Interview with Model Whitney Norman: Never Get on Set and Expect Too Much

“I think beauty comes in all types it shouldn’t be portrayed to one standard.”

Model Whitney Norman, www.wlamodel.com


Whitney, can you please shortly introduce yourself. How did it happen that you became a model and what keeps you excited about modeling? Ever since I was a little girl I grew up watching Americas Next Top Model. Tyra Banks really inspired me to start my journey of modeling she is truly inspirational. After graduating high school and moving to Charlotte, NC I auditioned for my first fashion show Charlotte Seen. I was chosen to model for Anita Turner a very talented designer and was much honored to wear her designs. This show was my first modeling experience inspired by watching Tyra Banks Americas Next Top Model.

What is going through your mind when you are modeling in front of the camera? When I’m modeling in front of the camera I like to sense a vibe or connection from the photographer. I try to capture a vision through the lens from both the photographer and I. When the photographer is shooting me I try to keep my energy alive, passion in my eyes, and think about what angles work best for the garment I’m wearing.

How has modeling experience changed you as a person or your personal life? Do people treat you any differently because of what you do? I feel like it has giving me more exposure and respect as not only a person but model. People see that modeling is my passion and I put all my heart and energy into it. I think it has changed me for sure I’m more confident in myself considering I grew up being picked on and called ugly. It has made me push myself more show people I have what it takes to be a model. Also having other models say that my journey is the reason why they have pushed through and started modeling really makes it worthwhile.

In your opinion, what is the toughest thing about being a model? The modeling industry standards of how a model should look or agency requirements. I think the biggest challenge for me is runway and I don’t meet most agencies requirements of 5’ 9 or taller.

Is there anything you would change about the modeling industry if you could? I would change certain standards or ideas of beauty in the industry. I think beauty comes in all types it shouldn’t be portrayed to one standard.

How would you describe yourself as model in three words? I would describe myself as Modeling for Art. I feel like modeling is about capturing art through the lens of the camera. It’s about looking through a magazine flipping through pages and pages until finally stopping on that one picture. Something about that photo draws your attention, makes you wish you were the model captured in that very moment. My goal is working with the photographer to make art and bring concepts to life.

Something that most people don’t know about models is that we . . .? …are very determined modeling is a drive you either have the passion for it or not. It’s not all fun and games it takes patience and time to build a brand for yourself. It also takes a lot of dedication, and long hours for shows or photoshoots. Stepping outside your boundaries when working with different clients, photographers, runway shows, etc.

Do you have any advice to girls who want to get into modeling? My advice is to research the industry, and invest in yourself. Figure out where you would like to take your modeling and focus on it. Always trust your gut if you’re not comfortable with something or someone never feel afraid to say no. Every time I’m approached by a photographer or client I take the time to research before saying yes, or agreeing to a contract. The industry can be dangerous not everyone is looking out for your best interest or trying to help. Models should always be careful and learn about the industry, to avoid scams or false representation.

Would you have any tips for non-models on how to look good in front of the camera? My favorite tip is to be yourself, never get on set and expect too much. Come prepared meaning get enough rest before the shoot, and I usually drink a lot of water and eat light before shooting. Always have a positive attitude and try listening to the direction of the photographer. Photographers can see what models don’t when shooting in front of the camera. Study facial expression and practice posing in a mirror, or try looking through magazines at different posing from models.

Would you have any beauty secrets to share? What beauty item could you not live without? My beauty secret is drinking plenty of water and my favorite beauty item is the tea tree skin clearing clay mask from The Body Shop. I love this product because it always leaves the skin looking fresh and clean. I think taking care of your skin is important when modeling. Sometimes agencies or casting calls for shows will ask to submit pictures or audition without no makeup. So having good skin plays an important role in being a model in front of clients and agencies.

What from your point of view makes the photo-session successful? Both ends of the camera photographer and model coming on set with a vision. I love talking with the photographer beforehand on makeup, wardrobe, and concept. Communication plays a very big role both need to agree on what is wanted out of the session. Also both minds need to come together one shouldn’t be off from the other. If the model or photographer doesn’t agree on something it needs to be discussed and handled before getting on set.

What do you look for in photographers that you would do trade with? I look for creativity and if we can put our ideas together before getting on set. I also look for a positive attitude, and research on previous work from the photographer’s portfolio.

If you could have any model as your mentor for a day, who would it be and why? It would definitely be Tyra Banks because of her drive and ambition. She is the reason why I started modeling from watching Americas Next Top Model. She is not only a model but a business women who has started her own makeup line Tyra Beauty. I love the fact that she didn’t stop at modeling but continued on and started her own business. She has also opened up the door for so many models, and showed us despite obstacles to keep pushing and pursing your dreams.

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? In the future I would like opening up my own organic baby boutique inspired from my son or modeling school. I love babies and think they deserve the best and who wouldn’t want to see cute faces all day. A modeling school would also be my dream to help other girls learn the industry. Teaching young or starting models how to be successful, and helping them learn the pros and cons of the industry.

In your honest opinion, how important is social media in changing and developing concepts of beauty? I think social media is very important considering most of society uses it. Target audiences and generations are always changing on the way people see and view things. Something that was in and worked in the past may not work now considering people view on things or concepts change. Social media is a great way to market to a large group of people.

Where can readers get connected with your and see more of your work? My website www.wlamodel.com ,Instagram  @wla_model4art

When you are not doing shoots/booking work, what can people expect to find you doing? Do you have other ambitions outside of modeling? People can expect me to be hiking or spending time with my son who I love so much. Also I love belly dancing which I need to get back into doing a very good workout and fun class.

What is something you want less of in your life? What about more of…? I want more peace and people coming together in life, despite differences and obstacles. What is the last book you have read? Ummm can we change that with the last magazine I read lol which was Vogue. I think as a model it’s so important to look at magazines to get ideas of posing and study angles and facial expressions.

One thing that bugs you about humans is that…? One thing that bugs me about humans is the lack of building each other, and everything is looked as a competition. I think if people spent more time coming together instead of tearing each other down a lot more could be accomplished.

What are you currently obsessed with that people might be surprised to learn? I’m obsessed with pigs especially micro pigs I think they’re so cute. My dream is to one day have a yard full of pigs big and small.

Thank you, Whitney.


Published 2017 June Vol I: BUY NOW