Because Nobody Says “Follow Your Brain”

It’s not every day that you start a new career- especially not after finding yourself in a consulting role for the largest software company in the world.  Now, I won’t say that I’m hanging up my marketing/consulting hat by any means, but I am certainly exploring a world I always wanted to pursue but didn’t have the slightest idea of where to start. It’s a bit (read: very) intimidating, particularly at my age to start down a path in modeling, but the feelings of exhilaration and empowerment far outweigh that intimidation and hesitation. It would be much more difficult to be doing this if I wasn’t being supported by my wonderful husband and some close friends. However, I won’t name names, but someone very close to me has chosen to not support this dream. In fact, this person has said things along the lines of “it’s a shame you don’t want to use your brain” and that it’s an empty career choice. I don’t want to even respond to those comments and lend them credibility, but I just had to put pen to pencil, so to speak, on my thoughts about that.

I think many of us are sleep-walking through our lives. I’ve been there before. Wake up, take a shower, go to work, go to the gym after work, come home, eat dinner, watch some tv, then repeat this 4 more days, before spending the weekend actually living. I’m all for having a stable career and predictable rhythm for yourself and your family, but what if that job you’re going to for 8+ hours a day is doing something that activates your brain but not your heart? I enjoyed my job at Reputation.com very much. I was there for more than 3 years, so of course I liked what I was doing (I am very quick to remove myself from situations that I feel are not a good fit for me). I loved my coworkers, we had a nice office space, and I enjoyed the actual work I was doing. However, my enjoyment for my job wasn’t something that burned in my chest or got me giddy before projects. The only time I did feel that way was before our annual customer conference, Transform, which I was responsible for planning and executing. When it came time to host the conference, I flew into part host, part performer, part marketer. It was my absolute favorite part of the job. Each year when it was over, I felt a similar lull and almost depression as I did after our wedding. I knew it was 11 more months until I got to feel that adrenaline rush again. Pursuing modeling is making me feel the way I felt during those customer conferences. That’s got to mean something, right?

In terms of what I’m contributing to the world through modeling, maybe it is truly nothing. But I don’t actually believe that. When I scroll through my Instagram feed, filled mostly by “curve” models like me (size 10 and above), I feel instantly empowered, and like I’m not alone. In a room full of models, I look around at our similar heights, and think “I’ve found my people!” Finally, a group of women who can all relate to the feeling I had for years, trying to shrink myself to the size of the people around me in any room that I was in. So maybe, when I post a picture of myself on Instagram from a recent photoshoot, someone out there who feels less-than for being larger than a size 10- or who questions whether or not she is beautiful because she is over the suggested BMI for her height, or needs to go to a special store to find jeans with her inseam, or can never find shoes in her size- sees it and feels as thought she’s not alone in her fight toward self-acceptance and self-love.

The other side of this argument that I’m making (for myself, not for my personal nay-sayer, mind you) is that to me, modeling is just a piece of the puzzle in a form of art. When a photographer takes a picture of a beautiful landscape, I doubt people say that the photographer isn’t “using their brain” or “isn’t contributing anything to the world”. A model’s job in many cases, is to contort or form their body to make a beautiful picture, captured by a photographer- an artist. Sure, in commercial modeling, it’s hard to call an advertisement for a grill or brand of frozen potatoes “art”, but it’s still an artform to be able to communicate a message or feeling using only your body. And, well, that requires using your brain too- maybe not the same way you use your brain to build out a project plan or write a technical guidebook, but there are multiple types of intelligence.

I shouldn’t feel like I need to defend my choice to model, but I think it’s difficult to understand when someone you love isn’t supportive of you. We naturally want the most important people in our life to be our biggest cheerleaders. But at the end of the day, remember that we all are born, we all live, and we all die. At the end of your life, are you really going to look back on the things you did because they’re what other people made you feel like you should do, and say “I did that for the right reasons”? We get one shot at this. You’re only young once, so make that crazy leap of faith into what your heart is guiding you toward, with complete disregard for those who question your ‘why’. You’ll never regret it.

Featured photo shot by Nathaniel Ortega (IG: NathanielEdits) of Denver, CO

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