For as long as I can remember, my family had referred to me as "La Modelo" which translates from Spanish to "The Model" because of my thinness and my looks. I was always flattered by the thought of this and had dreams of one day becoming a model. I was about six or seven years old when I called up a kids modeling agency I had received a flyer for from a friend at school. Embarrassed and scared, I quickly hung up as soon as the woman on the other end answered "Buenos Di-".
As I grew older, I became exposed to the harsh realities of what it took to be a model. I watched America's Next Top Model and Nuestra Belleza Latina religiously and hoped that one day I'd walk down that runway and win the competition. I set this as one of my goals and felt like nothing and no one could stop me. Something that always held me back, though, was my height. Being that I am only five feet and two inches, I believed that my dreams would be unlikely to almost impossible to achieve. I let this hindrance halt my sense of motivation to become a model. I set aside this dream and developed new ones in the mean time.
Snapping photos and videos of myself was always something I loved to do. My dad bought me my first camera when I was about eight and since then I loved posing and taking selfies. I then began getting into photography and capturing photos of other people and nature more than myself. Occasionally I set up my camera on my tripod and held little photoshoots on my own. I suppose the thought of being a model always stuck to me. It wasn't until this start of this summer that I thought I should take a chance. I sent in my photos to five agencies disregarding their height requirements in hopes that I would get signed. Unfortunately, I didn't hear back from any.
I decided that I wouldn't stop here. I couldn't let something this small stop me from reaching my dreams. I took matters into my own hands and decided that I was going to be an independent model, which means I wouldn't be associated with an agency. I set up a business email and posted it on all of my social media accounts, then shortly after I began setting up an online portfolio on my website using photos my boyfriend and I snapped of me. I began to receive emails from photographers, clothing and makeup brands, and magazines that wanted to work with me and was able to schedule everything on my own.
I worked on trying out for casting calls, searching and sending in my photos. To my luck, I was able to attend one for a brand called FrontRow. I was extremely nervous being that it was my first actual time attending a casting and my first time showing my runway walk to someone. As soon as I stepped into the room I got a feeling that this is what I wanted to do. This is what's right for me. I completed the casting, but I walked out of the room unsure if I was qualified. I was told that I would be let known the next day if I was chosen or not. I refreshed my email about forty times the next day and immediately thought, "I didn't make it." About ten minutes later I received an email containing the address for fittings and almost immediately I burst into tears. I couldn't believe what was happening. I was going to be walking down an actual runway for New York Fashion Week! I remember saying to myself in that very moment "I actually made it."
The day of the show I was up early prepping my skin and getting all of my essentials ready. I didn't feel the nerves kick in till the models were called into lineup for a practice run. Although the seats were empty, my first walk down the runway filled me with a crazy amount of nervousness. The only thing I hoped for in that moment was not to fall. As show time approached, backstage got more and more hectic by the minute with outfit malfunctions, models still getting their makeup done, and last minute touches. As we lined up to exit onto the stage, I took a moment to thank my boyfriend, friends, and family for believing in me. I also thanked myself for never giving up and reaching for the stars. Walking the runway then felt like something that came naturally to me. It was one of the best feelings I've ever experienced in my life. It was a dream. Once the show was over I was overwhelmed with emotion and felt a sense of completion. I knew that this is what I wanted my life to feel like all the time. Modeling is the one thing that has made feel such a way.
The reaction that I received from the show was so humbling. I had many girls direct message me on how much of an inspiration I am to them and how I make them feel like they, too, can do what seems to be impossible. I love being able to have this effect on people. I love breaking standards and boundaries and proving that nothing is impossible. All anyone ever needs in determination and passion to do what they really want to do. I can't stop here, for myself and more importantly for those who I inspire. I'll never get out of my Gem.