I'm a born and raised southern belle from a small town in southern Arkansas. 19 years old, and taking on Los Angeles, California. How the HECK did I end up here??
I grew up always loving entertainment, making people giggle, capturing a crowds attention. If you asked me what I wanted to be when I was a little girl, I would always answer, "actress." Being from the south, I was raised believing that making it in the acting industry or any entertainment, was impossible for someone like me.
My Junior year of high school, my self esteem was knocked down so low. It's silly to say, but a group of girls I had never met called me "Ugly, Slut, Fugly, Fat..." Of course, I didn't retaliate because, I wanted to be the bigger person, I didn't even know these people, had never encountered them whatsoever. Im sure most of us girls know what the "mask" is. The "mask" is that forced smile you put on around others, that thick skin you try to pile on, all while you're chest is literally hollow. I acted like it didn't bother me, but it did. No matter who you are, someone judging you, in person or online, will always sting.
Something in my head clicked. I didn't want those girls to have the satisfaction of being right, the satisfaction of shaming me for who I was and getting no punishment. Girls, I bet you can guess what happened next. I pulled the "Hot EX Girlfriend," move on them. I decided to change my eating and exercise habits, and be something to look at. Honestly, I really want to thank those girls for saying those awful things about me, because they are the ones who motivated me to KEEP GOING. That all this eating healthy, and restricting the foods I ate was WORTH something. I was WORTH something, I didn't deserve that, and nobody else does. After a about 2-3 months I could really tell a difference, not only in my body, but my confidence. I wanted to go out, show some skin. I felt myself falling in love with my body.
After 6 months, my entire body was transformed. Now, I never EVER grew up wanted to be a model. My mom always wanted to put me in pageants, but I never had the confidence to stand on stage being compared to other girls. A friend in my hometown asked me to help him start a photography business within our town. My thoughts were "free pictures?? HECK YEAH." After my very first shoot December 2013, we kept shooting. For every shoot, I planned the theme, the location, props, styling, hair and makeup. I loved every minute of it. I love the creativity behind it all. February of 2014, Sculp Agency, the only modeling agency in Arkansas, reached out to me and wanted to sign me. I. Was. Clueless. There is no modeling market in Arkansas, I mean hey, I modeled crotchet once, HA. But I was learning with every set I was on, with ever test shoot I did, with any photographer, hair and makeup person I met, I LEARNED. I got out there, I got experience.
My senior year of high school... oh brother. Senior year, you're supposed to live it up, make memories, do stupid things. For some reason, I closed myself up. I didn't want to go out, I made an excuse for anytime my friend invited me to a party. I liked keeping to myself, seeing my sisters at college. I became very distant from my graduating class. Thanksgiving is where things changed, a casting producer from America's Next Top Model scouted me off of instagram, and I was OVER THE MOON. It was a huge deal, but I couldn't tell anyone except my family. It was an extremely long process. I was just hoping I would be able to fly out and film the show and be a part of the Cycle 22 cast. Luckily, I was able to, and everything in my life has changed because of it.
The show filmed in the spring time of 2015, and it is and will be one of the greatest experiences of my life. The opportunities I have been given just make me question, "What did I do, to deserve all this?" I made it back to Arkansas just in time for my graduation, but I didn't stay there for long. A month later, I drove my car 1700 miles to Los Angeles CA, where I currently live. I am a college freshman here studying business, but I am also trying to make a break in the industry. Little by little, I take what I am offered, and love every minute of it. I have to be patient, and stay steady.
Every once in a while I will take a step back from it all and look at my life from a different perspective. I wonder what it would be like to be back in Arkansas, living in a dorm room with my friend, going out every week making memories, living the Greek life, seeing my family every month, making friends....I wonder. I do get sad, I get homesick. But I have to remind myself people would KILL to be in my shoes. Not everyone gets to taste the life I am living, and I am extremely blessed to be here and to have been raised the way I have.
I wouldn't trade my life for anything.