Fashion Model from Canton, OH talks about industry success
Marissa, when did you realize you wanted to become a model?
Marissa: After overcoming serious medical and physical obstacles (my medical story is featured on the Discovery Health channel) I did not feel I was pretty at all and I had very low self confidence. My mom wanted to get me involved in something positive that would help with my confidence and make me feel better about myself, so she contacted Barbizon of Akron. I attended one of their New Faces Open Calls where they recommended that I go through their female modeling and personal development program, which I did.
What did you think of the Barbizon of Akron training?
Marissa: I really enjoyed my Barbizon training! My instructor was really nice and helped me a lot with building my confidence. The other girls in my class were also great, we actually helped each other with our walk—we were each other's cheerleaders.
What made you decide to pursue the national-international market?
Marissa: I thought that it was my chance to model on a bigger level, meet new people, see new things, and make great money.
As a professional fashion model, what are you doing today?
Marissa: I have chosen to pursue the national and international market; I live in New York City and work as a fashion model. I have done a ton of work all over the US, including magazine shoots for Elle, Seventeen, Palm Beach, Inside Weddings, Lucky, Teen Vogue, and The Knot. In addition, I have attended Red Carpet events, shot for Wella and Graham Webb (a European company), and have made a great deal of money. My average day rate is $2,500.00 plus all expenses; I made over $15,000.00 for the Wella shoot in addition to usage fees, which I am still receiving. To date, I have earned an additional $10,000.00 from the Wella project and earned $25,000.00 for the Graham Webb shoot; I’m planning trips to Europe, Asia, and Australia in the near future for various projects.
Has your life changed as a result of Barbizon of Akron?
Marissa: Yes, after Barbizon I had a lot more confidence and it opened the doors for me to pursue fashion modeling; I was able to follow my dream of modeling on a national and international level.
Did you ever think you would have a career modeling?
Marissa: NO! Absolutely not! I thought that I would eventually go on to college and then enter the work force in a “normal” 9-5 job.
Do you feel that you would have been exposed to the same opportunities in the modeling industry had you not received training?
Marissa: Absolutely not. The instructors at Barbizon of Akron taught me things that I previously had no idea about. Before my Barbizon training I had no idea what I had to do to be a model. My instructors helped me with my posture, manners, and my overall confidence. Most importantly, they taught me how to carry myself in any audition and how to be a professional model.
Are you still working with the local Agency, Pro-Model and Talent Management (PMTM)?
Marissa: Yes, of course - I love working locally when I’m home. I can work with them and that way, I don’t have to worry about finding a regular job during the interim periods when I am home and not in New York City; it only makes my life easier.
A few words from Marissa’s mom, Gayle:
From a parent’s standpoint, are you glad that Marissa attended Barbizon of Akron?
Gayle: Yes, I was very glad when Marissa attended Barbizon of Akron. Previously, she had been involved with sports, but due to health issues, she had to stop. Barbizon of Akron gave her the opportunity to remain involved with kids her own age as well as help build up her self confidence.
How would you respond if someone said that you don’t need training in order to be a model?
Gayle: I would just have to say, “good luck”. The modeling business is very competitive; you have to be ready in all aspects or the train will pass you by. With all of the training Marissa has had, she knows exactly what is expected of her, and now it comes very naturally. When we were in New York there was a man who teaches girls to walk the runway. He was asked if Marissa needed a lot of work and practice and his response was, “Actually no, she doesn’t need as much as most.” I have to think that all the work she did at Barbizon of Akron and Pro-Model and Talent made all the difference. Time is money, and the less time the Agency has to spend on fine-tuning, the more time there is for the girls to be able to work. In New York City if an agency has someone teaching you to walk you are being billed for the coaching.