The camera clicks as junior Shana Chan poses, staring at the photographer behind the camera. Maintaining an aura of confidence, she shifts, twisting her body to strike a new pose for another set of photos. Her body leans against the railing, hand tucked under her chin as hair spills over her shoulders. Despite the practiced angles, Chan is relatively new to professional modeling due to her start last April.
“I first got into modeling when I started posting on Instagram,” Chan said. “A couple agencies reached out to me, and my current agency stood out to me the most.”
Working with Hannah Noelle Models, Chan is contacted whenever a modeling opportunity arises, giving her the choice to partake in a photoshoot. Once she accepts an opportunity, she heads to a location provided by her agency and quickly gets ready. While the outfit is usually preset, makeup is either chosen by the company or herself. Depending on the shoot, there may be multiple outfit and makeup changes.
“Modeling for me is fun,” Chan said. “I don’t really take it too seriously, but it makes me feel empowered as I’m the one in front of the camera. I’m able to relieve my stress, and I’m free to do what I want when taking pictures.”
Although she poses confidently for the camera, Chan recognizes the emotional strain modeling imposes. While always assuming modeling is difficult, she never expected how nervous she would be during shoots. The feeling of eyes constantly watching her causes insecurity, even with the final feeling of empowerment.
“Modeling takes a hit on my self esteem,” Chan said. “I’m scared that I won’t meet the agency’s expectations.”
Because she barely began modeling this year, Chan is still getting used to modeling. Even as poses come naturally to her, working around those who have been involved in modeling longer can be nerve-wracking.
“They’re more experienced and know what they’re doing,” Chan said. “I worry that I’m not as good as them.”
Despite these insecurities, she continues modeling to encourage herself not to focus on others’ opinions and instead look at the positive aspects of modeling. Chan uses her experiences to learn how to love herself more and gain confidence. Even when focusing on the bright side, modeling is hard to balance with academics as she finds herself struggling sometimes.
“Time management is extremely important as I’m still in high school and have homework to finish,” Chan said. “But, I dedicate time to modeling because I like it.”
For those interested in professional modeling, social media is a great start as agencies need to see past work. While it may be stressful, Chan advises others who are interested in modeling to enjoy the process and to have fun.
“Don’t worry too much about what others are thinking about you when you’re participating in a photoshoot,” Chan said. “Be yourself, always.”