“I love where I’m at now, I just wish I could’ve gotten here sooner!”
Jake, let us know more about you as a model. I worked at a professional theatre in Tennessee when I was fifteen and through that, I met some local photographers, who I started modeling for on the side. Currently, I’m based out of Chattanooga Tennessee, but I love traveling and am always down for an adventure. I’m signed with 6:12 Model Management out of East Tennessee.
What do you find the most challenging part about being a model? Honestly, the most challenging part of modeling, for me, has been being comfortable in my own skin. I have a very theatre-heavy background, so I always want to become a character and put on a metaphorical “mask” for the lens. Sometimes, that’s encouraged, but most of the time, the photographer wants to see “you” and capture your true essence with the images.
Which of the projects you have worked on are you most proud of and why? There was a Carnival-type shoot I did with photographer Eric McKinney of 6:12 Photography that was very rewarding for me because we were able to find a cool mix of creativity and high fashion within the shoot. We were climbing on ferris wheels and hanging from rusted bars. It was a very raw and satisfying creative process. It was incredible to see the shots we captured.
What keeps you excited about modeling? The variations of the job. I never know what I’m going to get called to participate in. Will I be walking in a runway event covered in body paint? Shooting for a nationally-known designer like Paulie Gibson? Auditioning for a spot on a television show? I’ve been given some very exciting opportunities.
How important is it to have an established relationship with the photographer who captures your image? I’m a firm believer that the model and photographer must have chemistry to pull of truly stunning photos. Photographer Eric McKinney and I are good friends, so he knows how to communicate with me to pull out the poses and get the shot we’re working toward. I think any professional photographer needs to develop that kind of good communication skills and should be able to connect with the model to make them comfortable.
What was the craziest thing to happen to you at shoot? I’ve yet to have anything truly insane happen to me on a shoot, but knowing me, something crazy is bound to happen soon. I’ll let you know!
Is there anything you wish you had known when you first got into modeling? That I could do it! If I could go back in time and tell my fifteen-year-old self anything, it would definitely be something along the lines of, “You can do this! Don’t be self-conscious.” It took me into my early twenties to really find a good solid sense of “self.” I love where I’m at now, I just wish I could’ve gotten here sooner!
In your opinion, what do you believe is the key to success for a model? What qualities does one need to succeed? A strong model needs a good work ethic, a sense of style, individuality, and a thick skin. You have to be able to handle criticism. Modeling can be harsh, and you wont personally fit the “look” that every client is going for. You have to be able to take all the “no’s” and channel them into a drive to work harder and be better.
What are your favorite genres & styles of modeling? I love high fashion and anything out of the ordinary! The darker and more theatrical, the better. I’m always excited to do anything edgy.
Jake, what is your dream modeling job? I’d love to work for British fashion designer, Alexander McQueen.
What’s something you haven’t achieved but hope to in the future? Someone you’d like to work with or something you’d like to accomplish? I’d like to be in a national/international campaign at some point, that would be awesome. I’d freak out.
What is your advice to aspiring models? Work hard and put yourself out there. You’ll get a million “no’s” for that one “yes.” Keep working towards what you want and embrace your individuality.
What’s your favorite / most memorable direction a photographer has ever given to you? Anytime a photographer gets excited because of a pose or “look” I’m pulling off for them really excites me. It’s a collaborative process, so it’s always amazing to know you’re in tune with each other. This is one of the things I’ve come to appreciate most about working with photographer Eric McKinney, he knows how to provide criticism when the shot needs help but he also takes the time to provide encouragement and feedback when I’m really on point at a shoot.
Where can we see more of your works and get connected? I’m an Instagram addict, so you can find me on there as @JakeWaters7. You can also find my 6:12 Facebook page under “Jake Waters, 6:12 Model“.
Do you have other ambitions outside of modeling? What are your hobbies or secret talents? I’m a major health junkie, and I’m currently studying for my personal training certification. I’m also looking into a two-hundred hour yoga certification.
Tell us one thing about yourself people might find surprising. I love tattoos and currently have eight of them.