Feeling confident when you pose or work in front of a camera isn’t something you’re born with. At least that has been my experience. The freedom of expression that I now own has come to me as a result of my personal growth.
I am constantly asked questions about the attitude and presence a model should have in front of the cameras. I’ll tell you what I think based on what I’ve lived.
My first photoshoot
I was 7 or 8 years old when I had my first photoshoot. I don’t remember much except thinking I was having fun and that I was doing some sort of “acting”.
It was around my 15th birthday that I started modeling with a bit more seriousness, but not so much. I must confess that I once went to sign with a modeling agency in Bogotá dressed in my school uniform because I fell asleep on the car on my way there. Oops. I think it was different back then, perhaps more relaxed. I don’t know, but I think I still didn’t fully understand the industry I was getting into.
What I do remember from those moments was that, no matter how many times I had done it before, feeling confident in front of the camera or as a model wasn’t a part of my reality.
I actually left the first casting I attended where I had to pose in a bathing suit. I was too scared. I left another casting because I had to walk down a runway full of people and I was petrified. In the photoshoots I did have, I only complied with what the photographer asked. I was very shy. I was just going with the flow but to be real, I was intimidated by the camera.
When I turned 18 I stopped going to castings because I wanted to enjoy my last year of high school to the max. At 19, without expecting it, I won Miss Colombia, then Señorita Colombia and then Miss Universe.
Suddenly, one in front of thousands of cameras
I think it was until I had to face hundreds of cameras at once and millions of opinions about the way I look, that my fear started to ebb away. I had to live through all the ups and downs of the beauty industry to stop taking other’s opinions to heart. It’s been a deep internal process that goes beyond what’s shown in a picture.
Part of it was learning to live with my insecurities. Accept them. Honor them. Knowing that there’s no need to be perfect. You have to defeat your insecurities because they’ll never go away. Each person does it in a different way. I like laughing about myself, I defeat insecurity with humor.
Another part of the process was recognizing that if you’re always scared of other people’s opinions, it’s too difficult to be free in front of any camera. If you’re always thinking about what you don’t like about yourself or what others think, you can’t focus and do your best.
I have learned that the more comfortable I feel with myself, the more value I give myself, the more I can show my personality and play in photoshoots.
The real confidence, that freedom to be me and feel good in front of any lens came to me when I finished my internal process of accepting myself how I am and for who I am.
Beyond what you project externally, it’s all about how you see yourself from within.
Learning to pose
You can’t really learn how to pose, there’s no magic formula and there’s no test you must pass to become a model. A lot depends on the eyes that look. I also think that each person can have their own style, that’s why you must know what you like about yourself and what you’re bringing in. It’s cool to have a style that makes you stand out you but you must develop it. The truth is that not everyone will like what you do, but you should still do it and do it with confidence. You should also propose and propose with confidence.
Before a shoot
To be honest, I don’t practice before a shoot. I do try to be clear about what’s expected of me and get into that headspace beforehand, and I also try to be open to following instructions and play. Sometimes I do things that I don’t even know where they came from and it’s because I’m playing. But, you can only play when you accept yourself for who and what you are.
I also feel that being receptive to what the photographer says is important because the result depends on the team’s effort.
My advice is…
First, don’t be afraid to explore. When you let go and play is when the best pictures come out. There is always a margin of error and its good to make mistakes when you’re trying out new things.
On the other hand, I think its key that whoever wants to be a model knows that they can participate and feel that their opinion is just as important as the other’s on set.