For years, most people have viewed modeling as one of those jobs where those involved were supposed to show up, look pretty and be quiet.
It is stereotyped that models should be of a certain height, weight and shape to succeed. However, student models at Georgia State prove these stereotypes wrong, discussing the high-energy and confidence-building profession that people often misrepresent.
Sky Meeks, Aidan Caughy and Javon Cawthorn, three professional models at Georgia State, pointed out several critical points on what makes a good model. While agencies and designers are all looking for different things regarding who models their clothes, they all have one thing in common: confidence.
According to all three models, confidence makes a good model stand out from a not-so-good model. The model’s ability to be confident in their skin improves the high shoulders, strut and sharp looks despite appearance.
Even though agencies and designers are looking for models with high self-esteem, it is essential to note that everyone has insecurities.
“Fake it ’till you make it,” Meeks said. “Everyone has bad days, but as a model, it is important to keep a confident look, even on days we might not feel like it.”
According to Hawthorne, Meeks and Caughy, insecurities and imperfections are anything but bad for your career.
Caughy, a Georgia State sophomore, started modeling a little over a year ago, posing for a few of their friend’s photography accounts and fashion businesses. In their first year of college, they started working with friends they had met in the dorms and people from their shows as musicians.
Through these connections, Caughy has been able to work with several local brands throughout Atlanta, focusing mainly on portrait shots. They have worked with photographers and brands such as Sophia Surreal Photography, Eketchi Universe Clothing and several other Atlanta and Georgia State-based photographers and designers.
According to Caughy, meeting people in the modeling industry is all about connections.
“I remember vividly an opportunity for modeling I got was just from walking from my dorm to the dining hall,” Caughy said. “Someone stopped me and asked if I modeled, and when I told him that I did, he gave me his information, and we shot. The opportunities are there as long as you’re comfortable with meeting people and getting out of your comfort zone.”
Caughy recently has been working a lot with portrait shots, especially for album art and promotion for their music. Caughy works as a musical artist and producer under their last name, releasing their upbeat house-pop music on all streaming platforms.
Caughy has released an album, an EP and several singles such as “Boots and Cats” and “Shatter.” For Caughy, modeling and music go hand in hand as the album art, promotion and pictures used for their work are model shots from working with several Atlanta-based photographers.
Through modeling, Caughy has been able to meet several different people that can be of assistance when it comes to music videos and cover art.
“I’m not super experienced with shooting, so it is important that I can have other people to help with that,” Caughy said. “I was talking to a photographer about the cover art for my next album. There is a bridge between modeling and music for sure.”
Currently a freshman at Georgia State, Meeks began modeling when she was sixteen back home in Alabama. She began to model to express herself and her talents.
Meeks was concerned that agencies, photographers and designers wouldn’t take her because of her height when she began modeling.
“Agencies are picky, and I know there is such a thing as being too tall to model, especially as a tall black woman,” Meeks said. “After I signed with my agency, though, I started to feel more confident about my height.”
After modeling for a few years in her hometown in Alabama, Meeks signed on with an agency in Duluth, Georgia. Her modeling agency assists her with getting gigs and meeting people throughout the modeling industry to help her get where she needs to be within the modeling world.
For Meeks, one of the most important things to have as a model is confidence. It is often stereotyped that models can only be one skin tone, body type and style. However, this is entirely false in the modeling world. The industry celebrates several different kinds of models for all sorts of differences. Each one can fit in with an agency or a designer who suits them.
“A common misconception about modeling is that you have to look a certain way,” Meeks said. “And that’s not true. Certain agencies look for certain people, but if you’re interested in modeling, there is something out there for you.”
One major misconception about modeling is that it’s “easy work.” However, this notion of modeling is false because, just like any job in the arts, modeling takes time, patience and talent to perfect the craft.
According to Caughy, Meeks and Cawthorn, modeling gigs can take anywhere from thirty minutes to six hours. While modeling, the models are on the designer’s or photographer’s clock, which can be incredibly challenging for runways and shoots as models have to change in and out of clothes quickly and frequently.
“Modeling is very competitive, and it is for sure work,” Caughy said. “You have to be ready, and you’re on someone else’s time.”
Cawthorn, Georgia State Freshman, started modeling to boost confidence, express himself creatively and explore different fashion senses. Through modeling, Cawthorn has been able to find his unique fashion style by being submerged in a world where fashion is different and innovative.
“Everybody is special in their way, and everyone has a unique look,” Cawthorn said. “That’s what’s so fun about modeling. You can delve into a lot of different styles.”
Breaking comfort zones, according to Cawthorn, is one of the most important aspects of being a model. When Cawthorn began modeling back in 2019, he used it as a way to feel comfortable in his skin. The first time Cawthorn modeled, he worked for an independent brand in Atlanta called “Young Atlanta,” which was a runway modeling gig.
Through modeling, Cawthorn has been able to work with several brands and meet several people. These bands include The House of Chapple, The House of Galore and the Wilmore Sisters at Georgia State.
Several shoots Cawthorn has done included sets and themes that brought out his and the designer’s style and design. One of Cawthorn’s favorite shoots was the one he did with Young Atlanta, where the theme included a desert, African vibe.
“I was able to wear African clothes and hairstyles, which made me feel really embodied in my culture, which was nice,” Cawthorn said.
As an independent model apart from an agency, Cawthorn can pick and choose when he wants to sign up for modeling gigs based on when he has availability in his schedule. As a full-time college student with a job in a fraternity, sometimes it can be challenging for Cawthorn to find availability. However, as an independent model, he can fit shoots in his schedule without overwhelming his school, work and social life.
The modeling industry is a challenging yet rewarding industry that gives people the opportunity to gain confidence, a unique sense of style and a way to make connections with other creative people from all over.
Although modeling is strung with several misconceptions, these models at Georgia State demonstrate just how taxing yet thrilling this job that keeps you on your toes can be.