Posted on: March 17, 2024 Posted by: Comments: 0

There were times when I used to feel embarrassed to say anything out loud regarding a modeling career. I didn’t feel beautiful enough, had trouble liking my frizzy wavy hair and thought my tattoos would be another impediment. In a way, I cared so much about people judging me for pursuing something “way out of my league”, so I didn’t feel comfortable sharing this desire with anyone else. I also realized that being a model would imply having no guarantees regarding financial stability and saw it as a “gamble” that I couldn’t afford to make. In that period, the investment of my time should mean certainty of good returns. My life was pretty much about hard times until my teenage years and therefore I was shaped to be a practical and resilient girl. The practical “successful path” I could see was getting a good college degree that would allow me to find a “well paying” stable job. It took me a while, but I finally understood I would definitely want to be a model. I still remember how nice it felt to even talk about the dream that my heart kept buried deep.

One day, somewhere in the beginning of 2022, my boyfriend gifted me with a professional photoshoot, just for the fun of it. The idea was literally to provide me a “model day” and have me to enjoy myself. I was thrilled with the idea! The photographer appeared to be a nice guy, so he also took a few snapshots of me to send those to his friend who ran a model agency, which later led to an actual appointment. Just a week later I signed with my mother agency and about three months after that I got a direct booking for a well known ecommerce website in Brazil.

My first experience as a model was a funny one but it taught me a valuable lesson. The photoshoot was for about a hundred outfits, and I was very concerned about how to look good on all those photos. I remember I was trying too hard! Then the photographer suddenly asked me if that huge fan pointed at me was too strong — because of how much I was squinting. I said that it was, though in fact I just didn’t want to feel that embarrassed for my failed “model gaze”! That funny first experience showed to me that being a good model is not about trying hard, but about your inner thoughts, feelings and the way you interpret them to the camera. Yet, I believe you can show confidence to others by naturally being yourself.

After over a year in the industry I knew I wanted to be on the runway, but kept telling myself that it was not for me. I was worried about not being the typical teenage girl starting a model career and how being in my mid twenties could have an impact on my opportunities. Even so, I decided it was worth it to work on my body by changing my bulking gym goals and nutrition to become leaner, which I’ve easily adapted to my life as I’ve never felt healthier. With time, presenting myself with a clean face and natural looks led me to understand that, despite any beauty standard features, modeling was about enhancing my own natural characteristics and feeling confident in my own skin. However, I wasn’t that aware back then, and despite not having yet achieved the looks I thought I needed, and it being so close to the fashion week dates, I expressed my desire to my mother agency. Doing so was very challenging, since I thought I’d be turned down or told to try in the next season. Instead, they were supportive of me trying and I was sent to a few castings which ended up with me booking two shows in Sao Paulo Fashion Week in May of 2023. That was a big personal accomplishment for me and it boosted my self-confidence regarding my potential and where my career could go.

At the same time, the more I was exposed to modeling opportunities, the harder it became to reconcile them with my office job and last year of university. As my last semester came to a close in 2023, I was approaching a decision point, as graduating college meant I could occupy a higher position in the office. Contrary to everyone’s expectations, after graduating, I quit the job that I felt so lucky to have and decided to pursue modeling full time. Other people’s opinions were not factored in my life anymore and little by little I set myself free of limiting beliefs that kept me in the comfort zone. Essentially, saying “no” to myself wasn’t an option anymore and I was all in for the chances.

Talking to my mother agency led me to set appointments with 6 agencies in Milan, which all said yes to working with me. After that I spent two months in Milan. In fact, I was sad that I didn’t get there in time to do castings for the fashion week, but I still had the chance to work with models from all around the world and renowned brands, aside from doing some test shoots. It was also very exciting to book some fittings at Dsquared2 headquarters and, to my surprise, two of the outfits created in real time, on my own body, were displayed at the Dsquared2 F/W 2024 Show. Being so close to these massive brands and having the opportunity to be so closely connected with them is priceless. All different types of jobs and clients have a special aspect about them, whether it’s ecommerce, campaigns, fittings or runway. To me, each one of those allows me to develop a different skill and it’s extremely motivating to pursue different experiences in the fashion industry.

When my time in Milan came to a close, I went to the US for Christmas. Being in New York made it clear that it was a place I’d love to be based out of eventually, and I didn’t waste time in letting my mother agency know I wanted to have the chance to interview with agencies there as well. Working in NYC has significant additional requirements when compared to Europe or Brazil, and once again I had to overcome what model friends and professionals in the industry told me would be impossible considering my time in modeling. I had a few interviews with low expectations, but was able to finish that trip signed with an agency, and couldn’t wait to return to work as soon as possible.

Now it feels like my old activities and aspirations prior to modeling are part of another lifetime. I’m finally in love with my routine, my natural hair texture and happy to be able to explore different versions of my beauty. When I look back, I realize that some powerful preconceptions, disguised as “practical thoughts” were keeping me realistic towards my goals, but also preventing me from pursuing real happiness. Giving less power to mental obstacles helped me to get my dream job, unique experiences and an invaluable quality of life. I’m really optimistic and looking forward to everything that’s yet to come!

The post Camila Rodrigues: I Saw It as a Gamble I Couldn’t Afford to Make appeared first on The Fashiongton Post.

Leave a Comment