French Model Oceane Baleh: Believe in Yourself, in Your Dreams
Oceane, in short could you tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into modeling world? What was your motivation to be a model? Hello Sheeba, hello everybody. My name is Oceane Baleh, I am 21 years old, I’m pharmacy dispenser , and I’ve been modeling for 4 years. I’am based in Tours but I’ve been traveling everywhere for the last 2 years, especially to Paris. I became a model after I was spotted by a photographer on facebook, and things continue ever since. I continue to gain self confidence in this field. That was my first motivation when I started modeling. I also admit that I am proud to do that to silence the gossips. This is a revenge for me because my childhood wasn’t very pleasing, I was often criticized on my appearance “too ugly”, “too skinny”. Now they are finally quiet.
How has modeling experience changed your personal life? What did you learn? My life has changed especially in the eyes of others. I’m visible on social networks, magazines, people’s view has change because of that. The attitude of men changed too. Modeling is my passion, I always wanted more and I also wanted to learn to trust myself. I learned to open myself to others as it is very important in the environment that requires contact with everyone, to open conversations to ease the atmosphere on stage. It also teaches us to dig out the emotions inside. I think photography is a kind of therapy. I also learned to trust others more. Photographers know what is good for you, for your evolution as a model, they know how to bring the best out of you and I think we really need to listen to them. However, you shouldn’t force yourself to do something you don’t want to if you don’t feel it. The teamwork and communication is very important.
Do people act different around you since you’ve become a model? Yes, of course. As I said earlier for example, people from my middle school who made fun of me. When they see me today they regularly send their apology. The look of boys also changed a lot. Your family and friends discover you as a different person, but they support you. It’s very important for me. My little sister is proud of her big sister and it is too cute. But lots of people are trying to use your contacts and still manage to criticize you when you get successful. Criticism is part of the game. Sadly there is also a lot of jealousy. Many people are trying to use you. They talk to you for their interest, they try to connect with your contacts. I hate this. Personally, I only look for my contacts by myself as we say in France “one is never better served than by oneself”. Finally, what changed the most is that people are following my work. It is nice but it is crazy. I would never think of that . Since I was a little girl I looked at fashion magazines. I found beautiful girls, I dreamed to do the same and now it is me, it’s a dream for me. In my city I even meet people who recognize me on the streets, it is really crazy. I kwon I already said that, but I’m still amazed. People even come to greet me or girls asking me how to be beautiful, it is really touching.
What is the toughest thing about being a model? To have something more to match the expectations of photographers and casting directors. It is the little thing that makes you go further and it takes work to learn and manage different expressions, we must not be just beautiful. It is difficult to enter the world of different photographers, to please them and to reach their creativity .
What do you believe is the key to success for a model? What qualities does one need to succeed? It’s to be both oneself and different. Being able to change through the emotions. The key of success is also about meeting the right contacts and people that will help you climb. Also, don’t get big-headed, be respectful to the people who you work with and be motived. To my mind, motivation and passion are the most important thing. Nothing great is done without a passion.
Who is someone you feel has really influenced you? Do you have your icon(s)? Are there any models in the industry you look up to? The real person who influenced me when I was little girl is my grandmother. She always said that later I would be a model. She passed away, but what she said , always stayed in my head, and finally she was right. I’m sad she can’t see all of this. She would be proud of me. She is died…
Otherwise I love Blake Lively, Cara Delevingne, the creator Karl Lagerfeld. Of course I love the angels of Victoria’s Secret, they are so beautiful. I dream to catwalk for Victoria’s Secret, unfortunately I’m not tall enough and my body is not good enough (laughs). I also like to follow YouTube girls who do makeup, hairstyle and various looks. It gives me ideas, it’s interesting and gives a lot of beauty tips.
How important is it to have an established relationship with the photographer who captures your image? It’s the base of beautiful images. To get a good result, to be comfortable, expressive… it is always better to have a good time, it takes a very good deal of mutual trust also.
What do you look for in photographers that you would do trade with? I look for photographers who will make me move more. Who will make me change my world, help me change attitudes. They have to give their personal touch for my portfolio too. It also works both ways, they look for models that can bring something to their work.
What is one of the most interesting shoots that you’ve done? All were interesting in their different ways. Aurore D. Photography have helped me to be published in the magazines for the very fist time. Océane Moins and Alexis Salgues have changed me a lot. I also had a wonderful surprise to meet someone very interesting, one of my most beautiful encounter. Sometimes it brings things in your personal life too. As a designer / makeup artist, Sylvie Moreau and the incredible talent Yoan Perez Ladurée are memorable people.
Oceane, do you have any tips for non-models on how to look good in front of the camera? Establish a trusted relationship with the photographer, take care of your skin, your hair and sleep well to reduce the dark circles the day before a shot and come to a shoot with a good clothing style, it’s important.
What is the toughest criticism you have faced modeling? What do you most like and dislike about the modeling industry? The harshest criticism is being judged on my appearance and sticking me a label that does not correspond with my personality. It’s sad. What I do not like is the story of the height, if not a minimum of 172cm there aren’t many things you can do. What I like the most in this industry is challenges and meeting new people.
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? What is your dream modeling job? Continue making beautiful things, my dream would be to do a cover or a campaign for a brand, or a show for fashion week… I have lots of dreams actually but modeling requires a lot of work, patience and effort.
You have an amazing portfolio and you 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 for a nice compliment, it’s so nice. There are many but if I really have to name one I would say the publication beauty with Dutheil Dawn in your magazine, editorial “Luxury Beauty”, I find it very beautiful, that’s rare.
How do you keep your confidence up? Confidence is fragile, just believe in yourself and your dreams, try not to take too much criticism to a heart the and have good people that help you to keep confidence around you.
Do you have any beauty secrets or products you swear by? What’s your beauty regimen like? No, not particularly. I just take care of me, to have a good look, beautiful hair and a look that underlines my blue eyes.
What is going through your mind when you’re modeling in front of the camera? I try to clear my head up before and during the photo shoot, but I am always anxious to do well with attitudes, expressions, hand positioning…
Do you feel social media has helped your career? What is one piece of advice you’d give to a young model working toward building their social media profile? Of course, it allows us to be seen. Be careful, protect your privacy, to be careful of your look and to show your positive side.
Where can our readers keep up with your work and get connected with you? Yes, with pleasure:
When you’re not busy modeling, what are some of your favorite things to do? Do you have other ambitions outside of modeling or acting? Outside of modeling I love to go shopping, advise my clients at the pharmacy and spend time with my friends, my family. Creating something with someone and keep doing what I love in life (my work, photo). I am a very simple, I like things simple.
Do you have any advice for those who want to start modeling? To begin we must make a good portfolio/look book with different things. Believe in yourself, in your dreams and be careful not to become the big-headed.
What is the first app, website or thing you open/do in the morning? Why? The first thing I open in mornings is Facebook, I like watching the photographers news. My facebook friend list is mainly composed of photographers, models, makeup artists, and designers. I like to see the work of others.
What fashion magazines do you read? I read Vogue, Grazia and Sheeba.
What superpower do you wish you had? Why? I would go back in time, to reconnect with people who were important to me and meet people I have lost.
Tell us one thing about yourself people might find surprising. I don’t practice any sports, ever. I love secondhand market, I love sales and I have 153 pairs of shoes. Thank you very much for your time and kindness.
Thank you, Oceane.
Published in 2016 September/October Volume II: BUY NOW