Modeling is one of the toughest industries to break into, and it's even tougher when you don't necessarily fit the industry standards. Sure, we've come a long way in recent years, but that doesn't mean there's no more room for growth. A lot of you may wonder how I ever got myself involved in such an industry that spills brutal truths over your image, personality and every ounce of your being. Well, the answer is easy: fear. Fear has given me a lot of drive and motivation over the years, and I've since used this as a catalyst in my career as a model and speaker.
A large portion of my life was fueled by insecurities, depression and reservations.
I rarely had my photo taken, and if I found myself in front of the camera, my arm quickly hid behind my back. I've learned that challenging myself to something I've always feared, having my picture taken, was going to be the one thing that would break me out of this dark cycle.
A life motivated by fear has created some of the most extraordinary opportunities that my 16-year-old self had only dreamed of. I've walked in New York Fashion week not once, not twice, but three times in the few years I've been doing this. I consider it to be a great accomplishment in my books, and I hope to see the runway again soon.
More importantly, not only do I love to model, but I love being a role model. The platform I have as a model has given me the great opportunity to educate, inspire and mentor others who experience a similar story to my own. The best part of all is being able to share my journey/my motivation, through photos. They say, "a picture's worth a thousand words," and I can't think of a better way to tell my story than this.
Top photo by Chris Loupos.