As a woman working in the world of men’s fashion, I interact with male models nearly every day. This may sound like an intimidating job, considering the statuesque perfection of these men. Yet, at the end of the day models are people, too.
Working with men that exude such a high level of self-confidence has taught me how to be more self-assured as well. Here are 10 things I learned about self-confidence from the men who do it so well.
1. Never talk negatively about yourself. Even if a model knows that he has an unsightly blemish or a weird haircut, he never mentions it. By not bringing attention to a quality that he does not like, it goes unnoticed. The same logic applies to your daily life. The second you point out that pimple on your chin is the second that people see that it’s there. You judge yourself more harshly than anyone else. If you can ignore the fact that there’s a stain on your shirt, chances are that everyone else will too.
2. Figure out what makes you look good and do it often. Every model has their “signature” look that highlights their best features, like being under a certain light to accentuate cheekbones. Models know exactly what makes them look good and they do it every chance they get. Whether it means finding your perfect shade of lipstick or how to style your hair, experiment with what makes you shine. Once you have it down, don’t pass up any opportunity to put it to use.
3. Ignore imperfections. No one is perfect, not even models. What differentiates male models from the rest of us is their internal dialogue. Even if they have razor burn and a tan that went awry, models still believe they are perfect simply because they are themselves. They don’t make apologies for who they are and neither should you.
4. If someone criticizes you, laugh it off. In fashion, people are highly critical. I have sat through numerous casting sessions where my sole job was to pick out every flaw a person has. During photo shoots, photographers comment about whether or not a model has gained weight or lost muscle definition. Models take criticisms in stride, make jokes about themselves, and are not too sensitive. For me, this tip comes in handy when I spend time with an overly critical person who finds pleasure in putting others down. Don’t let the negativity get to you. Rise above it and remember that you are perfect.
5. Compliment yourself often. This may seem unnatural to many, but to someone who spends a lot of time watching models admire themselves in full-length mirrors, it is necessary for your self-esteem. It does not have to be a vocal compliment, but if you catch your reflection in a store window, you can think to yourself, “My outfit is cute,” or “I’m having a great hair day.” By complimenting yourself, you build self-confidence.
6. You don’t have to be the best, but you have to be good. I have seen every type of male model stand in front of our camera; some are shorter than average, others are taller. Most do not have striking features to set them apart from a crowd. What do all models have in common? They are not the best, but they are good at what they do. There is enough room in the world for everyone to get exactly what they want. If you want to be a writer, people are always looking for something to read. If you want to be a doctor, people need healing. If you want to be an actress, people will always watch movies. As long as you’re good and passionate, you will make it.
7. It’s okay to eat carbs and whatever else you want. One of my favorite things to see during photo shoot day is a model eating a bagel. The first time it happened, I was pleasantly surprised. Models are notorious for having eating disorders and starving themselves to attain the “desired look.” It was refreshing to see that not everyone fits in a single mold, and even more reassuring to know that you can still eat carbs and have the body you want.
8. Don’t judge anyone for how they look because no one fits one stereotypical label; beautiful people are smart and overweight people are beautiful. Even though I work with skinny men every day, I have never felt inferior or judged for having some meat on my bones or a head of frizzy curls. Maybe it was my preconception that “beautiful people” think less of others or perhaps it was a false image portrayed by the media. Models are just people trying to achieve their dreams just like everyone else. And many of them have hobbies you wouldn’t expect, like playing chess with seniors on the weekends.
9. Wear sunscreen. In fashion, looks are everything. I’ll never forget that day a model came in for a photo shoot with a very intense sunburn. Unfortunately, we had to send him home. Even if you are not planning on posing in front of the camera, always remember to protect your skin.
10. Be where you have to be exactly when you’re supposed to be there. Like Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is just showing up.” Some models never make it to their scheduled castings and that is a shame because the majority who show up actually get hired. At one of my past interviews, I showed up on time. The first thing my interviewer said was, “Thanks for actually coming, and on time no less.” I got that job.
Originally appears in RIZZARR.