The Carrot Blog

Carrot Creative is filled with colorful characters. Cultured Carrots is a series that shares the outside passions that inspire the very best work for our clients. This week, People and Culture Specialist Madison Olson gives us an inside look into the world of fashion modeling and what her experience was like in it.

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Carrot: How did you get into modeling?

Madison Olson: "Do you play basketball?"

Due to this phrase and the typical subsequent..."Well do you model?" is what got me thinking about giving modeling a try.

Originally, I never thought that it was "something I could do." But then, after a "traumatic" life experience when I was 21, I decided to drop out of college and give it a try.

C: What kind of publications have you appeared in?

M: Does being on the side of a bus count?

But on a more serious note… I've appeared in editorial pieces in various publications: print, online, etc. From Town & Country Weddings, to "The Ones2Watch", to overseas publications that I'll never be able to hold in my hand.

C: What's it like on a professional set?

M: It really depends which set you're on. Sometimes it's a whirlwind and sometimes it's calm, organized, and easygoing. I'd say the commercial sets I was on tended to be a bit more calm and organized, while high fashion sets tended to be a bit more chaotic.

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C: What is your most memorable experience from a shoot?

M: Do you want a good or a bad experience?

Good:

A. Early on in my New York "career", having Natalie Portman's husband, Benjamin Millepied, dance his way onto a dining table in a commercial we were filming, being snapped by "the paparazzi", and being on the cover on the New York Post the next day. It was like one great big tabloid hug welcoming me to New York City.

B. Wearing a Dior Couture wedding gown that dreams are made of on a bridal editorial shoot.

Bad:

Having a client that didn't speak English point to my hips, suggesting they were too big, and instead of releasing me, keeping me at the shoot all day to sit around and do nothing.

C: Why did you enjoy modeling?

M: I enjoyed the eye-opening experiences I had. From the people I met, to the events I was able to attend, to the opportunities that arose as a result… these are all experiences I would never have gotten to have if I wasn't "a model."

In a sense, I really enjoyed the characters you get to play when you're a model. From on-set to off-set, you're never fully yourself; because you never know who is around the corner. You must always be on. If you're looking for an "escape" of sorts, modeling can definitely be one. At the time, for me, modeling was an escape from facing reality… and myself.

And honestly, my favorite part of modeling was runway. I loved walking down the runway in gorgeous (and sometimes ridiculous) garments that I might (and probably will) not ever be able to wear in my daily life. I always enjoyed the madness behind stage during a show. Although it's chaotic, it's invigorating.

Runway (model) was definitely my favorite character to play.

C: What does it feel like to look at yourself in professional photos?

M: It's okay. It's basically like looking at a different version of myself (or someone who isn't me at all). I personally hate photos of myself (tiny violin playing). But when you're modeling, you're not yourself. You're playing a character (or some version thereof) that the client wants you to be.

It took me a bit too long to fully realize this. I used to be very critical of myself at every shoot, never wanting to look at my shots. Now when I look at my modeling photos, I don't even really see me, I see some thing that someone wanted me to be in that moment.

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C: What advice would you give to someone trying to get into modeling?

M: Until standards change in the modeling industry, you're most likely going to have to push yourself, mind and body, to extremes. So, the best advice I can give is to just try your best to not get mired in all of the negativity and rejection.

I've never been afraid of professional rejection, but I allowed myself to constantly hate my body, not because I wouldn't get a job, but because of occasions when I would get a job and people would still criticize parts of my body. Don't let this get to you.

If you get to a job and the stylist is making remarks about your hips or one of your other body parts being "too this or too that", tell him or her to hire a new casting director (don't actually say this. Don't. That's a bad idea. Just think this in your head).

It's true what they say: you are your own worst enemy. And you can't force your body to be something that it's not. Work hard, but don't lose yourself while trying to fit into an industry's ideals.

In this scenario, "It's not you, it's them."

C: Anything else you want to say?

M: Overall, I'm glad I ventured into modeling. And I'm thankful that I got the experience of being a "working" model in New York. It gave me experiences I never would have been opened up to otherwise. In fact, I might not have found Carrot Creative if I hadn't given modeling a whirl.

Would I do it again knowing what I know now? Yes. Do I think it's healthy? No. Would I recommend modeling to a friend? Sure. Your body, your rules.