My good friend Dani and I have been in the modeling industry for six to 12 years respectively, and plan to stay in it as long as it will let us. While we’ve learned the tips and tricks to navigate our jobs with as much calmness as physically possible, it goes without saying that we’re in a tough industry that is both physically and emotionally draining. We’re constantly in a state of anxiety with our last minute schedules and every friend we seem to make will come and go from NYC as fast as the latest juice shop. For the friends that remain constant, we’re often competing for the same jobs… stressful to say the least.
For Dani and I, we realized the way that we can calmly remain in such a hectic industry is by focussing our energy and downtime on side gigs and hobbies outside of the modeling world. For me, that was the inspiration behind starting this sustainable company, ODM/ODC. While I love my job and what I do, I was beginning to find it difficult to be in an industry that was not only competitive with my peers but also one that was quite wasteful. Rather than quitting, I thought I could continue modeling and using all the connections I’ve made the past six years to create something positive that would hopefully help create change, for me it was by starting a sustainable company. This will hopefully not only help me learn and grow but motivate those around me to do better.
Dani has always had a passion about getting her community together to do fun activities. She recently launched Ladyballerzz, a community give-back initiative to get her peers together for a fun game of basketball. She was sick of paying at least $15 per for a workout all around the city and wanted to give her community a fun free workout that would get people moving and laughing off the stress of their day jobs. Ladyballerzz pairs up with The City Basketball which is a 501(C)(3) non profit youth organization serving New York City student-athletes. They believe basketball is a vehicle to keep the youth safe and off the streets and work on inspiring student-athletes to become well-rounded individuals by instilling patience, self discipline, hard work and commitment; something that goes hand in hand with Dani's mission.
In starting our own companies, we realized a lot of our friends had cool side gigs going on as well! As we mentally prepared for the upcoming fashion week, we thought what better way to give back to our own community by having a night of pampering to help our friends and peers as they gear up for fashion week. We would break down all the negative barriers that are often attached with being in the fashion world, as well as celebrating all our close friends who had incredible projects of their own. For the younger models in attendance, we hoped this would be a night for them to relax and realize that having something on the side often helps to alleviate the stress and loneliness that comes along with our jobs. If modeling is their main thing at the moment, great! As long as there is love and passion behind what you do day to day, I think it makes it much easier to stay motivated and grounded in this city. And for when it gets a little too stressful, hopefully at our event they were able to meet a new friend who they can turn to for support.
We started the event with a little chat about how Dani and I navigate this industry, what we do in our off time with ODM/ODC and Ladyballerzz as well as an introduction to both of our biggest inspirations in the modeling world, Toni Garrn. She shared with the girls how she’s been able to maintain such a successful career for so long all whilst creating her own give-back foundation, the Toni Garrn Foundation. Beyond modeling, one of Toni’s biggest passion is little kids and with her own foundation she works to create schools in Africa and spread the message that education is a right, not a privilege. It’s doing work like this on the side where Toni can use her success in the industry to spread this important message to all of her friends and following. As models, we are all incredibly blessed to have huge social media platforms for people to listen and look up to. Rather than abusing this power, Toni makes sure that all of her followers know the importance of education to little kids around the world, especially in Zimbabwe where she has helped build schools, separate laboratories and dormitories for all the kids she works with. Inspiring to say the least.
We also wanted to make sure our community knew about all our other friend’s cool side projects they had, as this is what truly makes our New York community so special. Our vendors included:
Aine Campbell; Focuses on professional development outside of modeling. They connect you with mentors and resources around being an entrepreneur and also will connect you with other models who are on a similar journey. Events coming up with year: "What does a model resume look like?" and "How to build a website (in partnership with Squarespace)" and Models disrupting the fashion industry with tech."
Zoe Colivas of Zoe’s Table; Zoe realized the importance of balancing health and wellness on the go by creating easy recipes that are delicious and easy to take with you on your castings. She loves bringing her community together over a good meal and conversation.
Joe Holder; Joe is a top NYC trainer who values balancing health and wellness with mindfulness. His holistic approach to working out sets him apart from other trainers and his workouts are manageable and incredibly effective!!
Rebecca Casino; Rebecca talked to you all about eco-friendly beauty and the importance of tuning into your authentic self and taking time to care for your mind and body.
Face Love; What looked to be THE MOST relaxing facials where provided to you by Face Love. They made our event that much more special.
Dominyka Gajauskaite of Amberlight Beauty; Dominyka started her own skin care line as a result of being sick of the unfriendly products being used on her face time and time again. Her serums are our favorite...
Our guests were able to mingle and network with our vendors to figure out more about their products and companies. In addition to these vendors, we had a huge list of sponsors who were able to make our gift bags SO special. A big thank you to Ripe, ADAY, Amberlight Beauty, BOKA, The Bosco, Cat's Jewelry, EcoEnclose, Faubourg, Health Ade, Jaw x Jawshop, Kalumi, Rise, RYU, Schmidt's Deodorant ,Sub Rose, Redd Bar and Vermont Village.
Check out the pictures from our event. It was a lovely way to celebrate each other and our community, meet new faces and have a new friend to turn to whenever living in New York or navigating the fashion industry gets a bit too tough. Stay tuned for more events in the future!