One of the most common questions I get asked is “how did you get into modeling?”
My modeling career began when I was about 16 years old. Growing up, I was always tall and scrawny, I got made fun of a lot for being so skinny, and never felt like I fit in with my peers. I didn’t really have an athletic body and sports were really the only activities in the small town where I lived. My mom was looking for something for me to get interested in, and took me to an audition at John Robert Powers in Kansas City. They accepted me, and I was enrolled in their modeling classes.
**Disclaimer: modeling schools often have the reputation of being scams, but there are some good ones out there that actually teach you skills to help you in your career. Make sure you do your research, and talk to other models who have gone through the program to make sure it’s a reputable institution. Also make sure you have realistic expectations; paying for modeling classes doesn’t guarantee that you will get signed by an agency or have a career in modeling. If a school advertises that by participating in their program you’re guaranteed to be successful, it’s a red flag.
I will never forget the feeling I had when I first walked into the classroom and saw a group of awkwardly tall, scrawny girls exactly like me. I was so happy that I’d finally found a place where I felt like I fit in. I had my first photo shoot through John Robert Powers, and I loved it. They offered me representation, but their modeling program was undergoing some changes, and they started pushing me towards acting. I had no interest at the time in pursuing acting, and since they were pushing it so hard, I felt it was best to leave JRP and try to get signed with an agency more focused on modeling.
After meeting with a few of the local agencies, I was offered representation with one of the more prominent agencies, but they were also pushing me toward acting, so I declined. After more in-person visits, I found a small local agency that I felt would be a good fit for me and signed with them. After a few months, my mom and I realized this agency was not one I wanted to be associated with. Their business practices were shady, and I often wasn’t paid for the jobs I booked despite being told the rates, unless I argued for my pay. Thankfully, I was let out of my contract, and in 2009 I signed with one of my current agencies, Voices&.
In 2010 I spent a summer in Dallas, and while I was there I signed with The Campbell Agency in their runway division. I got one-on-one runway coaching from the legend Jan Strimple, which took my runway walk to the next level. I did many shows in Dallas that summer, and to this day still miss it. When the summer ended, I choose not to renew my contract with them as I was enrolled in college classes at UMKC, and it was difficult for me to find time between working and classes to make the drive to Dallas for castings and shows.
After graduating college, I moved to St. Louis for an internship opportunity. Knowing that STL has a great fashion market, I went to an open call for West Model Management. Later that evening, I was contacted by Gail, and signed a contract to be on the West model roster.
I am currently located in Kansas City, and still signed with both Voices& and West Model Management. I have two of the best agents here in the Midwest, and can’t thank them enough for all the opportunities they continue to bring my way!