girl in blue floral kimono top holding a white Gucci tote for fashion editorial

What trying out modelling at 30 taught me

by Rasi

I have always liked to be a part of something creative. Art forms such as music, fashion and photography have always been appealing to me. However, circumstances, exposure and choice of career etc. did not give me many opportunities (when growing up) to actually try my hand at these. Cut to Australia in 2015, my friend and I decided to go watch the local fashion show and that was my first taste. Instantly mesmerised by the beauty of it all, I imagined that even getting into the scene somehow would be so gratifying!

Published in Out In Canberra for FashFest 2016. Vanilla’s first proper runway experience! This was the day after I had spent the night crying over the fittings of the clothes not flattering me at all (because all designers came prepared to fit a tall super-skinny girl!). Also wasn’t fit or confident phase of my life either really.

So,

Come 2016, the same event held open model castings and I braved up to go for the casting. Never before did I realise that walking in actual model-size heels on a runway would feel so much like trying to walk on stilts! But even before the walking began, I went to the venue and lost all my calm. All I could see was super young, mostly white teens who were tall and skinny. I mean that is how the room read at first glance based on majority. I was the COMPLETE opposite (she said with a face-palm).

Girl in white dress sitting on a stone in a river with red balloons in the river around her

Photo by Daniel Corrie. My first proper photo shoot where i took efforts to get these balloons and what have you. It is one of my most favourite shoot till date!

I stood out in stark contrast: too old, too brown and tooooo short. And definitely not in the best shape of my life back then. There was no going back now. I managed to not trip or fall on my face or break my neck. Success in my eyes, for first go. But I couldn’t stop feeling like I wasn’t enough. It is silly but I kept wishing I had better skin or more height or that I was younger-despite being a sensible person. More face-palm.

I stood out in stark contrast: too old, too brown and tooooo short.

Runway photo of girl wearing dark blue tee-shirt and colourful patterned puffer jacket and thick pleated gray pants

Photo by Martin Ollman for HerCanberra at FashFest 2017. My second year doing the runway show.

But..

I did get selected though. By accident. They mistakenly sent me the confirmatory email, which they intended to send to the girl AFTER me in the serial number. I found this out towards the end when fittings for outfits were happening by the way; after learning why every designer was surprised (and low-key disappointed) to see a short, old, brown girl. Sigh, I had a breakdown phase lasting a couple of nights but then I decided to make the best of it and work it. Not many people get such chances even by accident.

Girl wearing black sweater and sitting in a shopping cart in front of graffiti wall

Photo by Jack Mohr. My first and best photographer friend. Also surprisingly young! Opened my eyes about how crazy talented young artists are. Respect!

And

Everyone I met during this adventure was kind, positive and inspiring. All the fellow models were constantly enthusiastic to lift the other models up in any way possible, with compliments and absolutely any help anyone wanted. It was one of the highlight incidents of my life in 2016. I began learning how to connect with other creatives and produce something fashion-related with them.

Girl wearing red dress holding a Givenchy purse posing with a land rover car

Photo by Elfi Parzefal. One of my absolute favourite photoshoots because this is the image of glam that came to my mind when I dreamt of modelling

Everyone I met during this adventure was kind, positive and inspiring.

So began a series of trials and errors. I began chasing any and every photo-shoot opportunity. Multiple times I would have to face disappointment with the artist not picking me over other conventional models. I had to come to terms that some faces and personalties are just made for modelling just effortlessly; or they have the knack to just appear a certain way every time it’s required. Certain people are right for certain jobs and that’s that. If I wanted something, I had to make it happen myself and mainly, stand out more prominently.

Girl walking down the runway wearing indo-western outfit of golden-green crop top and palazzo pants along with a statement necklace

At the runway for Vitamin by Sonalika, in Melbourne, 2018. One of the designers I got to know during my first runway experience.

After crying a few times over bad photos, I realised that the makeup was also to be blamed*. Every makeup idea doesn’t just work on everyone without certain tweaks and adjustments for everyone’s individual features! Eventually I learnt how to do it best for my own face and how to use things smartly rather than follow the 97813647478 video tutorials online.

Studio photo of girl in short hair wearing gray matching skirt and top with orange leather jacket.

Photo by Alec Morris. Studio photography is my first love. I struggle, but it throws the absolute focus on the subject. The sheer magic it creates is what magazines have always portrayed as being the classic glam..

The point is..

We all want to chase our passions and we tend to get fixated on things we lack. We use them as excuses to never even make an effort. Things are actually simple if we just accept what our strong qualities are rather than obsess about what our shortcomings are. Just find what you like without worrying about age or time or other arbitrary boundaries that are just in your head! It could be the fresh start to things you dreamt of, even if it’s a bit later (or slightly different version of) than you planned.

Creative editorial in a pink bathroom with the girl sitting in bathtub wearing pink outfit

Photo by Jessie Petrie for Leiden Magazine, Published 2018. Long way from being intimidated by the camera, proposing ideas and collaborating with people I admire. This is from the creative editorial for the magazine and my most favourite creative concept ever!

We all want to chase our passions and we tend to get fixated on things we lack. We use them as excuses to never even make an effort.

Circa 2019, I still love the runway and I am still too short for it; and I still get upset over being not right for this. But I can’t thank my decision enough for what I pushed myself to do in 2016. I have found so many amazing people in random places only because I decided to pursue my love of fashion in some way.

More importantly,

This also made me see that what we see glamorised commonly, are really young girls who are made to look older with makeup and dressing. So many of the older women (meaning non teens or women not in their early 20s) getting upset over NOT looking like those glam girls is simply ridiculous! Because we are not vampires. Sigh.

Girl in activewear clothing posing sitting on the floor

Photo by Deejay Jukic wearing We Are Found Activewear. Fitness became a serious obsession and calming activity since 2016 too!

There is a reason why some features are more desirable in models, and also why really young models are sought after. They do not “need” makeup or extra care to maintain their size. That age group is just blessed with all the necessary attributes. Unless one is insanely famous or celebrated for all this to be overlooked. It doesn’t sound positive or happy but that is how the industry largely works. And I am nowhere influential or accomplished enough to blaze my own trail.

Girl sitting on bench wearing casual jeans and tee-shirt outfit with sneakers at a train station in Melbourne

Photo by Joanne Amarisa. Another young and intelligent creative who I adore beyond words. Just met her on Instagram and actually fell in deep admiration with! Just one of the example of how I made new friends with people far away..

I am grateful for a creative outlet and the experiences this journey has given me so far. All because I took just a single (and seemingly simple) step to just try something new. Not exactly life-changing to a dramatic extent but it did wonders for my confidence and mental happiness; gave me something to always be excited about and opened new avenues combining travel and fashion.

Cheat Sheet*

*Most makeup artists would just do the standard techniques that worked on most young Caucasian features. My skin is dehydrated and NOT in its happy teens or 20s. Pushing to explore the path of modelling actually gave me confidence to reject the trends blindly; and recognise that what is currently “in” might only be flattering for some people and only in seem so in certain frames. Holds true for life and other choices at so many levels too!

girl wearing lavender sweater and teal silk dress against pink wall

Photo by Lydia Downe. Yet another young talented photographer who I dreamt of working with for quite some time and finally made it happen!

Where’s the hygge?

This is not a Dear Diary moment. I thought I would share something to make a point. That point being: success and happiness don’t look the same for everyone. Like I have mentioned before here, I am still trying to narrow down what I am madly passionate about. But personal growth is its own kind of victory that does not get as much fanfare of being noticed or celebrated.

Laters, people!
XoXo

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12 comments

Ameya 07/14/2019 - 6:18 pm

Wonderful writing! Takes courage to leave your comfort zone and follow your passion!

Reply
Rasi 07/15/2019 - 9:34 pm

Thank you for taking the time to read! Being too comfortable in a pattern is such a hindrance for personal growth and intellect! Did not realise it till I decided to take just one tiny step. Failure or success in absolute forms is not the only story with everything we try. 🙂

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Shanna-kay R. 07/16/2019 - 10:17 am

Congrats on stepping outside your comfort zone, the sky is the limit now. I’m so happy you had other models around who encouraged you. Can’t wait to see you on runways in the future 😃

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Rasi 07/16/2019 - 11:05 am

Amen to that sister!😊😁
Having support and encouragement is the key to finding courage to explore and discover new things😊

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Sakshi Raina 07/17/2019 - 2:35 am

Thank you for taking us along in your journey. It takes a huge amount of determination to do something like this and i’m so glad you stuck with what you wanted to achieve and are constantly striving to get there xx

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Rasi 07/17/2019 - 11:57 am

I appreciate your support and encouragement. And beyond!🙏🏼😊 I guess I meant it to serve as an example of why we mustn’t let age or norm or our own insecurities get in the way of at least trying out something. Experiences are more important than end results and we often tend to forget that in our hustle. Thank you for all the love, babe!😃❤

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Tracy 07/18/2019 - 2:22 am

I so enjoyed reading your blog post! Congrats on doing something outside of the box and getting selected (Even if on accident) to participate in the show! I think that more of us should try new things because you never know what you might learn!

Tracy
https://www.findyourdazzle.com

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Rasi 07/18/2019 - 1:10 pm

Thank you so very much for reading and encouraging!😃🙏🏼 we go into things with only one idea and one end point in head. Little do we realise that the process is where the magic is at!😊❤

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Mind and Love 07/23/2019 - 4:09 am

Great post, Rasi! It took a great deal of courage to explore an area of interest that also felt foreign to you. I can’t imagine how it felt to find out that you were picked accidentally. It must have amplified the insecurities and nerves that you were already feeling. Yet, to push on and to see the opportunity in front of you is a great lesson to us all. While sometimes it’s easier to succumb to our anxiety and fears, there are pleasant surprises out there for us all if we are willing to push ourselves past our comfort zones.

Excellent post.

Roger
Mind and Love

Reply
Rasi 07/23/2019 - 8:23 am

Thank you for that Roger! It did feel horrible to be the accidental pick and did exactly what you mention to my self esteem. But I had such amazing people around me who were kind and reinforced that I should move ahead with confidence and make use of the opportunity. It made all the difference to be supported like this. There are definitely things worth going out of comfort zone for because we don’t know what skills we miss till we face these situations..
🙂

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Simply Beautiful SS 08/12/2019 - 1:55 pm

Great post Rasi ! Glad you found power and strength in yourself and stepped out to do what you were passionate about conquering all the odds. So inspiring and practical post that everyone can relate to. Thank you for sharing! 😊 xoxo

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Rasi 08/12/2019 - 1:59 pm

Thank you so much!💕 I may not have exactly conquered my fears yet but facing a few didn’t kill me and sometimes just finding that closure is good enough to find strength and confidence for many other things in future!😊

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