Not a Big Fan of New York, New York

I’ve been really lucky to do more travelling than usual this summer and this past Friday, I got home from New York after spending a week there, competing at a modeling and acting convention. I will definitely agree with most that New York is a really cool and different city, but I think I’d prefer my Rocky Mountains and 300 days of sunshine in Colorado.

New York
The view from our hotel room

My mom and I arrived in New York on the 9th, early in the morning. Our trip began with a thirty-minute taxi ride from JFK to the Hilton Midtown in Midtown. Wow, was that an adventure. Taxi drivers in New York City are RUTHLESS. The man we had driving us was super sweet but once he got behind the wheel, he became an aggressive, hardcore racecar driver. It was kinda cool to see how he dodged cars and semis and sped down the highway. We got some pretty good air hitting a jump one time too. What a thrill ride!

New York

Once we arrived at the hotel, the week was a whirlwind. There were a lot of outfit changes, late nights, hairspray and makeup, and quick runs to grab food. I wish that my schedule at the convention allowed for me to do a little more sightseeing and wandering around the Big Apple, but it is what it is. The convention itself, was fun, but not nearly what I expected it would be. I think that for some people, it opened doors, but for the most part, it seemed fake. There were a lot of promises made by agencies and the convention themselves that were not followed through on and that’s ok. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot from the experiences I had and I’ll never forget that adventure.  Something I learned from my experience this past week and the whole experience I had with my former agency was that you have to be really careful in the modeling and acting industries because there are a lot of real, good people and there’s also a bunch of sneaky people who might seem like they are legit but actually aren’t.  They could care less about who you are and are only concerned with how much you’re willing to pay to sign their “contract”. I respect who I’ve worked with in the past and I wish them all the best and I’d just like to say that it’s tough to discern who the real people are but after this interesting journey, my eyes are more open than ever, and I know what I have to do.

New York

When I had time to be outside of the hotel, my mom and I had a lot of fun. We visited the Rockefeller Center and took a tour of the NBC Studios which included seeing the sets of the Tonight Show, SNL, and the Late Night Show with Seth Meyers. That was super cool. It was exciting to get to be in the same room and even step in the same places as some famous and talented people. My mom and I even got to make our own late night TV show at the end of our tour and we enjoyed that. That was probably the highlight of my NYC trip.

New York

We also visited Central Park and Times Square while in the Big Apple and those were both cool places to visit. I honestly imagined Times Square, specifically where the ball is dropped on New Year’s’, much bigger and wider than it was. There were a lot of sketchy people and pushers making attempts to sell my mom and I stuff or get us to take pictures with them. That was definitely uncomfortable. Also, it was incredibly hot and humid while we visited Times Square and that made it a struggle to do a lot of walking. We spent about thirty minutes wandering Times Square and then frantically searched for the nearest Starbucks or air-conditioned place to cool off and head to Central Park. After a quick trip to get some iced tea, we walked to Central Park and I enjoyed seeing nature and trees and endless (not really) green. It was a nice escape from the dirty, crowded, and crazy place that New York City is. I enjoyed getting to see the many different people in Central Park and see a variety of plants and trees, because trust me, there were soooo many different types of trees. It was pretty cool.

New York

At some point during our stay in NYC, we also managed to find a few good places to eat at, like Fresh & Co, an artisan bakery with really yummy sandwiches and coffee, and a great pizza place called PizzArte. Food, well actually everything, was EXTREMELY pricey in New York and it was crazy how much we spent on food. At PizzArte, one of the pizzas we got was $24!! Holy cow, was it expensive, but it was also probably one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had. We also found an ice cream truck chilling right by our hotel one day, and that half-and-half ice cream cone was one of the best ice cream cones I’ve ever had. I never wanted it to end.

New York

I did enjoy my time in New York City, but I will honestly and confidently say that it’s not my favorite city. I wish I did a little more sightseeing, as mentioned earlier, and I hope to go back in the future and see more of the city. I could do without the gross smells and the unhappy people and the sketchy people and the trash constantly fluttering the streets and the awful traffic and sound of sirens every hour or so, but not every city is perfect. Actually no city is perfect! The time I had in New York was worth it and I’m ready to go back (whenever I do) and have another adventure.

New York
I took this picture near Carnegie Hall on the way to Central Park. What’s with the giant pile of trash?!

A Step Into the Modeling Industry

My six months of hard work had all led up to this moment. It was always about an hour-long drive down to Greenwood Village and back every other Saturday. It was four hours of etiquette, runway walking, poses, workouts, and makeup. But finally September of 2013 had arrived and it was time to put my knowledge to the test. My first fashion show was about to begin in five hours.

Before any of this could happen, it all started when my mom and I were spending a Saturday wandering throughout the Flatiron’s Mall. A representative for Barbizon Model and Talent Agency pulled my mom and I over and handed me a small green slip.

She grinned and remarked, “We’d love for you to come and audition for our agency. We’re looking for new faces.”

I carefully scanned the pamphlet for Barbizon Southwest. It seemed pretty real and trustworthy to me. My mom nodded and replied, “Okay, if you want to try it,” and helped me fill out the audition slip.

The following weekend, I attended the audition and the director for the Southwest region was very eager when I walked up to meet her. The audition went very smooth and that same night a contract was signed with the agency and I began modeling classes in Greenwood Village at their facility a week later.

My mom and I pulled into the Embassy Suites parking lot at 8 A.M. I yawned, hopping out of the car to grab my outfits from the back and head into the dressing room.

Luckily, I was one of the first models there so I grabbed a good comfortable spot, prepared my outfits in an organized fashion, and touched up my recommended makeup for the day. We had some interesting themes for our outfits. There was the fall casual outfit which consisted of brick orange skinny jeans, a white blouse, brown leather jacket, peach scarf, and knee-high boots. Adding onto that my group had a high fashion or New York City model look. This outfit had a tight black and white stripped top with a belt slightly below the rib cage, black slacks, shiny, red pumps, and a ridiculously heavy coral necklace. The other group would be walking onto the runway with a “neon Tokyo” look.  The final outfit was our formal wear dress or the dress we planned to receive our graduation diplomas in. Mine was a long, sleek black dress with a halter top and sequins running all over the dress.

About ten minutes later, one of my friends strolled into the room. Her shoulder length brown hair was curled to perfection and for once we were the same height because she wasn’t wearing ridiculously high heels. She looked just as excited and enthusiastic about the upcoming event as I did.

Miss Michelle, my instructor for the classes, came striding into the room just as the last few people shuffled in. Loudly, she announced, “Alright ladies. We’ll start rehearsals now. Please get into your first outfit and we’ll run through everything and you’ll learn the choreography for your group dances.”

Those five hours were some of the most fun but stressful hours of my life. The show hadn’t even started and my feet felt like they were about to fall off. It’s hard wearing heels for over five hours!

Finally, 2 o’clock rolled around. Family members from all over packed into the ballroom where the runway and lights were all set up and ready to go. The fashion show was underway.

My heart beat a million beats per minute. In my head I thought, “Don’t fall off the runway. Look at the audience. No, look at the wall. No, try to find your family. Okay, okay, just don’t fall off or trip. Haha, it’s going to be alright.” And that’s when I took my first confident steps out onto the runway in front of over a hundred people in my fall casual outfit. It was an amazing feeling.

The next feeling was not all that amazing. The second I couldn’t be seen by the audience I sprinted back to the dressing room for a two-minute quick change into our high fashion outfits.

I got to the dressing room and got everything but my shoes on. I frantically searched. They weren’t anywhere near my stuff! Just then my friend also came dashing into our little area. From her bag, I spotted my red heels.

“Hey, um, I think those are my shoes.” I pointed towards her bag, keeping an eye on the time.

“Oh, oops! Sorry! They looked a lot like mine.” My friend exclaimed handing me my shoes.

“Thanks. You’re good, it happens.” I smiled back and quickly shoved my feet into the heels.

Turns out we made it just in time. We were ready to go and made it onto the runway for our high fashion walk. Shortly after, we surprised the audience by dancing to “Harlem Shake” in our high fashion outfits. It was absolutely crazy, but so enjoyable.

The last part of the fashion show, the diploma ceremony, had finally arrived. I stood just behind the curtain anxiously awaiting my chance to walk solo onto the runway and receive my diploma. My name was called and I glided out from the curtain in my long beautiful black dress. The Barbizon director gave me a warm hug and shook my hand. I glanced down at the diploma. I had just taken my first step into the modeling industry.

From this wonderful experience there was so much to learn about myself, body image, models, and the industry. With models, they aren’t just the perfectly toned women or men. They are the people with a strong work ethic and an outgoing personality. When a person actually experiences the modeling industry, all of the stereotypes of modeling vanish. Body image is important in this world and it is something to be aware of but it shouldn’t control and destroy lives. People need to work to keep the good body structures they want and need. If I could do another fashion show or become more involved in the modeling industry, I would definitely do it. I got the chance to meet so many outstanding people and the experience brings you a sense of catharsis, in a way. From this, I got to learn more about my confidence and what I can do to become stronger and lift up others too.