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Coming Full Circle

When I was a teen, my passion for fashion, beauty and magazines led me to try out modeling. I was interested in print work. To be able to wear trendy clothing and try on the best beauty products, and be featured in catalogs & magazines. I knew I wasn't a supermodel, Just wanted to work locally in editorial ads and such in the Philadelphia market. I had photos done by a philly photographer and with my portfolio in hand, I went to 2 reputable agencies. Well, I was shot down. They had open calls for models and you were lined up and measured in bare feet. Both agencies said I was too short at 5'7 to do runway. It was irritating since I had no interest in Runway at all. I had read about many catalog models who were 5'6 & 5'7 as they represented everyday girls and women who shopped in department stores. 

Two years later, I was studying Fashion Marketing at the Art Institute of Philadelphia while working as a makeup consultant for Lancome cosmetics. I had a teacher who discussed all the different areas available for work in the fashion industry.  And there it was, I became a stylist and makeup artist for area photographers. Being a part of photoshoots but behind the scenes! I had a lucrative business and traveled throughout the city on location and in studios. 

After having my second son I decided  to try for a more stable job and seeked out an in house makeup artist/stylist position at a local south jersey photography studio. My first stop was in cherry hill at John Tannock Photography, where they did weddings, portraits, headshots, etc. I was hired  on the spot and also to work in sales and production in office. It was perfect!

A few years later, i took my oldest son Michael to a kids modeling agency. Every where I went, people would stop and talk  to him and tell me he should be in magazines or on TV. We registered with Sam's kids in Marlton, NJ. He was terrfic at it. Especially photoshoots. the photographers loved him and would call Shari to ask for him by name, no audition or go see needed.  Then one day he was hired for a print job with Quaker bridge mall. He was doing his thing, as I sat holding Justin who was about 2y/o watching. Suddenly the Art director came to me and said, the model they had as Michael's mother for the shoot wasn't working out so they wanted  to use me instead. Next thing I was whisked to the makeup chair the stylists and assistants took turns watching Justin and I was in front of camera with Michael. The pictures turned out great and once the agent found out she began booking me for gigs as well. 

That was 15yrs ago and the kids and I have worked consistently since then even Justin was added. We've had some great opportunities in print,  tv and film. For the past 2 yrs. I've been approached by inspiring talent or parents who want to get their children in the industry. if I would represent them as a manager. It has been a joy to help others follow their dreams. My consultation is not about their height or trying  to mold them into a box or idea. I begin by asking what it is they want to do and see  for themselves. We then work on a plan to see how we can achieve those goals together.  I can say there have been many celebrated successes and much more to come.


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© 2017 by Natalie L. Simmons. 

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