The Yellow Brick Road
Today I was walking with my new friend Alex, and he asked me “What was your happiest moment in the past month?”
I shared a few different things, and then I thought about one of my shoots in NYC.
The first day I was there I shot with a photographer named Michael Sawyer. Our shoot went well and he invited me to shoot again, this time at a studio.
I show up to the studio that weekend and find a make-up artist and two other models. I was immediately intimidated. These girls looked like they had been modeling for a while. They were taller, had straighter hair, and flatter stomachs than me.
I got dressed, had my make-up done, and ended up being first in the rotation. I did o.k. I was little bit awkward, a little bit insecure. He coached me and was kind to me. He showed me photos to copy and kept coaching. I was a little embarrassed.
Then the next model went up.
I immediately grabbed my phone and started looking up photos of professional models. I searched for similar poses he was looking for; how different models did similar things but were still beautiful in their own way. I was interrupted by a loud “YES!”
Sawyer was shaking his head, “ah you are amazing dude.”
She smiled and moved her hair out of her face.
I decided to pull up a chair and watch her. I wanted to learn how she moved, and what she was doing that Sawyer liked so much. She switched her weight in her legs, kept a slow flow of movement, and never broke her serious face. It took me a little while to realize that what made her so good was her confidence, and how she used the thing that made her look different to her advantage.
The other model went up, she was goofier, different, but seemed a little uncomfortable despite the fact she looked beautiful.
Then it was my turn. I decided to own it – my make up, my petite size, my own stomach, and my hair. I owned who I was. I was proud too. We blasted some music and I got into a character I had never seen before. This Annabelle was strong, sexy, brave, and CONFIDENT.
I knew I nailed it when I hear heard him yell out in excitement – he showed me the photos and I didn’t recognize myself.
At the end of the shoot, he told me “I knew you could do it. I wouldn’t have wasted my time and money inviting you here if I didn’t see it.”
I wondered how there are so many people, maybe even including you, that need a little push, a little direction, or someone to believe in them one time to reveal something beautiful within them.
I have this vision in my head of my calling. It’s not clear. It’s kind of like Dorothy on the yellow brick road. I can see there is a path to follow, friends to make along the way and strong desire to make it to the emerald city, but instead of red poppies it’s fog, and instead of the wicked witch of the west its insecurity and self-loathing. But during this shoot, some of the fog finally cleared and even though the wicked witch made an appearance, she didn’t capture me.
Anyway in that room I realized that it’s my energy that makes me different. It’s my relentless love for others that makes me taller, it’s my perseverance that brought me into that room. And it was kind words from a stranger that tied it all together and brought it out for me to see and share with the whole world.
What sets me apart is what I have to offer in the unique way that I offer it. It is my difference that will make me successful.