Model Coordinator / Casting Director

Interview by Charlie Price
Edited by Tiaja Pierre

You have been modeling for many years – what do you most enjoy about it – and how has the industry changed since you began?

What I enjoy the most about modeling is being a piece of the puzzle that makes a complete picture. As an art form, this is one area that is difficult to achieve a finished project without the contribution of other artists. I find joy and satisfaction in being a part of those teams. It is the difference between running a solo race or being on a relay team. The fun is getting to the finish line with each other.

The industry has changed so much in the 43 years I have been here. Things like pictures being taken on film and photo editing not being available meant you had to be sharp, quick and consistent in your posing, your skin had to be blemish-free and every hair had to be in its place. You maybe saw a contact sheet of images that were about 1 inch by 1 inch in size and you examined them through an eyepiece that magnified them called a loop. There were many less to review and if you did not get the image needed, it was back to the drawing board…which incidentally was not a good situation, and nobody was happy about this.

Today, with digital cameras, we take hundreds upon hundreds of images at once and inspect them on a computer screen anywhere, frequently as they are being captured. The photographer can “fix” a lot of things, like the occasional pimple, a bra strap showing and remove flyaway hairs, which means more images are workable, but it also means the models can get a bit lazy about posing and waste some time being silly in front of the camera.  This, by the way, is rarely appreciated because time is money and being silly is mostly only fun for your mom and dad, but not usually for a client that is paying you. The upside of technology also means that models are not immediately shelved after they have a baby of if they have a mole on their face. It is amazingly helpful to be able to see what you have done while you are working to make adjustments, so the risks of having an unsuccessful shoot are greatly decreased.

You have acted as a manager – shoot producer – photographer – model coordinator for large fashion and hair shows and produced runway segments – which of these did you enjoy the most and why? Or do you crave the variety of these various projects?

I do like them all because variety is the spice of life and they all offer something unique. I find satisfaction in other people’s moments of success, so regardless if I am directing a model in a photo shoot or keeping him/her properly informed and moving forward towards a good performance on the runway, I feel the same happiness when we hit a jackpot moment.

What is the most important piece of advice you can give an aspiring model?

The 3 P’s…Be punctual. Be prepared. Be pleasant.  After that, I would tell them that the best improvement you can make to yourself going into it is to make sure you have a good self-esteem. There are more no’s than yes’s, more critique than praise and the expectations are high, so a thick skin is helpful if you want to your career to last more than a year.

You have recently done some hair modeling how is it compared to fashion modeling?

The biggest difference is that you are going to be prepped for a lot longer for hair modeling and your scalp is going to be tender for a few days. So, I guess I would say that physically, hair modeling is harder, but it is also really fun because the changes are so dramatic in comparison to fashion modeling and you generally have the opportunity to embrace a new persona for a bit, and who doesn’t like that?  I mean, we have been doing it since we were children.  I clearly remember feathering my hair and playing Charlie’s Angle’s with my girlfriends and it was the hair that transformed me from little Jules into Jaclyn Smith.

Do you see yourself modeling into old age or do you think you will retire at some point?

As long as there are people that want me to model for them, I will be a model.

It is so ingrained in who I am that I think it would be the equivalent of suddenly changing my eye color, which is never going to happen.  However, I do find there are certain limitations that I have to confront now, like wearing high heels. This is incredibly painful for me now after decades of wearing ill-fitting, skeletal challenging footwear. I strongly discourage young ladies from wearing high heels for extended periods of time.  If you are wearing them to the office and walking about for 8 to 10 hours on them, you are not doing your future self any favors.

What does being a citizen of The West mean to you?

I have been fortunate to have traveled in my life to places as close as Kansas to as far as Fiji and I love the world we live in.  It is beautiful and full of history and interesting people. But despite my pleasure in being a visitor to these places, I love coming home to Colorado. It is not just the lack of humidity and bugs that reminds me of how lucky I am to live here thought, it is the people.  I find them to be down to earth, active, involved and welcoming to new ideas, new ways of doing things and new people.  I think I am lucky to live in a place that is open to change while still honoring the past. I appreciate that I am one of many that need to continue to foster this approach to life and stand ready with open arms for newcomers.