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Interview with Supermodel Beri Smither

model beri smither with interview

Photo by Susan Bowlus

SM: You’ve had a super successful modeling career. What was it like for you to be the new kid on the block?

Interview with model Beri Smither

Photo by Magnus Reed

BS: “Being the new kid on the block was very exciting and scary too because everything was so new and I was still a teenager. I was 17 and all of the sudden living in Paris. There was a lot of attention paid to me from the agency, photographers and all the other professionals involved in the fashion industry. I learned very quickly that I had to actually teach myself how to model. No one was going to show me. I remember being on my first shoot in Paris with Gilles Bensimon for French Elle. I loved being dressed in the amazing clothes and having my hair and makeup done by the artists. I felt so special and beautiful. Then I walked onto the set and stood there waiting for the team behind the camera to motion to me or show me how to pose and model. I thought I was suppose to do something specific…something they wanted. But that is not how it goes at all. They were actually waiting for me to do my thing! So I learned very quickly that I need to “bring it” to set! Once I understood that then I began experimenting, playing, in front of the camera and I also watched every single model I ever worked with. My own intuition and watching the other girls was how I learned to model and still do today. I always need a new fresh tip and / or idea. Another great memory from my early days was shooting in Milan with Patrick Demarchlier and Christy Turlington. I was in total awe shooting with Christy. I LOVED her as a model. I had her tear sheets on my wall back in Oregon all through junior high and high school. And then there I was, on a set next to her… It was very surreal and amazing! The overall experience of traveling and being exposed to such great people allowed lots of growth opportunities to push myself in spite of any fear that crept in. It enabled to be independent quite quickly as a young woman which in turn taught me so much about being an adult and being responsible for myself.”   SM: What was it like being surrounded by models, some supermodels? BS: “Often we hear of catfights among fashion models. They are portrayed on reality TV all the time. Luckily, I didn’t experience anything like that! The fashion business is like every other business. There is every type of person and personality involved. It’s a business of collaboration. There are relationships new and old. And of course, there are the same politics that you will find elsewhere. Fortunately, I did not have many negative experiences.”

Interview with model Beri Smither

Photo by Michael Thompson

SM: What was a challenge for you? BS: “The challenge for me, and I think other successful models, was to keep it all in perspective. I was lucky to be traveling, making money, and being exposed to so many opportunities. I tried to continually remind myself how lucky I was. After being a model for 23 years and still counting, I still need to keep it all in perspective by remaining grateful and in reality.” (more…)

Always Keep An Open Mind

Always keep an open mind. For those who don’t know me. My career actually got started at the age of 1 when I shot my first commercial. I have been very fortunate to be able to say I literally have been a working/paid actress my entire life. Living in Orlando, most do not realize it is actually pretty strong in the commercial category, especially with all the amusement parks. It wasn’t until about a year and a half ago I really started pushing and dreaming of becoming more of a print/fashion model. My mom was very supportive, but always kept telling me she sees me more on TV and on the movie screen. But I am a teenager and of course always wanting what I don’t have, I really have become very determined to make it in the fashion world.

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Photo by Jessie Dee featured in Lucy’s Magazine

I have worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to accomplish my new passion. And though I absolutely love the click of that shutter on a camera, I do love movies and TV. I almost forgot how much. As you know I am 18, but my range for commercial is 16-20. That is probably the worst age range in commercial category. Most commercial of course always love the kids and tweens, but not much for the older teens, the category goes into the young adult stage. I still have a hard time passing for young 20, so it was a perfect time for me to focus on fashion and print. You have to be versatile in the business to try and keep ahead of the game, and keep constant money flow. Most models want to be in actors, but not all actors want to be models. It is a funny line to cross. But having worked in both, I have to share. Acting is definitely more lucrative. For example, I worked on a national commercial for one day, and made enough money to buy my new car! Modeling has definitely not been that good to me yet, I have put a lot of money and time into it. Its weird in modeling so many times, the editorials or runway shows are free for exposure so in reality you pay for gas, time, and parking. I have never been asked to do any acting for free!! With that said, only big downfall about the production side is a lot of confidentiality clauses. Modeling loves social media, bts pics, and bragging can begin instantly. But on the contrary, with production. Now when you arrive on set, you even have to check in your phones and if caught with cameras or computers, someone will escort you off set and will not be asked to come back. NO matter who you are. I have been so busy lately and cant share a lot of it. I can tell in no detail- I shot for the finale of ”Celebrity Apprentice” will tell more after air date in August!! I went to the keys and worked 2 days Netflix- untitled new series. And will be making my big screen debut in 2015. Just got back from working 7 days of filming on a MAJOR motion picture. I can share no details or title… which is killing me. But I will be going back in August for another couple weeks of filming. I cant wait to tell. I forgot how much I truly love, and am memorized by true deep heart felt acting! I had the best experience of my life. I had lost my drive for the acting world because I had been doing it my entire life, I thought I wanted something new and different in the fashion world. Not that I am giving that up, but I am rejuvenated with the desire of believing my mom was right. Just want to share how easy it is to get caught up in things. But keep an open mind, don’t have blinders on. Always stay true to the real you!! This business will chew you up and spit you out, you have to have thick skin and short term memory about not getting jobs. And a big thing, just because you want something really bad doesn’t mean that it’s the thing for you, sometimes we all need a reality check and have to reevaluate things at certain points. I am a country girl and there is a country song, “Thank God for unanswered prayers.” Best advice ever? Believe in yourself, be true to yourself!!

Do you want to model?

Why do you want to be a model? There are lots of people out there wanting to model as a career. I suggest getting out a pen and paper and truly ask yourself, why? Is it to get rich, get famous, or because you love fashion and pictures? I hope you are not in it for the money when you first start. I have been working in the print/fashion industry for about a year and a half now. It isn’t easy and usually not as glamorous as it seems. Here are a few facts from my personal experience. Now I know and must emphasize to you, everyone has different experiences.

by Carlos Velez

Shot by Carlos Velez; Hair and Makeup by Ali Lee

But when starting…

Runway
Most fashion shows are free. Even the big ones like Miami Fashion Week or Swim Week, pay only $75.00 to $350 per show or designer. And if you don’t live in that area you have to figure gas, hotels, and parking.

Pictures/comps
This one is tricky. Your portfolio needs to be updated constantly! Good pictures need good photographers, good hair and make-up, and styling is a plus! That adds up quickly and is very high before you know it, you have spent thousands and then it’s been a month and you need to update them again.

Trade for Tears
Models do editorials for tear sheets for their books. Most of these you will do are done for “trade”, which means free. You need stuff for your book, and a photographers will do the same for theirs. But remember nothing is free, e.g. gas, clothes and time.

Agency Websites
Even after you get lucky and sign with a big agency. You have to pay to be on there website! Most of the big agencies will just take it out of your checks when you get a job, but there is still a fee! They constantly update your comps, and you also pay for that. (more…)

What are the Different Types of Modeling?

Megan Lessard- New Version Models

Hi Guys! I am back from Model Boot Camp. I could spend some time writing about that. It was diet, exercise and learning how to take care of myself in a different place/country. Honestly, that is not enough for an interesting read.

There is something I have thought about for a bit. Many newer models don’t seem to know the different types of pictures you can have in your book. Some are very specific for different markets. I am not an expert. This is MY OPINION. I state this because I fully expect to get grief. I love my wonderful photographer friends and I know many of you will disagree with pieces of the next paragraph.

First—Hold off from taking any nudes for as long as possible. That includes implied nude. Implied nude is where you do not actually see anything but the idea that you are not wearing a shirt is there. Nude is nude, whether you see the privates or not. Once it comes off, it can’t be put back on. My opinion… NEVER post those pictures on Facebook/Tumblr/official websites or social media. Never do behind the scene pictures/videos of those shoots. That just looks trashy and unprofessional. Nudes can be very artistic. Placing them on social media, in my opinion cheapens them. Why would someone pay to see that beautiful picture if they can simply download it? Also, if you are not 18, it is not legal to expose certain parts of your body. Know the laws of both your country and region. That does not mean that as soon as you are legal you should flash it around town. It is not that I am personally against nudes. I actually like nude modeling. I just believe strongly that it should be saved for when the model has reached a level of modeling where they understand the full implications of the pictures. You can be a model and not go nude until you are completely comfortable.

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Tanya for Sportweek Dreams 2014

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Sportweek is an Italian weekly magazine that can be seen as the equivalent of the American Sports Illustrated. Sportweek Dreams is a yearly special issue that features great beauties, hot bikinis and breathtaking beaches. I was honored to be part of the 2014 issue!!

I will always remember my reaction when the photographer gave me the news. He said something like “get ready, you’re coming to Brazil!”, and I thought he meant I’m on option but he was actually confirming me for the shoot. Usually, it’s your agency who lets you know, but this time (since I knew the photographer already) it was up to me to write an email to my agent letting them know I was confirmed. I started to jump, I called my boyfriend crying on the phone. I called my mom in such an awe. I was so so happy! A dream come true because it’s the first time that a curve model is used.

I didn’t get on a dramatic diet, but I did work my ass harder at the gym. I wanted abs so I increased my kick boxing sessions from once a week to twice a week plus yoga, running and lifting weights. Again, nothing too extreme… a bit more than what I normally do. I just wanted to feel good about myself. The hard work paid off!

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