Style: Q&A with Columbus Monthly's March cover models
The professional modeling business in Central Ohio has grown exponentially in the last few years, spurred by the surge in the local fashion and design industry. Columbus Monthly frequently works with Sigal Models for fashion shoots, so we asked the spring fashion models featured in this issue to provide some insights into their work.
Both Madalyn, who is the cover model, and Andrew are Central Ohio residents with other pursuits, in addition to modeling. Madalyn is a full-time student and Andrew is a statewide communications professional. Sigal Models has requested that only their first names be used.
What inspired you to get into modeling?
Madalyn: As a little girl I always looked up to the women in magazines. I thought they were beautiful, but even more, the confidence that shined through made them seem like such strong and powerful women. It is the kind of woman that I aspire to be.
Andrew: I decided it wasn't fair to keep all this beauty to myself and thought it was time the world was given the chance to behold my radiance.But seriously, a photographer friend of mine told me I had features that might photograph well. I took some test shots, submitted them andSigal Models signed me. I'm not entirely convinced I wasn't signed as a charitable tax write-off. You'll have to ask them.
What has surprised you most about your experience in the industry so far?
Madalyn: I think models' lives tend to be glamorized and the difficulties of being a model are rarely discussed. Therefore, coming into the industry I was surprised by the amount of hard work, dedication and stamina that is needed to be a successful model. This struggle has made me grow more of an appreciation and understanding for modeling. Now I love it even more.
Andrew: My only prior experience was watching America's Next Top Model and an HBO documentary on the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models from the '90s, both of which taught me that swimsuit models are very cold. If anything surprised me, I'd say it's the complete lack of pretension. It's a group of professionals working to get the product they want. I'm just the human coat rack they hang the clothes on.
How do you prepare yourself for a photo shoot?
Madalyn: That depends because different photo shoots can be very different from one another and sometimes I don't necessarily know what I'm walking into. Although, for the most part, the night before shoots I try and relax, have a nice dinner, get everything ready that I need for the next day and attempt to get a lot of sleep.
Andrew: I treat it like any job interview or meeting. I try to get plenty of sleep the night before… I show up early and give myself plenty of time to arrive so I'm not stressed or anxious when I get there. However, the main difference is that, unlike a meeting, I sandbag my appearance in the morning. [Hair and make-up is always done on the set of a photo shoot.]
What personal styling advice do you have for others?
Madalyn: Fashion is an art, and I think it's something we use to express ourselves and our personalities. Therefore, I think it's important to dress in clothes that you connect with and that make you feel good!
Andrew: I'm probably the least stylish person you could ask this question. But I stand by the sage advice of wearing what is flattering to your body type, and making sure it fits correctly. I'm not what one would call super trendy—most of the time I'm in jeans and a button-up. But if I don't get the right fit, I start to resemble one of those guys on a “Dateline” special whose first wife went missing while they were boating. Also, nothing makes you look older like trying to dress younger, which is advice I think Real Housewives should hear.
Columbus is known for its strong fashion scene and connection to major retailers—what has it been like starting out here?
Madalyn: It's been amazing. Due to this, I have been able to sign with a great agency,SigalModels, and through them I have been lucky enough to have many opportunities in all fields of fashion, which include runway, athletic wear, e-commerce, high fashion shoots and more.
Andrew: It's been nice not being asked to stand outside Abercrombie stores at malls and spray cologne on unsuspecting passersby.I was also pleasantly surprised by the number of boutiques and independent retailers in the Short North, which provide a solid balance with major retailers.
When you aren't modeling, how do you spend your spare time?
Madalyn: I tend to be pretty spontaneous and do things according to my mood, so every day is different for me. I enjoy being active, such as going on hikes, biking and yoga. Also, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. Art is also a passion of mine so whenever I have the time, I love to paint and take photographs.
Andrew: By day, I'm a communications specialist for a nonprofit. I'm also a part of a [U.S.] Masters Swimming team. Otherwise, I do what most young people do in Columbus—dinners, drinks, movies, etc. And I spend way too much time watching Gilmore Girls, so if any readers want to discuss which of Rory's boyfriends she should have ended up with, I'm up for a debate.
After a modeling job, have you ever gotten to keep the clothes—or loved something so much you went out and bought it?
Madalyn: Haha, yes! I remember one time after a show all the models were told we could keep the outfits we wore, and I have never been so excited. One of my favorite parts about modeling is the opportunity to be right in the middle of the fashion and beauty world. It's always exciting to see the new trends and ideas.
Andrew: I keep meaning to buy the navy shirt from Thread I wore for this shoot. If anyone feels like buying it for me, I'm a size medium.
What is the one thing about modeling in Central Ohio that you would like for readers to know?
Madalyn: My advice is be confident and be yourself. Having confidence and truly enjoying what you do definitely shows. I think this also makes people want to work with you more because you are hardworking, while also having a personality and enjoying the shoots.
Andrew: There are a number of opportunities, so if you're interested, you might as well try it—unless you and I would book similar jobs. In that case, you should stay home.