What If, As A Model, I’m Not Trying to “Break Into” Anything?

image - Flickr / Neil Krug
image – Flickr / Neil Krug

About a month or so back, I was lucky enough to do an interview at a morning radio show. I had written about the Market Basket story and how an upheaval like that was exactly what America needed. They had me on the show to elaborate on my essay, discuss my views on Market Basket, and finish up the interview with a talk about my modeling career — specifically, about my collection of essays about the modeling world (available where all ebooks are sold, hint hint).

It was a great experience. The DJs were incredible, the interview went smoothly, and I got a chance to shamelessly promote myself. But I noticed something that stuck with me long after the interview wrapped: in the promos, as well as in the interview itself, they described my book as the story of me, “trying to break into the modeling world.”

Now, I can understand the confusion: the first words of my book description have me facetiously asking if you want to learn how to break into the modeling world. Granted, a sentence or so later, I say that I will not be answering that question in the slightest – but, still, I can see someone giving the book description a passing glance and believing that that’s what my collection is about.

However, I think what has stuck with me, even though the interview is now nothing but radio waves in space (and digital files on the internet), is the fact that it all runs parallel with a common school of thought regarding models, actors, and the like: whatever we’re doing, we must be doing it to try to “break into” the industry.

But what if, as a model, I have no interest in “breaking into” anything?

I’m interested in getting work (cue Khia’s, “Get money bitch!”), but I have zero interest in trying to become a supermodel. Aside from the fact that the term “supermodel” is about as antiquated as a model’s “polaroids” being shot with an actual polaroid camera, I’ve never had any aspirations of “making it” as a model. I’m perfectly content finding work, meeting new people, experiencing new things and places, and walking away with a few more paychecks to pay the bills with.

Would being a big name mean more experiences and paychecks? Sure, but it’s not my goal, and it’s not why I do what I do.

To bring it all the way back to my ebook (still available for purchase, by the way): I actually discuss this in one of my essays. For every superstar A-list actress or jet-setting supermodel, there are thousands upon thousands of working actors and models who do what they do completely under the radar from mainstream media. And while some are urgently wondering when their “big break” will be, many are simply grateful that they can do what they love and get paid for it.

Maybe it’s our culture’s ultra fascination with fame, where we’re okay with making a fool out of ourselves so long as it brings us a little notoriety. We’ve made “fame” synonymous with “success”, even if the attention never translates into any type of reliable income or headway in their careers. So, surely, with everyone on a quest to find their 15 minutes, those in the industries that typically create famous people must be doing the same. And those who don’t must not believe in themselves – or are lazy.

I think about my day job, and how I’m not trying to “break into” that industry any more than I’m just trying to establish myself and find joy in what I do. And isn’t that what life should be about? Finding joy in what you do, finding success on your own terms? You have to enjoy life for exactly what it is, even when it includes the occasional quelling of nerves just before an interview – be it at a radio station or at an office. TC mark

Like this post? For more lessons learned about the modeling world, check out Abby’s Thought Catalog Book here.

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