Hello! My name is Maria Anselmo. I’m from Brazil and I'm a Social Media intern and blogger for SITA Couture. Anybody who personally knows Sita Thompson, founder SITA Couture, will probably attest to the fact that it’s highly possible that Sita thinks every woman in the world is beautiful. As a matter of fact, she actually has a Coco Chanel quote she loves to use “there are no ugly women, just lazy ones!” Anyone can be anyone they want to be, and learning to model is a life long practice.
With that being said, she also works with some of the most “critically acclaimed” outstanding beauties in the world such as America’s Next top models Kiara Belen, and Lacey Clair, Ms. America Tracy Broughton, supermodel Annette Reine, Jolene Anderson, etc. The list of beauties that represent our line is amazing!
So we got this call from up and coming to lifestyle photographer Madaline Jerdinsky, the granddaughter of Howard Jerdinsky fashion photographer legend, to test for SITA Couture. We were in the middle of planning the launch of our Intimates collection for the Ritz Carlton / Marriott properties and were on a tight deadline. We didn’t want to say no but had no time to hold a casting or even call around to book somebody because Madaline needed to shoot the next day. It was at that moment that Sita looked at me and said, ‘what about you?”
I immediately felt a rock gulp hit my stomach.
I definitely didn’t want to say “no” because I’m not a quitter and I was very flattered, but “oh my gosh!!... totally freaking out on the inside at even the thought of it.
Yes, deep down I was very excited, but that was beneath the fear.
In honor of facing my fear, I said “yes!”
When thinking about it now, what woman reading this blog doesn’t remember playing dress up as a little girl and growing up looking at all of those beautiful models grace the pages of fashion magazines? I think we all wanted to be models at least for a minute at some point in our lives before we start learning to model professionally.
My minute was probably very long ago because nowhere in my recent memories have I even thought of this. I’m actually very shy and love to be behind the scenes. I’m a writer, a content creator, blogger, I’m an observer. But as a “Thank you” to Sita for the invitation, and to challenge myself, I stepped into the role of SITA Couture fashion model for a day.
I looked at it as my day to explore possibilities, face anxiety and learn new things about myself while also things about another aspect of our industry that I didn’t know too much about, the “being in the front of the camera” part. I now have so much respect for not only models but also photographers, make up artists and the creative crew at large. Even a small production is a big production when you're learning to model.
While our shoot was very last minute I learned that when you’re working with professionals who know their business even “last minute” is a walk in the park and the team knows what to do.
We had lighting issues that were solved with reflectors and shifting of locations, we had makeup that constantly needed to be retouched to match outfits and/or backgrounds, we had issues with people walking by that could have called the police on us because we didn’t have permits, we had looky-loo’s stopping to watch as the shoot was going on, we had dressing rooms that had to be made out of thin air, and the list goes on. All of these factors and more were things that came up that I had mini internal panic attacks over but were quickly resolved because at least one or all of the team knew what to do in every situation. This gave me the freedom to completely drop in and allow them to position and direct me in ways where I not only looked amazing but the clothes did too!
I was a little uncomfortable in the beginning but as the day progressed and the team did what they knew so well, this allowed me to step away from fear and feel free to express how I felt in the clothes and to listen to direction. I started having fun and feeling the beauty that they were seeing.
One thing I noticed is that if you are on camera and you feel anxious and uncomfortable, it will show in the photos. It was my teams’ job to make sure that I felt taken care of and at peace so that they could get the shots. I know that everybody was doing their job but I was the one in front of the camera so this really gave me the feeling that they “believed in me” which was awesome.
I’m quite an independent woman. I travel alone, I work very well on my own alone and I’m the furthest from a “need for approval” type of gal. But this wonderful experience showed me a niche where I had no problems “needing the approval of others” because their approval of my expression was apart of everybody’s objective. It was their way of saying “great!.. we got the shot”. I’m still absorbing the lessons of teamwork, freedom, and allowance from this very amazing day.
I appreciate the opportunity. The feedback to date is: I feel more confident about myself, more beautiful, I have a deeper understanding of common objective and teamwork, and a deeper sense of trust in myself. But my biggest take’ away that I’m most thankful for is that I said “Yes”. It all started with “Yes”. Believe me, I could have very easily said no and not faced any of those extremely uncomfortable moments. Wow, so sad to think of all that I could have missed. I encourage everyone to try new things as much as possible. You never know what wonderful things await us on the other side of our comfort zone. So many things to discover and experience. In the end, it is all about self-learning and personal growth and a little bit of courage as I was learning to model for SITA Couture.