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Meet Shelsea Vera

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shelsea Vera.

Shelsea, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in 1999 in Paramount, California to Mexican parents who had just arrived to the United States from Mexico. We lived there for some time and later moved to Lancaster, California. My dream is to be a model.

I remember watching models like Gisele Bundehen and Adriana Lima walking down the runway and I knew I wanted to do that more than anything. Around the age of 13, I decided I wanted to take a step into that direction and I went to my first agency. I was denied because I wasn’t tall enough at the time nor did I have the “model look” they were looking for runway or print. I was so young and naive going into this abstract idea of becoming a model that I had no idea how harsh of a reality the model industry could be. Reality set in and I stayed away from the idea of stepping back into another agency.

I had plans of attending a four year right after graduating High School and I knew life would get hectic with the big change of moving away from home, my friends and everything I knew to be a comfort zone for me but I was ready for it. I had my whole life planned out, do good in high school, go to a good 4 year and get a job right after I was a gold graduate with a GPA of 4.7 and got into all the universities I applied too but, God had different plans for me. I later found out that I didn’t qualify for any student aid for college and evidently my family was unable to afford it so that put a pause on what I had planned out for myself for so long.

I ended up keeping the same job I had gotten my senior year and I ended up going to a community college. It seemed like my life turned into such an adverse direction. I had a lot of free time during that summer considering I wasn’t going away to college anymore. I saw an opportunity for a runway show for LA Live and I decided I’d give myself the opportunity to try it. Baza Couture was my first real runway show that summer and ever since then I’ve been at the edge of my seat with auditions and different opportunities that have helped build the path that I want for myself.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Modeling can be a harsh reality. There’s always expectations that have to be met in the industry and sometimes they’re unrealistic. There’s always a certain height, weight, look etc. I’ve had a lot of internal problems with myself because I become so insecure with my body and how I look as a result of being denied from a show or audition. You would never guess I feel this way if you look at my Instagram but that’s reality and the reality of many. I constantly have to remind myself that I’m worth it and that the industry is so big that there’s always going to be a spot for me somewhere.

Most of my auditions are hours away from me and sometimes the back and forth driving for auditions and shows can get exhausting and especially discourage when you don’t get it. Modeling is risky because some weeks you may have multiple jobs and other weeks you may not have any work at all. I think the hardest struggle is balancing a full-time job, being a full-time student, and modeling at the same time. I feel that getting an education is very important and having a safety net with a stable job is also important to me, That’s why I balance all these things although it gets hectic, it’s my life and it’s what I love doing.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Modeling makes sense to me and is my way of making sense of my identity. Everyone’s perception of art is different and I feel like modeling is a form of art. I put my heart and soul into it because I love the feeling I get from doing it and I love being able to help someone’s vision come to life such as the photographer, designer or brand. I love the process of the change that happens in a model from beginning to end. It’s like metamorphosis where you start out unknowing and fragile but then become captivating and resilient.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’m planning to improve on what I’m doing, there’s always room for improvement and that’s what’s most important is improving to better yourself. I have a lot of projects that I’m currently working on an I’m really excited about. I know with hard work and dedication I can obtain anything I want.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Flavio Gallegos, Tim E

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