my mind, even though I had a blog back then, that I put on hold while modeling.

Not only did I not write about it, but I failed to take any pictures that weren’t with my cell. I guess when your job is to be photographed, the last thing you want is more photography. So I would snap quick pics with my cell when I was bored and that was that. But how much fun would it have been to write a blog about the fabulous underbelly of modeling?

But instead I have hundreds of low quality iPhone shots from castings, shows, shoots and life  ( well plus a bunch of unrealistic shots from my portfolio that would say nothing about what being a model is like).

{Looking over these pictures, I looked hung over and sleepy in every single one of them haha}
Top left to bottom right:
1. waiting by the Cosmo building for a casting
2. I think that was Calvin Klein underwear casting ( they had a trillion girls show up)
3. Teen Vogue editorial casting
4. I think this was at Jcrew
5. During bridal fashion week, casting for a show
6. Pissed off and tired. I remembered being so sick of running around town. haha
7. A bathroom of a designer’s showroom. It was really cool.
8. In an elevator going for another bridal show casting.
9. At some magazine for a go-see.

I guess it would have been strange walking into castings with a professional camera or dragging this heavy bohemeth with me to shoots, dinners, award shows and clubs.

I still, to this day, have certain designers or casting directors call me (via assistants, of course) to be in a show or promoters texting about a club opening or some event they are inviting me to. I haven’t been in the business since 2009 and have let them know I’m no longer in NYC. But I guess connections are everything, aren’t they? I remember I always thought it was strange how some casting directors thought you were THE SHIT and others thought you were “Meh!” How opinions differ. And how much luck is involved in making it as a model or not. I would have really liked to have stuck with it long enough to see but I started way too late and soon it was time for us to think about kids. Right before I left NYC for good (at that time I didn’t know I was not going to come back. I was only going home for the holidays, but ended up deciding to stay), I was sent to a casting for American Eagle’s new line Aerie. See, the way things work is you go to anywhere from 1 to 10 castings a day and if you’re good, you might get one or two that day (depending on the size of the job). If these are big castings (like campaigns), then you can go for months without getting any big ones (because the competition is fierce). But it’s all about making sure you have steady work and if you’re new to the scene, like I was, it’s also about making connections and building your book.
1. fashion show prep
2. bridal shoot in Miami
3. same bridal shoot. I just LOVED that dress
4. After a show in our model’s apartment
5. a bridal show
6.another fashion show (after hair/make up)
7. showroom
8. some shoot
9. going home after a shoot (people on the subway probably thought I was crazy with that make up, but i had no time to remove it since i was already running late to a casting)

So the Aerie campaign casting went well but I didn’t even give it second thought, because chances were that someone else with a kick-ass book would get the job. That was until I got a callback and then after that a hold (a callback is when they want to see you again after having narrowed down their choice to fewer girls and a hold is an actual hold put on a certain day making sure the model is available for them for the day of the shoot while they are trying to decide between 2-3 girls). This was huge -to be put on hold by American Eagle. It was between me and another girl. I had to delay my flight home but didn’t end up getting the campaign. They picked the other girl because I was “just too European looking for AMERICAN Eagle”. Totally understandable. And damn my Russian genes! (ok not really)

Just random in mirror shots of outfits I wore.

  1. Getting ready for Halloween
  2. Going to a party (BCBG dress)
  3. not sure what that photo was lol
  4. dressing room
  5. this is how skinny i was. and that’s how skinny you HAD to be to model seriously (in NYC). I was not the skinniest girl by far. Yet strangely enough I was healthy, ate healthy, excersised. A bit of an akward pose too.
  6. Trying on a gown for some award show I was going that evening
  7. at the gym (boo, I want my abs back)
  8. going to a party. I think this was for Britney Spear’s birthday at Tenjune and she never showed to her own bday party, but there were stilt walkers (it was during the circus album)
  9. going to a casting
  10. going to a casting
  11. going to a casting
  12. going somewhere (apparently)
  13. this one is funny to me, because I look soooooo tired. I rememeber clearly it was the morning after some really late party night
  14. going to a party
  15. going to a casting
  16. My christmas dress

I did have fun though. Oh how much fun I had! Would I let my daughter model? There’s nothing I won’t support Alexis in doing but, like hell, she will go there alone until she’s 18, only if I can travel there with her. That’s even if that is something she wants to do.

I’d love to do a regular Flashback Friday post, but I gotta be realistic. I have almost no time and a million more relevant posts that I want to write, so this type of post will have to be a spur of the moment kind of thing, like this time.

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  • Reply
    Elena C.
    June 29, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    Ohhhh I loved seeing your model pictures and reading your Facebook updates about that time 🙂
    So much fun!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      June 29, 2012 at 11:03 AM

      I knooow! It was like a completely different world. I had a blast. Too bad I hadn’t started earlier so that I had more time to do it before we started thinking about starting a family.

  • Reply
    Caitlin Mallery
    June 29, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    You were lovely as a model, but I think your post baby body is even more fabulous. It reflects on an amazing experience of womanhood, that I know you are proud of. I know for me, I finally felt like a woman instead of a 14 year girl. It is my goal to always stay healthy and fit, but also to move forward and embrace every new stage of my life as a wife and mother. I know that Alexis having a confident, comfortable, and supportive mother will go a long way in helping her choose the right path for her life. I hope you have a truly fabulous experience with your daughter, as you did with your life.

  • Reply
    June 29, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    I would love, love, love to hear more about your time modeling in NYC!! The good, the bad, and the ugly…your thoughts, experiences, etc! Really hope you can squeeze these types of posts in! 🙂

    • Reply
      June 29, 2012 at 1:48 PM

      it would be so interesting! I will be looking forward to your random posts! 🙂

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      June 29, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      I always want to. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed though!

  • Reply
    June 29, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    I absolutely love your modeling pictures! you are so gorgeous and fierce. I’m very impressed with your dedication to working out, healthy eating, and living natural. I think these pictures just sparked my motivation to go to the gym lol. thanks.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      June 29, 2012 at 4:29 PM

      Thank you! Maybe one day I’ll post actual photos from my book and jobs but that seems too show offy and a little of topic. Maybe for another flashback post.
      I do once in a while look at the pic of my abs in that gym photo to get myself going lol

  • Reply
    June 29, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    you are beautiful! How fun and what an experience and life!! 🙂

    can you move to MN so we can be best of buds. 🙂 Work out buds, healthy planning buds, baby play dates, couple nights! 🙂

  • Reply
    June 29, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    So how long did you model? From what year till 2009? Also, what got you into modeling? Did you always want to do it?

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      June 29, 2012 at 4:25 PM

      For a few years on and off in different markets. NYC happened mid 2009 and I left for Miami right before the end of the year planning to go back to NYC for the next season. But then just stayed.

      As far as why do modeling, it seemed interesting and at some point I got bored with living in suburbia and got tired of people telling me I should model that I said what the heck. I did some modeling in Miami market, soon realized it was not a serious market so I was wasting my time. so Hubby and I took a trip to NYC, i visited a few agencies, signed with one and moved to NYC.

      And while I’m sad I couldn’t have more time in NYC, I do remember why I came back home: I missed hubby, I hated the cold, started to feel like i was dumbing down with no personal enrichment- castings, jobs and parties every day, couldn’t stand having to live in a models apartment while I had a gorgeous house in florida and we were starting to talk kids…

  • Reply
    June 29, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    What an interesting post! I really enjoyed this! A friend of mine was a model for Elite and she said that there was a lot of shady stuff going on behind the scenes — girls who would sleep w/ the agents/directors etc. would get more jobs, and that was basically the only way to make it big. Did you think there’s any truth to this? On another note… you had an AMAZING body back then, WOW!!! So tall and skinny! I know you said you were 131 pre pregnancy, but how much did you weigh when you were a model? My guess is around 115?

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      June 29, 2012 at 3:42 PM

      I can’t say it’s impossible to make it big without sleeping with someone but it definitely takes place. In the major leagues the key is to start young, get signed with a good agency and if you have the looks and personality (which I found was more important ) you’ll make it. And it also depends on what making it means. Become famous? Unlikely. Make a decent living being a model in NYC? Easily if you’re good.

      Re weight: I was 134 right before pregnancy (I had to gain a few pounds to reach normal BMI ). During modeling I was 128, but I was also very fit. Don’t forget I’m very tall so numbers like 115 would be crazy for me.

      • Reply
        Irina from LA
        June 29, 2012 at 6:19 PM

        Oh, hey, that’s exactly how I felt when I quit. And you do look gorgeous, although remembering your pictures from NYC days I always noticed you didn’t seem yourself, the way you are at home around your hubby – sunny, happy, relaxed. At least it was the impression I got, a girl lost in a crazy world.

        @Rebecca: As far as sleeping with agents/directors question, NO, you don’t have to do that. However, it certainly gets you additional work/connections. Lets not forget, also, that you tend to date/sleep with people you work with in a ‘normal’ world, so there’s nothing surprising that a model would date a casting director or her agent or her manager, because those are the people she is often around most of the time.

      • Reply
        July 2, 2012 at 11:06 AM

        I hadn’t realized that you were modeling while you were married; I thought it was before that. Must have been tough to live in a model’s apartment. How do those things work — do they pay the rent and give you a certain amount of time to “sink or swim” in the industry? Also, regarding weight, I knew you were really tall (5’11”?) but I’ve read that some of the high fashion runway models are that tall and 110-115 lbs! I guess those must be the ones who look absolutely emaciated. Did you do runway modeling or print ads? I’d love it if you did another post on this, talking about what it was like going to castings and stuff!! That would be so interesting!

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          July 2, 2012 at 11:28 AM

          They pay the rent for a models apartment and then debit models account so when you make money it first goes to rent, print fees etc.
          I didn’t need “advances” but I do remember a few of the girls asking for them. Again that’s debited to your account. The rent charge is ridiculous though. We had an apartment in a nice building in Midtown that was 1 bedroom with 2 bunk beds, and they had 4-5 models living there. Most of them were out of towners like me or there only for 1 season. Once you decide to make NYC your base, you usually get your own apartment or room. But I know the agency paid 3K for it And charged girls 1.5K each. So they were actually making money.

          As far as weight, for a 5’11” girl to be 110-115 she has to be either scary thin or have very little muscle (which is often the case since half the models don’t work out).

          I did a Lot of runway, mostly foreign editorials, a few print ads and some showroom when I had nothing else to do.

  • Reply
    June 29, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    OMG forgot how tiny u were :)))))

  • Reply
    June 29, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    I have been following your blog for a while now but have never commented (shame on me, I know) due to the fact that I am a college student without a baby so I thought it would be odd. haha. Anyways, I wanted to say thank you for writing about this! I have always been told I should model but have absolutely no idea how to get into it since I go to school in Florida. This was super interesting for me to hear about and see sort of the “behinds the scenes” of major modeling. I do love all your posts about little Lexi though! She’s adorable. I actually found your blog doing research for a child development class and I must say, I have learned more through you then I did that professor 🙂

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      June 29, 2012 at 9:31 PM

      I don’t think it’s odd! I have 16 year olds who read my blog- it’s totally cool!
      As Far as modeling, you should do it. It’s an amazing experience! It’s not one to drop out of college for but definitely one to give a go if you have a chance.
      If you are young, tall and have the right body type (can be stick thin if needed), then you can do it.
      The most amazing thing about it were the friends I made all over the world that I still stay in touch with.

      • Reply
        June 30, 2012 at 4:19 PM

        Thanks for responding! I will finish my undergrad degree this april and I really think I will look more into it then. I just feel like since I am 5’10 and naturally thin and it’s something I’ve always been interested in, I should give it a try. I am sure the experience and friendships are amazing and it’s such a neat opportunity. I might email you about it when I get closer to finishing school for more info if you don’t mind 🙂

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          June 30, 2012 at 6:24 PM

          Sure that’s not a problem. If you’re gonna do it, don’t wait too long. Usually past 21 is way too late to get started if you’re looking to do smth serious.

  • Reply
    June 29, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Beautiful! In the photo of you with the white slacks…your long legs just go on and on. I am only 5’3 and am so jealous of long skinny legs!!

    Fun post, thanks for sharing. I rarely comment but read often.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      June 29, 2012 at 9:40 PM

      I swear it’s the mirror 😉 I do have long legs but not that long haha
      When I was a teenager, my home room teacher always complained that I would hem my uniform’s skirt. Until one day at a PT conference my mom finally said: “you have to stop bugging my daughter! Her skirt is the same length as others. She just has longer legs so it looks like it’s much shorter ”
      And now on the Internet I get accused of photoshopping my 2 week postpartum body to look thinner. Lol Some things (or types of people) just never change!
      (sorry got carried away… Was bored rocking Lexi to sleep)

      • Reply
        June 30, 2012 at 11:22 PM

        So funny, glad you shared! As a mom of three little ones I just adore your log. You DO have long legs and I LOVE them!

        • Reply
          June 30, 2012 at 11:24 PM

          Blog not log, oops, rocking my 3rd baby with iPad on Lap LOL

  • Reply
    Momma B.
    June 30, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Wow, you were really skinny! I’m glad that you’ve filled out some. I think you look so much better with some meat on your bones. 🙂

  • Reply
    June 30, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    You used to be tiny!

    I’m tall too and was constantly asked if I either modeled or played basketball. Neither was appealing to me and the lack of food required to maintain such a low weight plus the constant rejection/criticism that comes with being in the industry is not something I could tolerate! I love good food and abhor being around people who are uptight,overly critical and image obsessed.

    The couple of models I know (actually one is a former model who was very successful) are completely nuts and self-absorbed but I think it’s hard not to be under that sort of pressure.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      June 30, 2012 at 6:22 PM

      I would actually have to say that people who work in the modeling industry are generally pretty awesome: creative, fun, friendly. There are a few stuffy ones but they are usually not the ones you deal with on daily basis. Most of my bookers, designers, make up artists, stylists, models and photographers I’ve met are pretty kick ass.

      Yes, there are some models who act like they are the shit but they tend to be the ones who have been doing it since childhood and have really gotten spoiled with all the attention. Everyone else, models, included were just really cool down to earth girls and guys.

  • Reply
    June 30, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    I don’t have anything helpful to add, except that I am in love with your Christmas dress, darn my giant nursing boobs!

  • Reply
    Megan V
    July 3, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    I loved reading this! I spent a summer in NYC on the design end of things and reading this had me feeling nostalgic! Oh and after that instagram pic today talking about your new ta-tas, and now seeing these pics – I get it! Ha.

    Thanks for sharing! This was a fun read, and the comments are happily void of haters. Refreshing!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      July 3, 2012 at 11:22 PM

      Oh i didn’t know you did some design work in NYC, how cool!
      Yeah you see why I want my light and airy boobies back 🙂

      Re: haters, the comments are only void because I’ve instituted a new no-tolerance policy. Varying opinions are welcome, stupid, ignorant, underhanded, disrespectful people are not. End of story.

      • Reply
        megan v
        July 5, 2012 at 11:05 AM

        Yes back before moving to Iowa and having a baby I worked in the fashion industry :). It feels like a past life now!

        I’m glad there is a no tolerance policy for the haters now. Good riddance to them. 🙂 Varying opinions are WAY different than the hating that was going on before. It was straight up bullying. Not ok.

  • Reply
    July 5, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    It’s so interesting to read this post from your perspective. I’ve worked in NYC in the fashion industry for awhile….have worked for & with top fashion magazines and some designers as well as with various publicists/firms so have been on the other side of the coin…working with the top models on many of the “top” jobs (editorial, shows, campaigns) so your perspective with all the castings is such a good reminder of the real life of most models. What a difference a few years makes….you went from living/bunking in a model apt with others trying to make it in the industry to caring for your little girl. Congratulations on your success.

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