New York City is one big (well, not so big) pool filled with beautiful people. And the truth is, we’re all trying to make it BIG in the Big Apple. Whatever your industry is in NYC, I guarantee you’re facing or have faced competition for that spot or position. But it is not the competition that brings us here or keep us here, but the feeling of “I Conquered NY!” To really be successful in this city, means you’ve made it to the big leagues. I’m talking NY YANKEES big baby! Wohooo!
Ok, back to reality. Let’s first talk about the actuality of making it. From my experience, being not just a model but a working model in this city and getting paid work, I’ve noticed how hard it is for some of us to get work. I mean, let’s face it. There are a lot of models in NY. But how many are actually working? How many are actually paying taxes via 1099 each year with the profession “Model” as their actual means of income for the year? New York is a tough city with a lot to give. But, it also takes a lot from you before it starts to give you anything. Therefore, you must be up for the challenge and be willing to adjust something to gain anything. A lot of models come to NY thinking that they will be gainfully booked or paid here by being pretty – and that’s just not the case. Pretty are a million by the dozen here. I’ve booked gigs for some of the largest worldwide brands and national campaigns from being the 1st human being to ever be inside Macy’s windows live to being the only non celebrity in a room filled with NBA stars, Jay-Z and A-list celebrities. Was it my look, my personality, or the fact that the agency knows I’m not celebrity crazed and won’t embarrass them? All the above!
So What Makes You So Special?
Is it your look? Yes, that helps a lot, but what keeps you working is your personality, punctuality, politeness and sense of gratitude. I’ve worked with a lot of pretty girls I never saw again, simply because of their attitude. Sometimes the attitude is from them feeling “I’m too pretty for this” or “I really don’t want to work” and that shows. The photographers see it, the agency sees it and most importantly – the client who picked them out of many girls whose photos were submitted or showed up to the initial casting. So, being a “Working Model” in NYC means you have to have a sense of gratitude for working, be polite, be respectful and most importantly be willing to put in the energy and time to go to endless castings, networking events, updating your portfolio etc. Just like any other business, you have to put the time in to get work. Though your beauty leads, your attitude follows. Remember that. But in all of it, don’t give up. Keep going, keep working because you never know which lame gig might lead you to the most awesome gig ever!
While you’re happy to work and grateful to be considered for gigs, this doesn’t mean you should take any gig if it makes you uncomfortable or go against your beliefs. I want you to make yourself, not lose yourself. There’s a chapter my the book “Think Highly Of Yourself” which is titled Industry VS. Self Worth (Chapter 4). I mention aspects of the modeling industry which include what you’re paid as opposed to what you could be getting paid.
“Have you ever heard of Super Models not getting out of bed unless the check is over $10,000 or above? If only that was the reality of a model’s life.” —Keeke Kawaii
Think Highly Of Yourself
Stop any working model in NYC walking down the street and ask them. I guarantee you they’d tell you how they really feel about having to scramble for auditions, nervously waiting for a call back, panicking if they did well in the audition room. Many were left wondering “did I mess up?”, or “did they like me?” But more importantly they thought, “did I book the job?”, “when will they call?” and “I need to pay this expensive rent!” It’s not an easy industry. It is one of the most glamorous, yet one of hardest industry to break in to. But once you’re in, it’s fun! You can do it. If you really seek it, then it has no choice but to seek you. Just don’t lose yourself while on the verge to find your way there. Don’t allow any agency to make you feel as if they’re doing you a favor by finding you work. You’re an asset to them and they need you as much as you need them. Don’t allow anyone on site to make you feel less of yourself. You can always walk away and God will always provide the right gig for you. Always remember that. Good luck and I hope you make it!
If you read this, tweet me @KeekeKawaii and let me know how your audition went! Xo!
About the Author
Keeke is one of NYC’s most booked spokesmodel who has represented some of the world’s largest brands from Nike to Microsoft. But that is not all there is to her. She’s talented in the arts by doing voice overs, acting, and a linguist who speaks 5 languages and is constantly trying to learn other languages along the way. She’s a mentally strong female who has overcome traumatic events in her early life as well as neglect as a child. Escaping an abusive relationship with no family present to support; she developed an unbreakable force of strength which lead her to the ability to read people’s energy and intentions very well as she had to do this in efforts to protect her heart from disappointments which she had previously encountered. Due to her life’s experiences, she was hastened to become this independent young lady making it in NYC. Now, Keeke Kawaii, born Keema Kelley, has become an infectious individual possessing an aura that attracts people from all walks of life and won the hearts of many! Keeke’s philosophy and deep internal desire is to encourage everyone despite their background and past experiences. She strives to uplift them from any negative thoughts, despite what they were told by anyone in the past or present. She wants her life to be a blessing to those she encounters!