South students pursue modeling, learn to accept rejection

STRIKE A POSE: Lounging in the laundromat (left), junior Amina Mayzel participates in a photo shoot. Mayzel believes it is important to act like your true self even when in front of the camera.

STRIKE A POSE: Lounging in the laundromat (left), junior Amina Mayzel participates in a photo shoot. Mayzel believes it is important to act like your true self even when in front of the camera.

Sarah Jones, staff reporter

For some students at South, the only place they strike a pose is in front of their bedroom mirror. However, other students have a much larger audience — the consuming public. On the day of a photo shoot, these student models go to sets, have their makeup done by professionals, dress in different outfits, and pose for a crowd. According to several student models at South the life of a model isn’t all glitz and glam. However, it teaches one about rejection and how to work well under pressure, as well.

Among the students at South who model is sophomore Jose Santos-DeSoto. Santos-DeSoto says his career in modeling began when he was about 10 years old. Throughout his years in the industry, Santos-DeSoto says modeling has helped boost his confidence, as he had to be more conscious of his appearance.

“[Modeling] made me more confident, instead of being self-conscious about myself,” Santos-DeSoto said. “I know no [agency] is going to take you if you’re shy so you’ve got to really step out there — be your own person.”

For junior Delaney Ehrhardt, her original intentions getting involved in the business were to become an actress, but she had decided to take it in a different direction — modeling. Ehrhardt says she has gotten a behind-the-scenes view of the industry which has been eye-opening and has taught her about the long process that comes before the perfect picture.

“You see advertisements almost every day and now having gone through the process, you can see like what really goes into it — a picture isn’t just a picture,” Ehrhardt said.

According Ehrhardt, as well as junior Amina Mayzel, they draw inspiration from models like Gigi Hadid. For Santos-DeSoto, he finds David Beckham to be his role model in the modeling world, as he is able to relate both to Beckham’s experience modeling as well as his experience on the soccer field.

“I look up to David Beckham because I play soccer and he’s a really good soccer player as well,” Santos-DeSoto said. “But then he’s a model, so he’s kind of the guy I aspire to be.”

According to Mayzel, the amount of judgment that takes place during auditions is extensive. Throughout a competition, staff at the studio would hint to other girls the steps they could take to improve their chances of advancing, such as not eating a snack, or wearing higher heels. Similarly, freshman Rachel Rochlen, who modeled from fourth to eighth grade, says the industry is very reassuring as a kid, but becomes less and less friendly as a model grows up.

“[At the high school age] is when the industry starts pressuring you to look beautiful, be thin, be tall,” Rochlen said. “They could push you into eating disorder or try to make you age faster. It’s just a very uncomfortable setting.”

According to Rochlen, the model doesn’t always get the job and must deal with rejection. Rochlen says she learned perseverance when she was turned down and that the healthy competition taught her to be responsible and how to present herself in front of adults.

“I learned how to handle rejection from a really early age,” Rochlen said. “Starting out, my agent told me you could go on 400 auditions and you could get one of them, so I just kept putting myself out there, kept getting sent back. I learned that it’s not personal, you’re just not what they’re looking for.”

But, according to Mayzel, she believes that anyone can pursue their dream to become a model in this day and age. Mayzel says she finds the modeling world to be looking for more than one type of person.

“It doesn’t matter what shape, size, color [you are],” Mayzel said. “Anybody can be a model.”