“Modeling has really helped me break out of my shell, and become the strong and confident woman that I am today.”
Let’s start with the basics, how did you first get into modeling? What was your motivation to be a model? I remember first wanting to be a model after watching America’s Next Top Model in elementary school. In 2013, I finally got my chance when a photographer friend asked me to take part in a photo shoot for a creative blog. The pictures turned out amazing, and I got a lot of requests from other photographers that wanted to shoot with me. From there, I started to build my print portfolio and worked extremely hard to network within the industry. After years of working without pay and dedicating lots of time to the modeling world, my confidence and skill grew to the point where I was ready to begin modeling professionally.
How has modeling experience changed your personal and professional life? Do you feel people treat you any differently because of what you do? I was a pretty awkward and shy kid growing up, especially in high school. I think people were rather shocked when I became a model. However, my closest friends and family have never treated me any differently – I’m very lucky to have an awesome support system at home.
Modeling has really helped me break out of my shell, and become the strong and confident woman that I am today.
You are also a fashion blogger and businesswoman. Tell us more about your idea to start www.ShopPetiteCouture.com. What is petite clothing? Petite fashion is a term used to describe women who are 5’4” and under.
As a petite model myself, I understand how difficult it can be to find opportunities for fashion and catalog modeling work. Petite women are definitely an overlooked demographic in both the modeling and fashion world, and I knew it was time for a change.
That’s when I decided to combine my love of fashion with my entrepreneurial spirit, and I launched my company Petite Couture. I released my clothing line in the summer of 2015 and have since provided numerous opportunities for petite models & bloggers to work for my company.
I want to be a force of change within the modeling industry. We have already made huge strides for plus size women and our definition of “beauty”, why not include all heights as well?
How would you define your personal style? Do you have style icons? What is one thing in your wardrobe you would never throw away? My personal style is more classic with a touch of sexy. I like to look polished, but I’m not afraid to show off a little leg once and a while. I look to a lot fashion bloggers for style inspiration like Wendy Nguyen from Wendy’s Look Book, or Natalie Halcro and Olivia Pierson from Jerome. But it’s important to make your style your own! I try to add a personal touch to each of my outfits, rather than copying someone else’s style verbatim.
If I could choose any item in my closet, I would have to say my white skinny jeans. They are my go-to fashion item – they are easy to dress up or down and add a polished touch to almost any outfit!
You have an impressive portfolio and have worked on so many projects as a model. Which of the projects you have worked on are you most proud of and why? Thank you! I have been very fortunate to work with some incredible photographers over the past few years. I would have to say my favorite projects have been my international publications. There’s nothing more fulfilling to me than getting published. My friend sent me a picture the other day of a billboard she saw me on while she was traveling in Singapore. It’s so surreal and exciting. I also recently had a picture published on the side of several bus shelters in Chicago. That was pretty awesome! It’s a great feeling to have tangible proof that all your hard work is paying off.
In your own eyes, what was the moment that your career took off? To me, I believe my career took off when I got my first major publication. I think I realized that modeling was something that I am truly passionate about, and I wanted to pursue it full time. It was my first taste of this new level of success, and it made me hungry for more.
What do you believe is the key to success for a model? What qualities does one need to succeed? To be a successful model, it requires more than just a pretty face. Having a positive attitude and professional demeanor are extremely important in this industry. There are a lot of beautiful women in the world, but your personality is what really is going to make you stand out!
Also, you have to have somewhat thick skin – meaning that rejection and disappointment are a huge part of this industry. I have been rejected from countless agencies, magazines and projects, but it’s never stopped me from continuing to try. You have to be willing to take rejection with a grain of salt, and never give up! I promise perseverance will pay off in the end.
What do you look for in photographers that you would do trade with? I specifically look for quality and style of photography when trading with a photographer. I am looking for someone who embraces beauty and is willing to think outside the box. I believe that images are the best way to tell a story, and I want someone that will be willing to help me create that story. To me, modeling is an art form, and I would be happy to work with photographers that share my vision, and are willing to push me outside of my comfort zone to create art that has meaning.
Stephanie, what’s going through your mind when you’re modeling in front of the camera? Head up! Shoulders down! Smile! LOL – I am very conscious of my body movements when posing. I am constantly processing the effects of the lighting sources, as well as the changing location of the camera. I also try to always think about the next pose, and how I want my facial expression to compliment my movement.
When you do you feel most glamorous? And… What makes you feel sexy? I definitely feel most glamorous at photo shoots – I think that’s part of the reason I love modeling so much. There’s something about getting my hair and makeup done that makes me feel so confident and sexy. I’m also a total girly-girl and love shooting in designer dresses & ball gowns.
What are you doing to prepare yourself for a shoot? Any little rituals for luck beforehand? Before big shoots, I will often sit on Pinterest for hours and get inspiration from top models on ideas for posing. I also try to do relaxing activities, like getting a facial or a manicure. Stress is an easily visible expression on camera, so I try to do non-stressful activities. It’s also very important to drink water and get a lot of sleep before shoots to look rested and alert.
Do you have any beauty secrets you swear by? Is there any beauty item you could not live without? Coconut oil is my secret weapon. I use a coconut and olive oil mask in my hair at least once a week to help repair damage and make it shiny and soft. I also use coconut oil as a lotion before bed every night to make my skin feel amazing. There are so many different ways you can use coconut oil, it’s definitely my go-to beauty product.
Stephanie, what do you think “beauty” is? How would you define it? Beauty to me is feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin. Beauty is being happy and accepting your flaws instead of trying to hide them. Beauty is being your unapologetic self.
What advice would you give to a girl who is body conscious? I was body conscious myself for a long time, however I learned quickly that the things I was most self conscious about, were the things that made me stand out. Your flaws are what make you beautiful, and what’s the fun in looking like everyone else?
In your opinion what is the biggest misconception about models is? What do people not know about model life? Models are often perceived to not work very hard and just smile for cameras all day. This could not be further from the truth. Models have to work extremely hard to constantly market themselves and network to get gigs. Modeling is not necessarily always glamorous either. There are a lot of early mornings, long nights, uncomfortable shooting conditions (like shooting summer clothing outside in the winter), and constant rejection. Models have to work hard to keep fit, stand for long periods of time in heels, etc. The list goes on and on. I have so much respect for other successful models because I appreciate the hustle and I know it’s not an easy job to have.
Is there anything you would change about the modeling industry if you could? If I could change anything about the modeling industry, I would change the height requirements for fashion models. There are so many talented petite women in the world, its sad that we still have such ridiculous beauty standards. 6 feet tall and size two is not the only body type in the world that is attractive. However, the standards have been changing slowly, so maybe we’re not that far off.
If you could have any model as your mentor for a day, who would it be and why? My biggest model inspiration is Candice Swanepoel. In my opinion, she is the most talented model in the world. I often study her photos, and use her as inspiration for my shoots. She is what I call a “human chameleon”, meaning she can adapt to almost any theme and make it incredible. She is a true artist in her craft.
Do you have any tips for non-models on how to look good in front of the camera? Practice! I know it sounds silly, but stand in front of the mirror and practice different poses. I do this before most of my shoots – it helps you get a better idea of what looks good and what doesn’t. And don’t forget to smile and have fun!
What role does social media play in your modeling career and your business? Do you feel social media has helped your career? Social media has played a HUGE role in my career. Being able to market myself online has allowed me to network with photographers and other models that I probably would have never met otherwise. I’m so thankful for all of the opportunities I have received through social media, and I’m also very fortunate to have such a supportive group of followers backing me.
Is there anything you’d like to do in the future? Someone you’d like to work with or something you’d like to accomplish? My goal is to continue pushing my limits, and defying the odds as a petite model in the fashion industry. I would love an opportunity to walk at New York Fashion Week one day!
Where can we see more of your works and get connected with you?
Fashion Blog: www.TheUrbanPetite.com
When you’re not busy modeling, what are some of your favorite things to do? When I’m not modeling, you can usually find me at the gym, or attending bikram yoga & kickboxing classes. I love to travel, try new restaurants, and spend nights out with my girls in the city. I also enjoy binge-watching seasons of Netflix shows on occasion.
What superpower do you wish you had? Why? If I could have any superpower, I would want to teleport. I hate flying, so that would make traveling much easier!
Please share something people don’t know about you. Something people don’t realize about me is that I am a total goofball! Don’t let the pictures fool you. I love to have fun on set and am always laughing and being silly. Never take yourself too seriously – life is too short not anything but happy.
Thank you, Stephanie!
Published April 2016 Vol I: BUY NOW