Posted on: March 25, 2024 Posted by: Comments: 0

Before to start telling you my modeling story, let me introduce myself: my full name is Maria Fernanda Bezanilla Plascencia, but almost everyone call me Mafer. Growing in Guadalajara, Mexico, I used to like being in front of the camera since my childhood. Together with my sister and cousins we did our little home shows, dancing and singing for my parents, which they enjoyed a lot. My dad had a camera, and I often borrowed it, taking photos of everything I saw around. Fashion and art inspired me a lot, I even collected Vogue magazines, with having more than 100 issues.

As to my modeling career, it began by chance, when I was asked to accompany a friend of mine at a casting for a school catwalk. I never imagined that this was going to be the beginning of something much bigger for me. On the day of the catwalk show, I felt super nervous because I invited my family and friends to see me, and the thing is that I never walked on a catwalk before. My biggest fear was falling since the catwalk had steps over there. However, when I stepped onto the stage, I felt myself as another person and my worries completely disappeared. Seeing all the people watching me, on the contrary, empowered me and filled me with courage. The agent of some modeling agency was so impressed that they invited me to join their agency as a model.

At 16 years old, I entered my first modeling agency. During the first year I was only learning things, and did pure test photoshoots, collaborations and editorials, in order to create my portfolio. When I turned 17, I got my first paid job as a model! The more I got into the industry, the more I became interested in knowing all the nuances of how the modeling industry worked behind each campaign, so I decided to study marketing, thinking it would be a great additional skill to me as a model. I knew it would be difficult to combine both passions but if I managed to get the right balance, I could get the most out of it.

I was gaining more and more experience in modeling, so gradually I finally started to get more jobs. At the same time, my university classes were becoming more serious and difficult, so combining both careers became even more complicated for me. I had to refuse of many opportunities to work with incredible brands because I had final exams at the university, as well as sometimes vice versa – I had to miss a few days of classes because I was working as a model.

With the beginning of the pandemics in 2020, I had one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities: a bigger modeling agency organized some kind of a virtual casting to find models for their agency in Mexico City. Going to the capital of my country was already the next step for me, because I had only been practicing modeling in Guadalajara till now. Due to pandemics, my university classes migrated to 100% online education, so I was now able to combine my studies and work easier. It was in 2020, when my modeling career took on more shape and seriousness. I remember listening to university classes from my cell phone while at the same time getting my hair and makeup done for the upcoming photoshoot, as well as taking exams on the way to the location, etc.

One time, when I had a serious final oral exam via Zoom video call, simultaneously I was shooting a campaign, so I needed to put the camera on when it was my turn to pass an exam. The teacher who didn’t know I was modeling, was greatly surprise when she saw me all dressed up with a very extravagant makeup The production team was so kind, understanding the situation, and they let me do the oral exam when it was my turn. When we returned to the regular onsite classes, I explained the teacher that I was on a shooting at that time and showed her the photos. She was amazed about how I could do the two things at the time and still having good grades!

I always tried to get the most out of the every job I had, and always talked to the marketing manager of the brand to learn more about their experiences and the objectives of the campaign, so finally I began to understand the reasons for everything, which in its turn helped me to become more confident as a model. Likewise at the university, the theory that I saw in a class became easier to understand for me because I saw the practical aspects of it in a real life. Sometimes, at the university classes, they gave examples mentioning the brands that do a very good job of marketing their campaigns, and in my mind I said to myself: “Haha, yeah, I already worked for those brands!”

On my last summer school vacation, I went to Mexico City for my first modeling season to experience being a full-time model living in another city, without having to worry about taking classes or studying for exams. That summer I lived in a modeling apartment, where I was fortunate to meet amazing girls from different parts of the world, like Russia and Brazil. During that modeling trip, I fulfilled my dream of having a chance to work with Vogue and L’Oréal in the same month! The summer ended and I had to return to Guadalajara since my university classes got back to normal again. The trip to Mexico City helped me to get that taste of what it was like to be in the big leagues!

At 22 years old, I finished the university and officially became a Marketing Graduate. For today, I live in Guadalajara and visit Mexico City whenever a good modeling job or project comes up. Luckily I am now able to combine my two professional careers in a way that I feel very proud and honored to do since it was a long road with some setbacks, anguish, sleepless nights and hopes!

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