PHOTOS BY DAN DOYLE & MARK KNOPP
I jumped out of my 3rd floor office window! I saw my body flailing toward the pavement below. Then I looked up at my computer and spreadsheets.
Suffocating. I felt like I was suffocating, dying inside.
Why couldn’t I just be happy?
Why did I keep imagining I was leaping out of my office window? All of my unemployed college friends congratulated me on landing a well-paid 9-5.
My boss was amazing.
I moved into a beautiful apartment in an affluent neighborhood in Connecticut.
On the outside it looked like I had the dream life; but inside I felt like I was dying. Each day from my office chair, I felt my dream sitting in the pit of my stomach begging me to take ACTION.
Every time I would allow myself to dream all the fears would come up. What if I fail? What if I quit this job and end up broke and washed up? What if I’m not pretty enough, thin enough, talented enough, tall enough? What if I get scammed?
But even with all the fears I couldn’t ignore this feeling. I had to find the courage to go after my dream. But how?
It felt crazy to leave my well-paid position in beautiful Connecticut. But my dream since I was 14, was to make a full time living as a model.
There I was 10 years later at 24, still not taking action on my dream.
I gave 2 weeks’ notice at my job. Packed all my stuff into my car.
Drove for 2 days from Connecticut to Miami, FL. Alone. I knew no one.
No clear plan. No industry connections.
I borrowed money from my sister to pay 1st month rent and security for a room I found on roommates.com My bank account had only $300 after relocation expenses.
Shortly after arrival my car got towed and cost….you guessed it $300 to retrieve. Perfect, now I’m broke.
My back-up plan if I failed was to beg my mom to let me move back home.And *gulp* find a normal job. (Grateful to have mom as a back-up plan not everyone is so lucky).It was time to stop staring out of windows daydreaming about my career as a model.
It was time to take ACTION!
I remember wishing so badly for an honest knowledgeable industry person to help me.
I wanted more career direction from my agent back home, but she was too busy with her own agency and her expertise was limited to the upstate NY.
My mom and dance mentor Sean McLeod encouraged me to pursue my dream which helped give me the courage to finally go for it!
Yet, I kept wishing for a successful veteran model who could tell me the inside scoop and lay out a plan for me.I wanted the quickest path to success.
That is how I started my full-time modeling journey in Miami.
These 7 years were a combination of successes and failures. I fell into every pitfall. I wore the wrong outfits to auditions that made me look “too green” and “too small town”.I spent too much time and energy shooting for free with the wrong photographers.
It seemed like a waste of money to pay photographers when so many would shoot me for free. I spent too much time pursuing assignments that were not suited to my type and look.
After going through all of those struggles, looking back, I wish someone had encouraged me to pursue other types of modeling. Wish I shot with the right photographer for those other niches of modeling sooner.
Wish I had gotten commercial acting training with a top industry expert.
Wish someone had helped me develop a more competitive look and mindset sooner. Wish someone was cheerleading me on and helping me develop more confidence. Wish I had supportive people around me instead of a boyfriend that thought my dream was silly. Wish I had strategies to handle the jealous models who didn’t want to see the new girl succeed.
Less jobs for them. Or so they thought.
I thought we should, instead all be friends, and help one another and refer one another jobs. Wasn’t there room for all of us at the top?
It became a very difficult and lonely career at times. I almost gave up 100 times.
My family and friends were far away back home in Upstate NY. There was no Google, no Youtube, no Instagram, no smartphones.
In those early years of my model career, my days were spent trying to figure everything out all by myself. I fell into all the pitfalls. Got myself into some scary situations. I invested money into the wrong things I thought would help my career. Yet, failed to invest in the right things that would’ve given me a quicker path to success.
I met a photographer who was also known for being a model coach. I met him my first week arriving in Miami Beach, FL. For $500 he said he would help me develop my look, my portfolio, niche in the industry, take hi-caliber photos, provide make-up and styling.
WHAT! FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!! At the time I said to myself “that is a TON of MONEY!”
“What if I spend all this money and it doesn’t help me make more money?”
I had already spent money on things that didn’t work and look where that got me. NOWHERE. Plus, so many photographers will shoot me for FREE.
“I can’t invest in myself like that” I thought. I didn’t make the investment, instead I wasted another 4 years without much career growth. But today I know the opposite is true, that the quickest path to success is through expert help.
Four years later I did fork over even more money for that photographer’s coaching and help. His rates had gone up, so I paid even more than the $500.
But it was worth every single penny. He helped me focus my goals. He gave me advice on my hair and nutrition. And he helped me get the most gorgeous high-quality photos I had ever shot in my life. MY WHOLE CAREER CHANGED OVERNIGHT!
His photos and advice helped me get noticed by agencies, other photographers and leveled up my portfolio. He helped me believe in myself. His connections helped me get more work.
That year, was my most successful year of modeling in Miami. I got published in several magazines and catalogs (published tearsheets are street cred for models). I walked in dozens of high-end fashion shows. Bigger agencies were interested in signing me. I started to get more callbacks and bookings soared!
The very next year the whole economy crashed in 2008. All modeling and acting work in Miami and across the nation dried up! Next, a close family member fell ill. I moved back home to rural Upstate NY as caretaker. It felt like I was just getting started and then it all crumbled before my eyes.
But that success I felt and what I learned before the recession, taught me how to be resilient. As the recession passed the next phase of my career reached new levels of success! I’m so glad I invested in myself and got that photographer’s help.
Otherwise I might of given up on my dream altogether when the recession hit.
But what if I hadn’t waited 4 years for his coaching? What if I had gotten more career guidance and the right photos sooner? Of course, I had no idea the economy would topple and a family member would fall ill. No idea my time in Miami would end abruptly. Now, I try to seize each day because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. There isn’t always a tomorrow.
My life mission now, is motivating and inspiring others to find the courage to go after their dreams. Even if family, friends, or society think the dream is silly or ridiculous. We each have special gifts and a unique story to share.
I can’t go back in time to be the support and career expert I needed. But I can be that guidance for YOU!
I was able to find meaning in everything I went through and now I’m able to use it together to serve you.
My motivation as a model and talent career coach began because I got many questions daily from people interested in getting started in modeling, acting, promotions, and entertainment.
I’d give people a few tips and send them on their way knowing they really would need so much more guidance and support. Finally, I completely switched my health coaching practice to model coaching, based on the demand. Now, I enjoy helping others find their courage and developing a plan for their dream.
It makes my heart sing to be the help I wished and prayed for as an aspiring model and talent.
As a new model or actor, the many things one must learn can be overwhelming:
• How to determine the right niche for you
• How to manifest the goal you desire
• How to present yourself to agencies as a professional
• How to use social media effectively as a tool
• How to develop your Instagram into a branded portfolio
• How to walk the runway with grace and ease
• How to confidently attend auditions and castings
• How to self-tape auditions at home like a pro
• How to nail paid bookings and book yourself solid!
I created the ACTION membership model and talent training program, so that you can get quality affordable training, a coach to guide you, and community on your side to take you on the faster path to success! I’m giving RWO readers a very special offer of just $1.00 for their 1st month of membership! Use code: 1Dollar at checkout on www.KristinB.com/action-program
Intro pricing is still in effect through spring:
– $49.00 a month (minimum 4 months commitment)
– $490.00 annual membership
After spring pricing will increase!
Don’t be afraid to go after your goals and find the courage to take action on your dream!
What people are saying about Coach Kristin and the ACTION Program:
Amy M – “I don’t feel so awkward about talking about my modeling dreams to the Action members… we are all in this together!! I have appreciated the Action team encouragement and being comfortable talking about it. I think my biggest take-away is that models come in all shapes and sizes and there is a niche for everyone. This has given me courage to take action and allowed me to do something for myself.”
Katrina W- “Coach, your wisdom and knowledge of the industry has shortened our learning curve immensely. You invest so much in your clients and it shows!”
I’m your Model Success Coach: Kristin Bauer-Gross. You’ll find me hanging out on Instagram and Facebook @KristinBauerGross and on www.KristinB.com and teaching my online program ACTION designed specifically for small market models and actors to learn, connect and succeed at www.KristinB.com/action-program SPECIAL OFFER for RWO readers: 1st month of membership just $1.00 with code at checkout: 1Dollar