Category Archives: RIZZARR

What Male Models Taught Me about Self-Confidence and Success


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.

Learning to Disconnect by Spending 24 Hours in the Wild

Smart phone addiction is a proven affliction. According to a study conducted at Nokia, users check their phones every six and half minutes, averaging 150 times per day.

There’s even a name for the fear of not having your smart phone: it is called nomophobia. In an age so dependent on technology, it is almost impossible to find someone without a phone in their hands. Even though phones are pulled out at the most inappropriate times, like church services and date nights, it has been proven that disconnecting on a regular basis is actually essential for your happiness and your mental and emotional well-being. During a recent camping trip, I thought I could spend 24 hours without my smart phone. I quickly discovered that it is not as easy as it seems.

hiker relaxing on mountain lake

The first thing I did when I arrived at the camp site was text my parents to let them know I had arrived safely. Right after that, I turned my phone off and vowed not to turn it on until I was back in civilization. This seemed like a simple task, considering my battery was only halfway charged and because I never thought I was a smart phone addict. A few hours into the camping trip, I had my first relapse.

In the beginning, I had not even thought about my phone once. We unpacked the cars, pitched our tents, ate our lunch, and took a walk to the nearby lake. My phone did not cross my mind as I took a nap and lazed under the sun. The first issue that caused my relapse was having my phone in my vicinity. Even though my phone was turned off, having it sitting next to me was an unnecessary temptation; I habitually tried to check the time or my text messages like it was a built-in reaction to merely existing. Every time, I was surprised to be greeted with a blank screen since nothing happened when I pushed the buttons. It was as if I felt like something was missing if I did not click on my phone. That is when I knew that it was an addiction, one that could not be shaken as easily as I had originally assumed.

The first way to avoid using your smart phone is by putting it away. If you can’t see it and you can’t touch it, then you won’t be tempted by it. When I left my phone in the tent while I was by the camp fire, I thought about it periodically, but I did not care enough to expend the energy to retrieve it. Out of sight, out of mind truly worked in this case.

The first relapse happened out of boredom. I had done all the “camping” activities like relaxing, eating, talking and exploring. The rest of my friends were taking their naps and sure, I could have read or played Solitaire, but I didn’t do that. In my defense, my boyfriend fueled my addiction by asking, “What if your boss emailed you?” In any other circumstance, I would have responded, “I’m on vacation,” but in my already fragile state of withdrawal, it was just the excuse I needed to turn my phone on.

The only explanation I have for why I chose my phone over my book is because my phone was closer. During a technological detox, you should keep the non-toxic substances nearer at hand for easy access and minimal risk of relapse. If it had been more convenient for me to pick up a book instead of my phone, I would have chosen the more reachable object just to keep myself occupied.

Upon turning on my phone, I noticed that the battery had depleted even more, so I quickly checked my social media sites and my email, without interacting with anyone, and turned my phone off again. It did not stay off for long. The group awoke shortly and we began talking. As it happens with conversations, some people disagreed or others brought up topics I was unfamiliar with. My reflex has always been to immediately whip out my phone and search for whatever it is that I wanted to know. That is exactly what I did.

Even though I can no longer recall exactly what I searched or what I learned, I craved the instant gratification of getting the answer to a problem in a heartbeat. In retrospect, I could have just as easily written down my question and researched it when I returned home. Yet, I needed to know the answer at that very moment and it caused an internal nagging that I could not ignore. This could have been avoided if I had left my phone far, far away and if I had kept a notebook and pen handy. Before I had a phone with a built-in notepad, I carried an old-fashioned one everywhere with me. I still do when I know I’m going to a place where I have to take copious notes. With this example, we see just how ubiquitous technology has gotten that they can replace books, ink and even face-to-face contact.

Our generation’s tech addiction has reached the point where we can’t spend a day in the woods without being plugged in, and that is not okay. It makes me wonder what a modern day Walden or Cast Away would be like if the main character was freaking out over their 4Gs rather than concentrating on survival or simply enjoying nature.

As I sit here, typing on my laptop, the Food Network playing in the background, and I check my phone again (just for good measure), I wonder exactly what it would take for me to truly disconnect. What would life be like if we were forced to revert back to the times when all we had for entertainment was a piece of parchment, a quill, a shelf full of books, perhaps a piano if we were lucky. Maybe then we could appreciate the solitude of the trees, the large expanse of the sky’s stars, and the company of great friends.

Originally published on RIZZARR.