A Late Post From July 22, 2018

It is sooooo weird/humbling/flattering to see your work reposted, publicized, or put on display. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this shot by Jeff Butler is featured in The Motor House’s current gallery. The stars were clearly aligned because I was already set to head to Baltimore hours after I found out, and fortunately had the time to visit!

A few months ago I worked with Jeff and make up artist Dana Rhone, and we ended up shooting two killer looks. Dana’s ability to seamlessly bring his intricate visions to life is incredible, as well as Jeff’s efficiency and fluidity in capturing the perfect shots. They enabled me to add two different concepts to my portfolio that gave it a much needed boost and really helped to diversify my evolving collection. We all gained new flicks, but most importantly we established a solid working relationship rooted in respect, admiration, and love.

Baltimore will always hold a special place in my heart; particularly The Motor House. It’s gratifying to know that art is limitless as far as where it goes and who it touches. And to think that this is only the beginning! To Jeff and Dana, thank you for selecting me as your muse. To Motor House, thanks for all of the posi vibes and serving as a home away from home. Until next time guys. I love you!

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To my fellow bloggers, be sure to check out The Motor House on Instagram, and to visit their website as well!

http://www.instagram.com/motorhousebaltimore

http://www.motorhousebaltimore.com

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A Late Post From July 16, 2018

After my car accident, I was scheduled to shoot background on two different TV shows, one of which I was handpicked for by the producer himself. When I had to call the casting company and withdraw from my bookings, I was crushed. My left forearm bore gruesome wounds, and my left thumb went from being heavily blistered and discolored to literally shedding its skin. There was no way I could be on set for any type of job because my arm and hand had to heal in order for makeup to be applied, and even photoshop couldn’t save me.

I am pleased to say that one month and 14 days after almost losing my life, I booked my first job back, which doubles as my first background role too! I had the opportunity to shoot the pilot episode for a show that will be airing on the USA Network. Many thanks to Grant Wilfley Casting for bringing me on board and making this possible. I met some amazing people, learned a lot, and fake partied my day away!

In closing, when I stopped stressing and started focusing on what was/is most important (my recovery), everything started falling into place. Never doubt God’s will for your life! He ALWAYS does what is right, even if we feel contrary. I had to remind myself that a set back in our eyes is a set up in His. #BeStillAndKnow

I Had To.

It’s easier this way.
I’ll keep you in the dark for as long as I can,
but it will be your fault when I finally pull the trigger.
I could talk to you about things,
but I would just be reiterating what you already know.

I want to do everything but say goodbye,
but “everything” always comes back to bite me in the end.
We are take it or leave it.
We are all or nothing.
Always were. Always will be.

What About You?

My life has changed drastically over the past month. I’ve wanted to write about it for so long, but I couldn’t find the right words to say. I still can’t. Writers block is the worst, especially when I find solace in sorting out my thoughts via poetry, or simply jotting down what I feel to help make sense of what is going on in my life.

I realized that sometimes it isn’t about writing the next best piece that perfectly captures the current drama. Sometimes it isn’t about nailing a blog post that reaches the masses. I am finally becoming okay with not knowing how to feel, as well as not knowing how to write about it. How do you guys cope with life when you can’t put what’s going on into words?

Faith vs. The Modeling World

Not too long ago, my co-worker said “I don’t know how you model Stef. I could never do it; I would be so self-conscious.” I just shook my head and shrugged. The standards of the modeling world and the way that it works never deter me from moving forward, nor do they alter the way I look at myself. But even though I have never really struggled with low self-esteem, being a model can be very draining.

To be in an industry where your compensation is determined by the way a client feels about you from head to toe is a lot. There is a subconscious pressure to constantly look perfect all of the time: clear face, beautiful skin, maintained physique, seemingly feeling your best despite any internal or external conditions that might effect your appearance or the way you’d normally work.

What has helped me in my modeling career thus far is to simply stay the course. For me, a major part of being a model is understanding that there are millions of women in the same industry as me, while recognizing that I still have something special to bring to the table. You have to believe that there are companies, brands, and agencies who are searching for you just as much as you desire to work with them.

Modeling equals investing in yourself. It requires confidence, humility, acceptance (accepting rejection but not allowing it to break you), a relentless work ethic, calculated risks, and a whole lot of sacrifices. I live a faith-based lifestyle which enables me to pursue my dreams full throttle. My belief in God causes me to disregard statistics and lean on Him for direction, strength, and wisdom while on my path. I was built for this life; my mind and my heart affirm that every day. So tell me, what are you built for?

Self Tape on Adversity

 

Last June, in order to submit for a role, I had to record a self-tape talking about a specific period in my life where I felt helpless and/or hopeless, and was able to overcome adversity. I briefly summed up a sequence of events that spanned from age 11 into my late teen years.

Coming across this tape reminded me of how far I’ve come: emotionally, spiritually, financially, and physically (speaking of – my white blood cell count was low, not my red!). Fractions of my life are portrayed in my poems and are sporadically dispersed in my blog entries, but I rarely talk about my story in its entirety because it’s lengthy, and extremely intricate.

In a previous IG post (now deleted, but still on my blog), I had elaborated in greater depth on the content featured in this video by paying homage to my baby cousin with a piece called #MySuicideStory. It detailed my history with depression, as well as my bouts with suicidal ideation.

I always believed that God led me through my darkest times to not only test my faith and to build character, but to be a blessing to others. Our power doesn’t just lie in being able to overcome trauma, it is shown in our ability to connect with others and help them with theirs. Sometimes sharing what is most personal can be uncomfortable, risky, or reveal other truths that might not have been discovered or went without addressing. But for me, one of the best things I’ve ever done was turn my worst days into art and advocacy.

Before I re-did my Instagram page, I had posted this picture on there, as well as here on my 25th birthday (November 2nd). It is truly gratifiying to realize that a lot of what I claimed in the caption is coming into fruition: new risks, greater opportunities, bigger financial gains, and a broader outlook. These past few weeks have been filled with amazing collabs, artistic growth, and bookings (both solidified and tentative) that wouldn’t have even been mere possibilities this time last year.

One thing I HAVE started doing that was not a part of my lifestyle when my 25th birthday arrived, was accepting the current period of my life as a tiny fraction of what is to come. Amidst all of the beautiful events unfolding for me lately, I spent quite a bit of time dwelling on my knee injury, and stressing about all of the personal expectations I had set for my body this spring and summer. But the truth is, a hiccup along my route NOW, doesn’t effect my final destination.

Life is about duality. We often accept one hard truth while denying the other(s); and what good is it to try to press forward on your path without an honest look at yourself and the space that surrounds you? I am overwhelmed with joy, not because so much is going right in my life, but because I am making a conscious effort to keep my faith and positivity intact while things unexpectedly go wrong. Today I encourage you to give thanks for everything: your success AND your struggle, because life is a constant tug-of-war between the two. #HappySunday