Wave goodbye to Summer, as the back-to-school season is now upon us! As students nationwide prepare for their first day, we decided that it was only fit to sit down with a few of our girls (Chonzie, Emily, Kyndall, and Lily, ), revealing what is it like to manage a blossoming model career, all while taking on the load of being a full-time student. We hope that their advice can gear prospective models in the right direction, showing them that they too can have the best of both worlds! Read below to see what the girls had to say:
Hi girls! Thank you so much for doing this. I know things can get a little hectic this time of the year. Let’s start with a little background info. What is your age and what year in school is this for you?
Emily: I am 18-years-old and am in college. I attend Fordham University, and I am doing their online program for the second semester, majoring in Business.
Kyndall: I am 16-years-old and am a Junior in High School.
Chonzie: I am also 16-years-old and am a Junior in High School.
Lily: I am 17-years-old and am a senior at Stanford University’s Online High School.
Emily, as the only current college attendee out of the bunch, what’s your plan for the future?
Emily: I want to graduate college and continue on to do something else! Since I model full-time in New York, I am doing online classes because I love to learn and want to continue to challenge my mind in a way that isn’t related to modeling. So, with that being said, I will continue to do this and then finish college and potentially go onto grad school. I have always wanted to be a lawyer.
Very cool! I am sure with the communication skills you are acquiring with modeling, you will be an excellent lawyer. Next question is for Lily – what is your favorite thing about finishing high school online?
Lily: In this wonderful program, students and instructors attend live classes remotely from all over the world via the webcams and microphones on our computers (it’s like a web conference, or Skype). It’s a unique and powerful way to learn. I was even able to schedule some of my classes in the evening to free up more days for work.
As for a favorite, there are so many amazing things about Stanford Online High School. I think the most rewarding part of an online education is that I get to learn with, and from, students who live elsewhere. I’ve had the opportunity to discuss politics and philosophy with kids from throughout the United States as well as Europe and Asia. Needless to say, my educational experience has broadened significantly over the past year that I’ve been attending this school. Everyone is approaching the class material in the context of their own local culture and experiences, and that has put my own assumptions and beliefs into the proper, international perspective.
How insightful! It also seems very convenient for those that are fearful that castings will get in the way attending classes, but enough about all the technical stuff! What does education mean to you on a personal level?
Emily: An education, whether it be inside or outside of the classroom, is expanding your mind so you gain a deeper knowledge of things you didn’t know about before. You are learning and just gaining a deeper understanding of different subjects.
Chonzie: Education is extremely important to me. My father immigrated to the United States from Tibet. He wanted to attend an American University to obtain an education in order to have a future. Coming from a family where opportunities were limited and were just a dream for him, I am extremely grateful to have an opportunity to attend a school where education is available to everyone.
Kyndall: To me, education means everything. Learning new things and gaining knowledge is crucial to success in whatever I do. A person never stops being educated in some way or form throughout their whole life. However, primary education is the most crucial, which is why I am so grateful to go to the school that I do where I have the opportunity to learn so many new things.
I love the role that education plays in all of your lives. It seems to hold many positive attributes. However, it can’t be all that easy while pursuing a modeling career. Were their any concerns you had before signing your modeling contract? Has these concerns lessened over time?
Chonzie: When I signed my modeling contract, I just finished middle school and was about to start high school. I wasn’t aware of the challenges that I would be facing when it came to missing school for modeling. Some administrators find it difficult to understand why I need to miss school for a “casting” or a “photo shoot,” which can be really frustrating. Another thing I was unaware about is when you miss school for a job, you don’t have much time to catch up on what you’re missing. You are mostly spending the entire day on a photo shoot. I generally do my school work while traveling on a plane, in order to keep up with my school work.
Well, that’s great that you have figured out a system that works for you! This brings to me my next topic. Do any of you guys have a special technique that helps you manage your time between studying and jobs that you feel would be helpful to others?
Kyndall: One way that I learn is through music! For example, how did I learn my ABC’s? Through singing a song! So my advice to others that are worried about missing a study time between castings is to listen to a song on the radio with a really good beat, and change out the words to a topic that you are learning about in school! An example of one that I did to help me remember information from my math class was I changed the lyrics of Kesha’s lyrics from her song, “Tik Tok,” to geometric formulas.
Lily: One of the most exciting, and sometimes challenging, aspects of this line of work is the varying and unpredictable schedule – shoots and castings may either be confirmed or canceled up until the day before they happen. Because of this, I can’t always count on having a free day during the week to complete schoolwork or study for upcoming exams. One time management technique I had to learn this past year was to stay at least a few days ahead, without fail, on all of my assignments and other school responsibilities. That way, if an unexpected work event came up and I was busy for ten hours one day, I wouldn’t have to worry about rushing to meet a deadline. This probably seems obvious but it really took discipline to get everything done ahead of time, especially after a long day in LA! I also prepare for all shoots and castings the night before: setting up directions, choosing clothes, getting my portfolio and comp cards together, and packing lunches and snacks.
Emily: I think that scheduling things out on paper with a pen is the best way to go about things. I always feel more confident about my day, especially if it is hectic, if I can see it written out in front of me and not written out on a screen.
All these techniques sound super helpful in terms of time management! Branching from my last question, what have you found to be absolutely essential to your success in school and/or work?
Chonzie: My earbuds are honestly so helpful for me, and play a big role when it comes to succeeding in school. I work best when I’m isolated, and my earbuds totally zone everything out and help me focus on whatever I’m doing.
Kyndall: Support is vital to success in school and work. My family has always been behind me to support and help me in any situation, whatever the circumstance. Whether it be not knowing the answer to a homework question and my parents sitting with me and helping me until we figure it out, or my grandpa driving with me for four and a half hours through L.A traffic to get to my casting.
Lily: One of the most important things I’ve learned this year is that even though I have lots of varying responsibilities, it’s essential to be fully present in whatever I am currently doing. Even if I know I have a lot of studying to do after work, I stay 100% focused on the task at hand without letting any one thing impact how well I do somewhere else. It’s all about taking things one step at a time. Even more importantly, being professional is definitely essential to success, and that is another commitment of mine.
Absolutely! I can see how all of these things can strongly benefit you in the long run. Now, let’s get to the fun stuff. If we took a look at your locker or dorm, what celebrity crush would probably be posted?
Kyndall: Hmmm… that’s a good question. I think it would most likely be Prince Harry of Wales. I adore the royal family, and Harry is just positively charming! I have little picture frames in my locker, so I wouldn’t be surprised if his picture found it’s way into one of them!
We all have our preferences – hot or cold lunch?!
Kyndall: 100% cold lunch! I eat the same thing for lunch pretty much everyday: a protein bar with at least 12 grams of protein since I’m vegetarian, a piece of fruit for necessary vitamins and minerals plus fiber, and roasted chickpeas for carbohydrates to fuel me for the rest of the day. And don’t forget lots and lots of water!
Lily: Cold lunch – maybe that’s just because it’s August and 80-90 degrees in LA! 🙂
Haha! I think it is safe to say that cold lunch takes the lead – which I am not mad about! Healthy is happy, after all. This brings me to my next question: is there a subject that you are always happy to learn about?
Lily: This is a difficult question to answer. I really do love them all! But, if I had to choose one, it would probably be calculus. There’s a unique beauty to mathematics in general, but when I was introduced to calculus it was like I had discovered the hidden mechanism of the universe.
Emily: I have always been a history fan. My history teacher in High School taught it really well, and I just loved to learn about all of these events that happened in history and how it shaped our current world. It is fascinating to me how one day we will be in history books for certain events.
Amazing! Is there anything that you are excited to learn about this upcoming school year that is new to you?
Lily: This year I am taking an elective history course called “Globalization and Imperial Exchange: From Alexander the Great to NATO.” The class is centered around the growth and decline of different empires throughout time. I am interested in how cultural identity is shaped by power struggles and outside influences.
Do you feel that modeling has helped your performance at school in certain areas?
Lily: Actually, yes, it really has helped, both in school and in life. I tend to be more introverted by nature and when I started modeling it required me to enter another, more extroverted dimension of my personality. I’ve noticed that since I’ve been working I’ve become more and more comfortable with this side of myself. Although I’m still the same person, my inner extrovert is now on display quite often, and I see and feel a difference in my performance in school presentations and discussions. I’m a bit more voluble and confident in expressing my thoughts and opinions than I was previously.
Chonzie: I believe that modeling has helped me a lot when it comes to communicating with teachers. I have to communicate to my agency especially when I am living in Colorado, not California. Because of that, I’ve had to really work on expressing all my needs and making an effort to keep them updated. Therefore, modeling has really helped me when it comes to communication with others.
Kyndall: Absolutely. If a person is failing all of their classes, it’s going to be extremely difficult to have a successful modeling career, because they will be too worried about keeping their grades up to do anything else. So for me, modeling provides the motivation to pay attention in class, in order to excel in school and get good grades so that I can continue to do what I love: model.
It’s great to see how modeling has impacted all of you so positively! Now, is there a specific hobby that you like to do when your not in school, that is not modeling?
Kyndall: My favorite thing to do when I’m not in school aside from modeling, is to design clothes. I have a journal that I keep by my bed so that when inspiration hits, it’s there for me to sketch in. Lately, I’ve received a lot of inspiration from the dress Kim Kardashian wore to the Met Gala, so I have been inspired to create a collection that is entirely black and white with a futuristic twist.
Lily: I love to read a good book or play with my dog, Pansy.
Very cool – To wrap things up, do any of you gals have any other advice for aspiring models that are also enrolled in school?
Chonzie: My advice for an aspiring model who’s enrolled in school is to keep up with all your classes. The worst thing is to be leaving town when your grades are struggling. If you’re on top of everything, you won’t be as stressed when you have to leave. Also, make a serious effort to really communicate with your teachers. For example, before I leave for a job I ask them, “I’m leaving town for ___ day(s), what am I going to be missing? And when can I make it up?” That way you can have a good relationship with your teacher, and feel better about missing school.
Emily: I would say just make sure you plan out your days and your schedules every week to make sure you have time to do school. I know as a model, we don’t typically get our schedule until the night before but if you know you will have a busy day, print some reading out and take it with you to read in-between castings or during down time on set. It is all about organizing and planning and you can stay on top of things.
Kyndall: Don’t be afraid to go for your dreams! Anything is possible if you put your mind to it, so if your desire is to be a model, don’t let anything stand in your way. Things have a way of working themselves out, and there are amazing people like the wonderful women of Nous to help you fulfill your dream.