This Set Made Me Feel Truly Seen As A Beauty Model – Essence – Beautifaire

This Set Made Me Feel Truly Seen As A Beauty Model – Essence – Beautifaire

I’m no stranger to being the ‘just one’ in a room. It’s nostalgic— not preferred or cherished, but regrettably familiar. Akin to an old friend I don’t particularly want to see again, but we run in overlapping social circles and I’ve learned to play nice. Comparably more diverse, the modeling world feels just like the world I grew up in. An unwritten standard for appearance exists with little (albeit slowly growing) room for exceptions. 

After I first became a model, I used to be signed to my agency’s recent curve board. My agents were supportive and never expressed my size or racial background as being a barrier, but moderately something to have a good time. As I started working, nevertheless, the unspoken division between models who fit archaic standards and the trendy exceptions to the rule became clear to me. Persistently I discovered myself back to being the just one on sets after booking jobs where the casting was crammed with girls like me.

I understand today’s growing market and want for diverse representation in promoting. It makes me proud to be the type of model I desired to see as a young girl who cried in regards to the size of her thighs and the hue of her skin. It makes the journey price it.

Even with brands who sport splashy front-facing dedications to diversity, I noticed that the attitude behind the scenes was not all the time aligned. My hair has often been an issue to be handled on set or right before a shoot day. This has looked just like the client requesting me to have my natural hair, but hiring a hairstylist who doesn’t work with all textures. 

Or, it’s looked like me taking down my sew-in extensions and washing my hair the night before a shoot, getting my hair tightly cornrowed with heaps of gel the subsequent morning on set, only to clean it again; paying out of pocket to have my sew-in re-installed inside a 60 hour time period. It also appears in the shape of a stylist lamenting about having to seek out clothes in my size, as a consequence of such a deed being “a waste of cash” as they wouldn’t use them again. Or being coyly told to not eat an excessive amount of while grabbing breakfast before shooting. 

Every time something like this happened, I attempted to swallow my emotions in an effort to stay skilled. One time I cried a bit. The expression “death of a thousand cuts” is the closest descriptor to this pattern. On the brilliant side, these micro and macro aggressions are countered by like-minded hair & makeup artists, stylists, and more who’re ushering in a greater standard for practice within the creative industry.

This Set Made Me Feel Truly Seen As A Beauty ModelThis Set Made Me Feel Truly Seen As A Beauty Model

So once I showed up on set for the mysterious celebrity beauty brand shoot I booked and was met with diversity in every corner of the room– from hair & makeup to the marketing division– I knew I could put my anxiety to rest. 

After I sat all the way down to eat breakfast with the opposite models, I headed over to makeup. At this point, the identity celebrity I used to be working for remained mysterious. I noticed that every one of the makeup for use on my face were untitled bottles of Wyn Beauty products. This isn’t common with beauty campaigns. Industrial promoting laws only require the particular product being advertised for use for the point of interest of the ad. The remainder of a model’s face is commonly done with whatever products the makeup artist brings of their personal kit.

To my left was my hairstylist, a Black woman teasing an enormous afro wig. I believed back to a shoot I did earlier within the yr where the hair artist checked out me with a slight grimace and said, “Well, we’ll see what we will do with this.” He was sent home by the brand to retrieve a wig of a more suitable texture than mine to shoot me in. My confidence was crushed and the set was delayed. My hair was an issue. 

Throughout the day I chatted with various members of the Wyn team and observed the room. Directors, all levels of staff, and us contractors shared a capability to collaborate creatively and share excitement. At this point, I knew who I used to be working for. Her employees gleamed on the years-long journey they launched into to create the brand. There was a transparent sense of pride  coupled with a joyful anticipation for the launch. 

After ending my hair and makeup, I caught a ray of sunshine peering down from a high window. I instinctively grabbed an enormous 12 foot tall white board and brought it to the sunshine. I angled my face upwards while posing with one other model for an impromptu BTS shoot with the Social Media Photographer. It got here together naturally, there was a mutual freedom for creation.

The energy within the room was electric, and I used to be a completely happy conductor. I swayed to music with the opposite models as we waited to shoot our respective portions. The last step before shooting is styling, where my experience with the team was seamless. They happily consulted my opinion when selecting my look.

This Set Made Me Feel Truly Seen As A Beauty ModelThis Set Made Me Feel Truly Seen As A Beauty Model

By the point I used to be able to shoot, I felt an assurance that I hadn’t felt before while working. Typically I mentally repeat affirmations in an try to squash the nerves riddling my body. This time the affirmations were calm. My brain and body were in unison, knowing I’m doing exactly what I would like to do, exactly where I’m meant to be.

I got here off camera and the Chief Brand Officer approached me with a smile. She told me how impressed she was with the range of photos; each shot a wyn. I thanked her and expressed my gratitude for the way kind everyone had been thus far.

I gushed my praises on the marketing vision, and told her about my experiences studying and dealing in integrated communications. She listened and stayed with me briefly to debate her story working for Serena’s other ventures and her own profession. We shared chats about our ethnic background and stories of second generation immigrants.

By the point the set wrapped, the energy hadn’t left my body. I thanked everyone and left the set beaming with one other model, who I gushed with the moment we left the constructing. Because the sun began to set, I said my goodbyes and looked for a Citibike. I cycled into the sunset back to Brooklyn.

Models have a singular and intimate experience with brands that the common consumer or press don’t. We frequently have the primary outside interaction with beauty products or apparel, and we work closely with corporate teams. We are able to candidly observe whether or not a brand is true to what they sell, whether that be products or messaging. Nevertheless, our perspective often goes unmentioned when discussing a brand’s corporate social governance or ESG – environmental, social, and governance. In spite of everything, we’re just models.

On a private level, working with Wyn Beauty was the type of experience that left an undeniable imprint on my confidence. Moving from a university and company background to working as a model has include its changes. I went from being respected for my intellect or work, to being acknowledged for my physical appearance, performance, and perceived personality. 

From the highs of being on a Times Square billboard, to the lows of being ignored on set or having my hair fried off because I’m “only a model,” I’ve learned to adapt. Working with Wyn jogged my memory that there are individuals who truly acknowledge each. It was an experiential affirmation that jogged my memory how I will be valued on this career. My skin isn’t a token, and my hair isn’t an inconvenience.

This Set Made Me Feel Truly Seen As A Beauty ModelThis Set Made Me Feel Truly Seen As A Beauty Model

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