By Sumer Dene
My mom was a model in the 1990s. I traveled with her as a baby at the height of her career. I was modeling in New York and traveling 20 years later. I had a manager in New York, a contract with MSA models in Los Angeles, and boutique agencies along the East Coast. I booked a national broadcast fitness commercial and was fortunate to be featured on the cover of magazines and a book. I flew alone on an airplane for the first time when I was 7 years old, and lived in small towns and big cities all over America. Here are some lifelong lessons and tips I learned from traveling and working as a model.
1. Less is more. If it doesn’t make you happy, get rid of it. I learned to get rid of the “junk” in my life in order to make room for what truly matters. Nothing you buy will add up to what happiness feels like.
2. Be Comfortable in your own skin. I felt like I had to fit a certain mold in order to be beautiful. We all come in different shapes and sizes, yet industry values numbers and symmetry. Much of what you see in advertising campaigns is photoshopped and curated by an industry obsessed with measurements and follower count. Is it ironic only an elite few determine the standards of beauty? People who measure value by appearance and status lead miserable lives. Be happy with who you are.
3. Just say “NO.” When you set boundaries, you respect yourself. Moreover, say no with diction. Make sure your voice is heard loud and clear. Remember, you are a product with a short shelf life. This is the reality because in modeling looks aren’t everything, they are the only thing. Know your worth and say no when something instinctively doesn’t feel right.
4. The importance of Healthcare and Skincare. I struggled with acne for years and tried every possible remedy to manage breakouts. I was prescribed expensive medicine and harsh chemicals that rarely produced positive results. Through research, I found effective and inexpensive products that personally worked for me. Nuvothera’s Super-Micronized Turmeric Curcumin is a natural supplement to maintain overall health and wellness. Nuvothera’s Turmeric combined with curcumin is super-micronized to achieve maximum absorption, potency, and bioactivity without chemical enhancers. Turmeric and its unique compound curcumin heal the gut and the body. Turmeric and curcumin reduce inflammation, help balance blood sugar levels, improve circulation, rejuvenate skin and retain moisture, as well as detox the liver. Since using Nuvothera’s Super-Micronized Turmeric Curcumin, I’ve noticed a major difference. I feel healthier, happier, and my skin is glowing. My choice of face wash is Cetaphil Facial cleanser. It gently cleanses skin without stripping natural oils. I apply a thin layer of Differin gel every night, a topical retinoid treatment that restores skin texture and prevents breakouts. These three products have revolutionized my skincare and healthcare.
5. Be prepared. No one tells models to develop self esteem before marketing items like makeup that covers the face and clothes that expose the body. This could be done by creating programs that teach young models strong core values and a positive self image. How are you supposed to know who you are when you hide behind a mask? The advice models get is to be natural. It’s easy to magnify flaws and lose sight of who you are when you live in a facade.
6. Take care of yourself. It’s just a job. It doesn’t define you. There is an obligation to be “picture perfect” in the competitive world of modeling. You are constantly sized up and celebrated by the way you look. To take care of yourself is a form of self respect, and no job is worth losing your sanity or self-worth.
7. Happiness is key. Home is a mindset, not just a location. Home is where you feel most comfortable to be yourself. You can learn from every place you visit and each person you talk to. Nothing has meaning until you give it meaning. Be happy where you are, regardless of outside circumstances.