Monthly Archive: May 2012

Interview with Melissa Rodwell

Sarah Deanna and I got together last week and sat on the rooftop of her Soho loft to discuss her career. She explains what helped her in the beginning when she started out and was testing with new photographers, giving some great advice to those of you starting out in the industry and working with agency models.

I remember the first time I met Sarah Deanna. She came to a casting I held for a NYC handbag client about 4 years ago.  I loved her comp card and had wanted to work with her for a long time before I met her. What struck me the most about her was not only was she really beautiful, she was a lovely person. Warm and compassionate, she really appeared to be beyond the outer beauty notion of gorgeous…..she was a awesome girl all around. We’ve worked together on a number of projects since our first meeting and there’s a great chemistry between us. She takes direction well, can move like a champ and she’s as professional as a model can be. The camera loves her, no doubt! She’s done editorials for Italian Vogue, German Vogue, French, L’Official, Amica and Elle. She’s walked runway shows for Dolce Gabbana, D & G, Oscar, Versace, Armani, Donna Karan and Calvin Klein. And her partial client list includes Stella McCartney, Neiman Marcus and Versace! She’s definitely risen to the TOP of her field!!

It was fun to sit with someone in our industry and talk about how she was discovered and how she has made it to the top! And how she wrote a book while doing it! The thing I love most about Sarah Deanna is that she gives back to the industry, helping other models learn how to achieve the weight necessary in the modeling industry in a healthy manner. Her book Supermodel YOU is coming out next year by Hay House! You can follow her on Twitter @SupermodelYOU! I’m so proud of her and I’m excited to share with you guys this short but sweet little interview we did. This is the first interview video and I promise more to come!

Check Yo’ Self Awareness

Originally posted at The Daily Love

Hello Daily ‘Supermodel’ Lovers,

How are you? No, really, how are you? Let’s check in:

  • How are you feeling right now in this moment?
  • Do feel good? Tired? Happy? Bored? Anxious? Peaceful? Just kind of blah?
  • How’s your posture? Don’t tell me you’ve already forgotten your SuperModel Posture from our first blog?
  • Are you leaning to one side more than the other?
  • Are you squinting or straining your eyes while you read this or sitting way to close to the monitor?
  • How do your clothes feel? Do they fit properly or are they too tight or too big or just plain uncomfortable?
  • What is your face doing? Are you scrunching your eyebrows together? Are you frowning? Smiling?
  • What’s running in the back of your mind while you read this? What to have for dinner? A conversation you just had with someone else? Are you scrolling through your to-do list? Or are you really 100% here with me?
  • Why does all this matter anyway?

Every one of these questions matters because Self-Awareness is the first key to making any change in your life.

Without Self-Awareness, you will never have the ability to understand why you are where you are or what you need to do to get somewhere else. By developing a keen sense of Self-Awareness, you will be able to Self-Actualize all your desires. Otherwise, forget it. You’re just going to be swept along by fate, with no say in where you end up.

Although you might not have guessed this, models actually have a high level of Self-Awareness. We have to be Self-Aware because it’s part of our job to know how we look, how we photograph, how we stand, how we walk (on runways and when meeting clients), how we hold our faces, and how clothes look on us. We constantly have to be aware of our posture and the messages we are sending with our body language. This is an important aspect of being a good model.

Let me give you an example of how important this is.

One of the first jobs I did with Versace was for an event at their boutique on Rodeo Drive. They hired three models, and our job was to be mannequins, standing on top of pillars, decked out head to toe in Versace. Stacie, the VP of Marketing and Events at Versace, informed us that we had to stay as still as possible, just like real mannequins, moving only to change our position if we absolutely needed to. We were not allowed to talk to the guests, smile, or respond in any way. She also warned us to be careful because a girl in New York had actually passed out and fell off the pillar doing a job just like this one. Who knew modeling was so dangerous? (Actually, I could tell you stories–falling off a horse while shooting in Cannes, hanging out of the back of moving U-haul truck for a shoot, climbing a barbed wire fence in Paris, leaches in the water—but I’ll save those for later.)

You have no idea how incredibly hard this is! I dare you to put on the most ridiculously high and uncomfortable heels you can find, strike a mannequin-like pose, and hold it for even five minutes. The two other girls and I had to do this for much longer!

This is what happens when you have to stay still in extreme positions for an extended period of time: Your leg starts to fall asleep, or your arm, or multiple limbs at once. You start to shake, your hip starts to give, you get crazy itches you can’t scratch. On top of the physical challenge, you’ve got all these people staring at you and poking you and wondering if you’re real or freaking out when they realize you are. Or they’re trying to get you to break face.

This was the most challenging job I’ve probably ever done as a model, and I’m telling you about it because it was an amazing exercise in self-awareness. I had to gain total control over my body and mind. It was a total body workout and a meditation all in one. I felt like I consciously experienced every muscle in my body and became keenly aware of my breath, my heartbeat, and what every part of me was doing, from scalp to fingers to the bottoms of my feet.

And I was good at it! People thought I was a real mannequin. The other models had a harder time. One girl had to get down before we were finished, and the other girl kept moving or laughing when people would try to break her. Not me. Once they realized I was real, people at the event kept trying to get me to laugh. Eventually, they succeeded when an NBA player offered me a drink of his champagne, and then put his glass to my lips and started to pour his drink into my mouth. I couldn’t help laughing, but I credit my ability to do the job so well (at least up to that point) to Self-Awareness.

That lesson stayed with me. I started to notice things in my everyday life, like the fact that I tend to rest more weight on my right hip when I’m standing or washing the dishes or brushing my teeth. I also noticed that I didn’t always distribute my weight properly while walking or standing, which tired me out faster. When you distribute your body weight properly, your core will almost always be activated. Your energy will flow better, you’ll feel better, and you’ll look better, too. Most people don’t notice how they distribute their weight, how long their strides are, how well they stay balanced. When you learn to notice and then to control your weight distribution and carry yourself with awareness, you’re a lot less likely to fall, because you’re balanced. You burn more calories from having your core activated. And all that leads to greater sensitivity and Self-Awareness about what’s going on in your brain, from the thoughts that run through your head all day to the words you choose to say (helpful? hurtful?), to the decisions you make about what to eat, what to focus on, what to LOVE.

So think about this as you go through your week. Notice your body. Notice your breath. Notice your thoughts. When you are tuned in to exactly what you are doing, how you are feeling, and what you are thinking, then the decisions you make about how to take care of yourself will be informed by Self-Awareness rather than habit. And that’s exactly where you want to be.