I’m trying to stay grounded in my whys for things. I already gave the background for why I blog, so now I want to talk about why I model! Just an FYI, I do talk about body dysmorphia and over-exercising – feel free to skip reading if those are uncomfortable topics for you.
I used to have really poor self-esteem, especially back in college. I hated the way I looked. I’d work out every day to not just combat how much I ate, but to achieve a slimmer look. I was already so slim and fit, but I never saw that in the mirror. I didn’t want to take too many photos of myself because I didn’t want to feel triggered to make myself even skinnier. I recognized I had a problem but didn’t do anything to fix it until I fainted from a fasted morning workout. Even then, I would hide mirrors and I would avoid taking photos of my body unless it had been a couple months and I didn’t want to weird out my friends.
Looking back on photos of myself in college, I wish I had taken more photos! I had a great athletic body, capable of SO much compared to my lil pandemic body that hardly ever works out. I was crazy flexible, I had stamina for hikes, and I could run a treadmill mile in under 8 minutes. It now takes me about 12 minutes on an elliptical machine. But I know I was making a good decision to cope with my past body dysmorphia to avoid seeing myself. I didn’t want to body check all the time, because I would get lost in my mind analyzing every perceived flaw.
Even though I’m a bit thicker now, I LOVE my body. There are times where I wish my food belly wasn’t there, but only for a smoother torso line and not because I feel ‘too fat.’ My mind is in a much better place compared to where it was in college and it makes me so sad remembering how much I hated seeing myself. I only took about a handful of photos of myself in front of landmarks from a study abroad trip in college, and I wish I had taken way more.
I got into modeling a couple years a go, when I was still holding on to my fitness but had a full-time (more like mega overtime) job to keep my thoughts occupied. It was at the tail-end of my career as a tax accountant when I was burning out that I decided to give it a try as a creative outlet for myself. My whole identity was embedded in my job and work performance. I was tired all the time. Did nothing but work and sleep. So I reached out to a friend to pay for a short photo session around downtown Seattle, and gave modeling a shot in two outfits.
I loved every second of that session. It was easy to feel comfortable since the photographer and his boyfriend were friends of mine already. I also love that I have documentation of how I look. I’m pretty proud of my art as a model, even if some of it seems simplistic and/or vain. I want to treasure myself, and this is my means of doing so.
Sure, there are a million ways I could improve my modeling. I could lose the 30 pounds I gained from eating a ton of mac and cheese at the beginning of the pandemic. I could spend some money and take acting classes and pursue that route more. But I love the way I look right now. I’ve come a long way to get to this mindset. And this is a fun hobby of mine. I personally wish to keep it fun and not get too stressed about big ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts.’
I hope this recent set I did with Lindsay of Lindsay Amber Photographer has been super enjoyable for you. It was the first shoot I did with very little posing direction – I finally felt like an experienced model truly bringing stuff to the table for the photographer!