Featured Model of the Week: Nicole
How did you meet Wunder?
I was referred to the agency through a good friend I had worked with on a shoot. She was signed with the agency and had really wonderful things to say, so I decided to submit!
What made you want to become a model?
As a kid, I always admired the gorgeous women and fashion in magazines, but I never thought I could model in a million years. I was never the “popular” or “pretty” girl in school. I was extremely awkward and I liked to dress differently. I wore a lot of weird clothes and absolutely loved horror movies, as well as mystery books. The other kids didn’t understand me. I ended up being bullied a lot in junior high, especially when it came to my appearance. I got really down on myself. I felt so ugly that I would avoid looking at myself in the mirror and I would cry. My mom would always tell me to hold my head up high and that true beauty meant more than a pretty face anyways. I never forgot that.
About two years later, I was hanging out with my mom at the hair salon she works at and I was scouted by a modeling agent. I was about fifteen years old. Everything happened pretty fast from there! It was very surreal and unexpected.
How long have u been modeling?
I have been modeling for about seven years now.
What do you enjoy about modeling?
My favorite part has always been getting to work beside such incredible creative minds. It’s a really special and amazing feeling to be part of a team effort to create something great during shoots. Everyone is so excited and the energy level is high. Looking around set, you just see all of this passion radiating from everyone towards their art. It’s really inspiring.
What do you like about Wunder?
Wünder is a great agency! They are very professional, but there is also a family vibe to the agency. I really liked that and it makes a huge difference. I don’t feel like I’m just another face in a huge sea of hundreds of people. Scott Whitfield is a wonderful agent too. He genuinely believes in you and it shows. He works very hard for everyone.
What do you think makes a good model?
Professionalism and punctuality are key. A good model always shows up to castings and bookings on time and well-prepared. It’s also extremely important to maintain great energy and a positive attitude during a shoot! Another huge attribute of a good model is the ability to take direction well.
What advice do you have for other aspiring models?
Don’t give up! This is an extremely tough industry and it’s highly competitive. You might get a lot of doors slammed in your face, but one will open eventually. The most important thing is never to let the rejection get you down, or hinder your spirit. Just because you aren’t right for one client doesn’t mean a thing. The next client might absolutely love you. You just have to keep moving forward. Also, always stay true to yourself and your morals along the way. That’s very important. Don’t ever lose sight of who you are or what you stand for.
Ambitions/goals for your model career?
It would be so incredible to book something that shoots in Europe or Asia. I have always wanted to see Paris, London, and Tokyo. To be able to do what I love and travel at the same time would be amazing. I also hope to book a national commercial one day.
What is your dream job?
My dream job has always been to work as an actress in film, or television. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to work on Nickelodeon’s “Victorious” as a co-star and it was such an incredible experience! I had such a blast. It really reinforced the fact that acting is my passion.
Favorite modeling job?
It was really special shooting for Coca Cola. Ever since I started modeling, Coca Cola had been a company I dreamed of working with. When I booked the campaign, I felt so thankful to be working with such an iconic brand. Everyone on set was so down-to-earth and the energy was incredible! We were all very excited. It didn’t feel like work at all! It was more like an afternoon hanging out with close friends.
Funniest thing that has happened at a job?
I once worked on a music video shoot with a few other actors where we had to pretend to ransack a liquor store. We got to charge in on bicycles and act like total lunatics. We just made this giant mess! I grabbed a bottle of whipped cream and sprayed it all over the aisles. Another girl threw toilet paper everywhere. We were all cracking up. I feel so sorry for whoever had to clean that all up, but it was hilarious! I’ll never forget that shoot.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Fingers crossed, I’ll be working on my first film. I also see myself pursuing my master’s degree in business, as well as traveling whenever possible. I hope I am extremely busy, but also very happy :).
How do you prepare for a modeling shoot?
I try to drink a lot of water and eat very healthy on the days leading up to a shoot. It’s really important to make sure to get a good night’s rest the night before a shoot as well. Also, I like to leave about thirty minutes early to shoots just in case there is any kind of emergency, or detour on the way to location.
What are some things you like about the fashion industry?
I really love the creative side of the industry. It’s so incredible to see someone’s vision come to life, whether it’s the fashion designer, hair stylist, makeup artist, wardrobe stylist, photographer, or anyone else on the team. The work they create is unbelievable. It inspires others to express their creativity and their individuality.
How has modeling changed other aspects of your life?
Modeling is a large time commitment. Castings frequently come up last minute and you have to get to them if you want the job. It’s important that your schedule is very flexible. When I was signed with my first agency, I did not have any idea that would be the case. I was a sophomore in high school. Once I started working more steadily, I began missing a lot of classes. My counselor recommended that I finish the rest of my studies at home and work to graduate early. I ended up finishing high school a year and a half early, so I didn’t get to go to my prom, or attend a graduation ceremony. I don’t regret it because I had some really amazing experiences working the past seven years, but a part of me does wish I would have had those important experiences at times.
Who are some of your favorite models and designers, and why?
My favorite model is Alessandra Ambrosia. She is absolutely beautiful inside and out. She is the National Ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She uses her name for a much larger cause. I admire her a lot for that. When it comes to runway fashion, one of my favorite designers is John Galliano. His designs are always so magnificent and unique! They are like something from another world.
Anything else you would like to tell the world?
Whatever dreams you have are possible. It’s important never to lose sight of that, especially during the difficult times. Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.
FEATURED MODEL OF THE WEEK: LISA
1. How did you meet Wünder?
-Scott Whitfield has been a good friend of mine for years, we worked together at his previous agency back when I was just 22 years old and he has always been great support and friend. Now that I have moved back to California after being on the East Coast, I decided to give Scott a call because I knew he would be an amazing agent for me; I trust him. He is a very intelligent business man, a solid confidant and someone that I know will represent me well.
2. What made you want to become a model?
-Honestly, I was a huge tomboy growing up and the thought never even occurred to me until it became inevitable.
When I was 12 years old I got a call from John Casablancas to come in and interview with them, and I, being very confused, found out later that a friend who was in the business had referred me. My mother and I were shocked because we had never considered the modeling or fashion industry as an option for myself before. This is when I believe the seed of the dream was truly planted, I felt honored and curious about this endeavor and somewhat special just for the fact that they wanted to see me …. i became starry eyed… it opened me up to this whole new world of possibilities that I had never even dreamed about.
So, my mother and I eventually set a date and went To John Casablancas, and at first I was so young and at the time very timid and shy when I spoke to their scout, so they gave me a rejection however with an invitation to return in 6 months. So six months later I came back bright eyed and bushy tailed, I had changed. I was excited, very outgoing and bubbly, just opened up right away since I was so happy to be there, and they saw that this time I was more mature and personable, and ready for the industry.
In the end I didn’t decide to work with John Casablancas, but one of the older models that was there that day had told me about an LA Looks modeling contest that was happening in my hometown of Oceanside in San Diego, and to my surprise I ended up winning semi-finalist for the city and was the youngest contestant to place. The other two girls who placed were 17 and 18. After this I was in awe of what I could be. I felt proud, about a potential future in modeling, and the dream was lit on fire for me. I felt more inspired and confident than ever about pursuing it and signed with my first official agency Nouveau Models and Talent with Peter Hamm when I was 15.
3. What do you enjoy about modeling?
-The Art…. The Creativity. I have actually art directed and done my own makeup for a lot of my test shoots and edited some of my own photos and paint myself. Art is my therapy. What keeps me going.
Also, its just exciting!!! You never know what kind of casting you are going to go to…. or who you are going to meet.
I remember my first test shoot when I was 15 was with Beth Studentberg in Laguna Beach, CA who at the time was shooting for big clients like Cosmopolitan and Abercrombie & Fitch. It was such an honor to meet and work with her. She was an ex model turned photographer which I thought was so cool, and she was so kind to me. She really taught me how to open up and move in front of the camera and pulled the best out of me that day because I was very inexperienced, timid and shy.
I really do enjoy the art direction, creativity, fashion, and talent behind the whole industry…. and meeting all of the super talented photographers and designers who work in the field… just getting to meet people I wouldn’t normally be able to meet and building relationships with them is such a blessing. Some of these designers, make-up artists and photographers are so talented at that they do and I really feel blessed every day to live in this world where I walk into a studio and we get to play dress up and create magic and get to call it my job. Don’t get me wrong there is a lot of hard work and dedication involved behind it, but I can say that I owe a lot of my own success to all of the people who have helped shape and drive my career along the way, who are so creative, ridiculously talented & inspiring to me.. I am always humbled by that experience.
4. What do you like about Wünder?
-First of all its name. Wünder. And that is is a boutique agency. it means you get a lot of personal attention from the agents that you wouldn’t normally get with any of your standard top 5 or big agencies w 500 women on their board. Wünder is a fantastic new agency with a ridiculously talented board of people behind it from the models to the agents backing them. We are the top professionals in the industry and a pleasure to work with from start to finish.
Now the word “wunder” itself, in german translates to “wonder” “miracle” “marvel” “phenomenon” and “prodigy”…. It leads to creativity. Wanderlust, is a big part of who I am. I love discovering the world appreciating all of the beauty in it.
5. What do you think makes a good model?
-You have to be “on point”…. “bring your A game”…. Be super driven, and work very hard. You have to show up on time with a good attitude, and put out your best. Every single day. You have to be responsible and reliable, and also know how to be creative with photographer’s direction and be able to move well in front of the camera which is something that you learn in time with experience.
6. What advice do you have for other aspiring models?
-Hustle. Work hard. Build relationships with as many photographers as you can. Always be friendly, kind and positive. A positive attitude and outlook will always take you far.
7. Ambitions/goals for your model career?
-To start doing more runway and more avante guarde shoots with high level designers and photographers. I would also love to get into art directing and being in fashion inspired short films.
8. What is your dream job?
-Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue would be my absolute DREAM job…. the girls get to fly to the most exotic locations and work with an insanely talented crew with the body painting and bikini designers involved and everything… the pictures always turn out so beautiful…. and I am pretty sure that every guy idolizes any woman who makes it into the issue… so yeah, that would be a dream!!!
9. Favorite modeling job?
-Runway anything… live shows are the best, the energy and excitement is like no other. When I got to work for Maxstudio that was pretty cool.. one of my favorite jobs, Amy Max is so nice. I also loved getting to go out to New York for my very first time to work with creative director Howard McLaren for Bumble & Bumble. They cut all of my hair off and gave me a pixie cut like Winona Ryder & I was terrified but it came out great and New York was totally worth it.
10. Funniest thing that has happened at a job?
-Hmmm….. I was on set once with Tyler Shields doing a shoot with my sister for his coffee table book and her hair actually lit on fire from this insanely huge light he had put on us. Thank god it wasn’t her real hair… they had put some hair pieces they frizzed up on the top of her head for her look… lol
11. Where do you see yourself in five years?
-Retired. With lots and lots of beautiful photos and memories to look back on :)
12. How do you prepare for a modeling shoot?
-Eat well, exercise, take really good care of my skin, exfoliate and face mask… Make sure i get a good nights sleep and have a healthy breakfast of lean protein.
13. What are some things you like about the fashion industry?
-The creativity and artistry behind one of a kind haute couture pieces hands down inspires me endlessly.
14. How has modeling changed other aspects of your life?
-Yes it has given me a lot of opportunities to see myself in different lights, to be a role model and to believe in myself. And its helped feed creativity into my personal art as well as my writing and my own personal story.
15. Who are some of your favorite models and designers, and why?
-Alexander McQueen. He is a creative genius.
I love Kate Upton & Irina Shayk, and also my girlfriend Nicole Mejia, who are standing out for not being super skinny and having real curves and healthy bodies.
16. Anything else you would like to tell the world?
-Focus on health and wellness first. Love and take very good care of yourself. It’s the most important love you will ever receive in your life.
FEATURED MODEL OF THE WEEK: NIDA
Each week we interview top Wunder talent and get an inside look of the modeling industry.
1. How did you meet Wunder?
-I met Wunder when I first moved out here from Texas a year and a half ago. My agency Page Parkes back in Texas set me up a meeting with them because they suggested they were a wonderful agency to meet!
2. What made you want to become a model?
-I’ve always been a tall string bean who loved fashion so I figured I’d put both together and use it to my advantage ;) It’s a passion of mine for the art behind it too.
3. How long have u been modeling?
-I’ve been modeling for about 4 years now!
4. What do you enjoy about modeling?
-I love how you can travel in modeling, meet interesting creative people and all share the same passion of art. Fashion is art and I love that I can be apart of showing the world the amazing creations of designers and photographers.
5. What do you like about Wunder?
-I love my agency Wunder because everyone is so incredibly sweet. Coming from Texas I’m used to Southern charm and hospitality and that’s what I felt with the Wunder family. Scott my agent really pushes for me and believes in me so that makes me feel really comfortable in my decisions of giving up my life back home and moving forward with my career and passions.
6. What do you think makes a good model?
- I think what makes me a good model is that I’m not your cookie cutter girl next door. I’m your girl next door who cooks curry instead of pie and has Southern charm but still rocks it on the runway. I’m different and I think the fashion industry needs more ethnic people. Soon, our next generations will be all mixed ethnicities and I’m just blessed to be apart of an industry where I can show off my diversity and be one of the pioneer Pakistani-American models in the industry.
7. What advice do you have for other aspiring models?
-A lot of people always say they want to model but I think what they don’t realize is the amount of hard work, constant traveling, auditioning and rejection you get in the industry. The advice I would give to a young girl/guy would be is that know what you’re getting yourself into and always keep your childhood spirit close to your heart. Stepping into the entertainment industry at such a young age can take away your childhood too quick, stay young, happy, healthy and successful and don’t ever change yourself just because one person said so. Don’t grow up too quick.
8. Ambitions/goals for your model career?
-My goals for every year change. To end this year I would love to book a couple more commercials and possibly even a guest star role. To start the next year I would love to be in New York for fashion week. After that, I will see what new opportunities come my way and accept them all. Hosting a fashion/entertainment segment is also one of my bigger dreams.
9. What is your dream job?
-My dream job would be to host E! News or a fashion segment on EXTRA! or Entertainment Tonight! Any sort of on camera job in the entertainment industry :) I want to interview my peers and learn from them but also show the world their silly goofy side and show the world that celebs are all people too and not just the “untouchables.” I would also love to participate in some sort of charity where I could travel to third world counties and photograph young girls and guys who have always had a passion for just being fabulous even with their current conditions. Every person deserves to have a day where they just don’t have a care in the world and I hope one day I have the funds to provide girls and guys a dream day of relaxation, makeovers, photoshoots and lots of delicious food. Some may call it superficial, but I think that one day of fun could bring wonderful memories, confidence and hope for a lifetime.
10. Favorite modeling job?
-My favorite modeling job was a tie between two so far. One was walking for my favorite designer, Naeem Khan and the other was shooting the poster art and being the face of the promo art for Fox’s new show Heighroglyphics coming soon. The show is centered around ancient Egypt so the photoshoot was right up my alley :)
11. Funniest thing that has happened at a job?
-Funniest thing that has happen to me at a job was realizing I got my period during a swimwear runway show….NOT FUN!!
12. Where do you see yourself in five years?
-In 5 years I would like to have traveled the world a bit for modeling, have a couple of guest star roles under my belt, and be hosting my own segment on an entertainment outlet/channel. Oh and possibly even starring in a Bollywood movie….gotta dream big ;)
13. How do you prepare for a modeling shoot?
-To prepare for a modeling shoot you usually just have to make sure you’re shaved (no buzzy legs plzzz), deodorized, come clean face and hair and pumped to create some art with some talented folks!
14. What are some things you like about the fashion industry?
-Some things I like about the fashion industry are that it gives you the opportunity to travel the world and explore places you wouldn’t be able to explore for a couple months at a time if you were doing a normal 9-5 job or in school. You don’t have to be a business man to travel the world, you can be a fashion model and walk the runway in 5 different countries and then come back home and enjoy that big mac ;)
15. How has modeling changed other aspects of your life?
-I think the modeling industry has changed my life in a way where I have met some of my favorite people through it. I’ve met one of my best friends whom I call my “brown sista” who is also a fellow Wunder model, Sonia Sandha. I’ve also met my amazing boyfriend at a modeling event. Some of my closest friends are all models and being friends with people in your industry is truly wonderful because they understand your schedule and day to day problems or accomplishments. Also, the modeling industry has gave me the confidence to an otherwise shy, tall, brown string bean.
16. Who are some of your favorite models and designers, and why?
-All of my favorite models are the ethnic ones, because hey…I gotta give some props to my fellow diverse chicks!! Also, I love admiring the work of the peers in my own city. My brown sista, Sonia Sandha is an amazing model and friend and I love getting to explore the industry with her and become better models together. A few of my favorite designers include Naeem Khan, Monique Lhlullier, Michael Cinco, and I also love up and comers from shows like Project Runway.
17. Anything else you would like to tell the world?
-If you would like to follow my modeling adventures with my brown model sista, Sonia Sandha, and I then you can follow us on our instagram @itsabrowngirlsworld
We love sharing our experiences as Pakistani-Indian-American models in the entertainment industry.
NIDA…. OFF TO NEW YORK SHE GOES!