January 31, 2021
My days of arctic exploration are over, at least for now. Instead of running outside in the psycho weather we've been having (a split personality between brutal cold and global warming) I decided to rejoin the women's gym that my mom goes to. It just came to the point where I would stick my head out the door to check the weather and almost cry! This was during the past week when it was SO COLD!! My bravery was overcome by the sense that exercise should not be a near death experience.
Here are some reasons why I stopped running outside, and started a routine at the gym: I don't have to listen to my knees complain while I pound the pavement, I no longer freeze during the cool down, I'm not breathing in car exhaust on the way, and the mental preparation to go outside has become much less of a battle. Don't get me wrong, I am very proud of the time I spent outdoors. I displayed far more dedication than I thought I had. But the weather gods made it clear that my dedication could be rained on, and it was time for the next level.
Plus the gym has perks. I can't tell you how amused I am to be working the elliptical and suddenly realize that I can see my mom doing yoga in the training room! (she's pretty good, watch out!) My next goal is to make sure I utilize the machines and weights. It means more consciousness on my part to keeping a steady routine of muscle work and cardio, and also making sure I don't push myself too hard. Ahh, the balance of life in yet another scenario.
Besides learning more about how to strengthen my body, I recently went through some interesting circumstances that gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about my role as a business woman and ethical worker. These are not necessarily phrases a model is accustom to. Not because models are dumb (we're not, thanks) but more because we usually put so much focus on our bodies that we often forget to stay business smart, too. Or at least I think that's what was going on for me. Here, let me explain:
I made a mistake. I went to a casting for a job that I was not available for without realizing it, because I was neglectful to my schedule. My dad lives in Northern California, and I visit him every couple of months (not a bad deal) and this particular trip would be the first time I would see him after his visiting me in Hong Kong. The job (which I got) was to take place the same time as my flight out of Toronto, which I didn't realize at the time, and being the first big job since my Hong Kong trip I really wanted to take it... what would you do?
Here's what happened: before confirming or turning away the job immediately, I tried to get in touch with my dad about flight changes. After hours of leaving messages on my dad's cell, and ridiculous amounts of time on the phone with the airlines, I came to the conclusion that the cost of the flight was way too much to change it, and I couldn't make the job after all. I made this decision too late. The result was that the client had to find another girl last minute, and I don't think they were too happy with me, which reflects poorly on my agency.
I'm telling you all this so that I can share with you what I learned, and possibly help you prevent a similar situation in the future. First of all, I need to always be clear with my agency about my comings and goings. They need to know exactly when I am and am not available (in the future, no vagueness with daddy!) I need to take responsibility for my schedule, and be crystal clear with my various engagements. Number two, as soon as I realize there is a conflict, take actions to correct it. I should either have said what ever it costs, I'll change my flight and take the job (and boom, I'm confirmed), or, said I have to make that flight and I won't be available (giving the client more time to find someone else). The worst thing to do is make the client think you are available and then jump ship at the last minute.
It is my responsibility and goal as a model, no, as a professional, to make clear and effective decisions, to keep my schedule organized and at hand, and to ALWAYS be in good communication with my agency. They are my guides on this winding path of opportunity.
What a week. Lastly on the subject, I want you to know that I am taking the extra step to sincerely apologize to the client by sending them a letter. In the mail. My hope is that they'll forgive my errors, and maybe even try booking me again in the future. It's a stretch, but I want to do everything in my power to keep my options open in this career.
And for my closing paragraph? CONFIDENCE. Faithful and true, it is the bottom line to everything in a model's life. Believe me, there are times when I feel so nervous about the result of my actions (see above) and sometimes I have to realize that I don't have the life experience to know what to do (my mom says to call her. Next time I will! Not only would I have gotten insight on the situation, but moral support, too!) Having confidence in yourself is so important in sticky situations. As I move through all these experiences, good and... not so happy... I build confidence from the valuable information I gain. "What's the lesson, what's the opportunity?" That's what my mom would ask. Taking to heart the lessons I learn means I am each day a better model. It's a little scary, this process. I don't know what opportunity or "learning situation" is around the corner. But each time I come through, my awareness of my strengths grow, and I can face whatever is next with the knowledge that I can do this!
Robin Buss (B&M Models) is a 19-year-old who recently travelled to Hong Kong to start her international career. The 176 cm (5'9") model was in Asia for the first time in her life and shared her experience with modelresource readers. Those stories can be found here.