The Mantra of a Model; Defining Success While Freelancing

This week on How To Be Social we present a featured writer, Alivia Smith. Smith has been freelancing her model talent for the last year but it’s taken more than good looks to get there. In this story “The Mantra of a Model; Defining Success While Freelancing” Smith explains her journey.

We all have dreams for our future. It was over a year ago that I decided to chase mine, to be a model. After taking a twenty-week model training program, I graduated. Later I was invited to come back and teach these courses to new aspiring models. 
Teaching any kind of class was something I had never been able to do. It was exciting to teach something I was truly passionate about. I wasn’t necessarily shy before, but I had horrible anxiety when it came to public speaking. After taking these classes, I became comfortable speaking in front of people. Plus confident about the information and training I was providing. 

I now look forward to meeting new students who share my passion. Equipping them with some of the tools that help them achieve their goals is rewarding.

Diving into the Modeling Industry

During my time teaching, I ended up meeting my manager, Willie Johnson. He introduced me to the real world of modeling – wow. Teaching from the book is one thing, but diving into the industry while learning how to navigate it is another!

Finally, I was able to put my knowledge to use and participate in events, runway shows, and photo shoots. Willie guiding me every step of the way. These experiences have not only given me more information to share with my students but have helped me grow personally.

Working with him has made it increasingly important for me to embrace constructive criticism. I have learned to heed the advice given to me by people with more experience. You can’t take things personally, which is a lesson that can take a while to learn. Rejection is inevitable and hurt at first. I’ve learned that this is routine and doesn’t mean I am a bad model! You are rarely if ever, being attacked. I view criticism and rejection as an opportunity to improve.

From training, developing my portfolio, providing connections, and experiences Willie (and others) has truly altered the path I was taking to reach my goals. He helps me understand how the market works. What I need to do to get to where I want to be. On top of that he introduced me to a network of people that I can say I’ve had the privilege of working with.

My Advice to Freelance Models…

That being said, I know there are tons of freelance models who are driven and passionate about modeling. I encourage those people to research, learn, and practice the areas they believe will benefit them as a business! Regardless of your success thus far, there is always room to improve.

Photo by Lenny Wheeler IG @lennywheelerofficial

I’ve found that, although we are independent businesses, networking and working with individuals who are as goal-driven will help keep us on the right track. Maybe even reveal unknown opportunities. This is valuable tool I teach my students. While working through this industry try to connect with as many people at the bookings and events you attend.

Through training, modeling, and now teaching, I have learned so much and continue to learn every day. The journey to success is never-ending since there is always a new goal to strive for. 

It’s such a competitive industry and it takes hard work and dedication. Yolanda Hadid said, “If you are not the girl working harder than the other girls, there will be one more beautiful than you, one who is working harder than you.” Make yourself stand out! Be someone that people WANT to work with.

If modeling is a passion of yours, like it is mine, do what you need to do to prosper and embrace the challenges that come your way.


Jewels Clark