Today we’d like to introduce you to Toni Dauden.
Hi Toni, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Born in the Philippines, I have been living in the valley of CA for now the majority of my life. I was the last in my family to learn English and remember even needing my two older sisters and parents to translate for me. Back in 2019, before the COVID pandemic, I was able to visit my hometown in the Philippines and get to really explore and enjoy my birthplace and time with my family as an adult. That is when I realized I wanted to be able to travel the world and make a difference to any place that I visit. Giving back to those in need anyway I can – big or small. The best way I could’ve done that and also incorporated my passion (fashion) was to try and become a signed worldwide model. This would mean I would be able to travel as well as be able to help the world I’m traveling to.
I remember in 6th grade of Elementary School being 5’4” tall. By Sophomore year of High School, while shopping in TJ Maxx with my parents, I got scouted by a modeling agency. However, after many conversations, I was told by an agent in charge of a well-known company that I was “too young to model with the people my height” and “too tall to model with the people my age”… I was about 16 years old. I was still in school so of course that was my number one as well as my parent’s number one priority. Since then, I focused on my education and finishing school for a BS in Business Management.
Modeling has always found its way into my life, no matter how far I ran away from it. Whether it be by a random stranger on the street or little signs given by the Universe, which I take seriously, I would get a sign and know exactly what it meant – to pursue modeling. Then, for my first time ever, I was invited to model for this local clothing brand in Fresno, CAYR, which ever since then, fell in love more with the fashion industry. Since then, I have been featured on the website of Sneakers-N-Stuff for a popular Japanese clothing brand, Needles, as well as been collaborating with local businesses here in my hometown of Fresno, CA as well as all around California in hopes to build to my portfolio.
Modeling isn’t a full-time thing for me. I would love to have my very own businesses in the Philippines and in the US. I do hope to be a signed worldwide model walking runway and being featured in magazines, commercials, and billboards during my time as a freelance model. However, more than anything, I plan on one day being able to own my own business!
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It definitely has not been a smooth road for me! There has been many sleepless nights filled with contemplation and tears of self-doubt. You can say I was frustrated with knowing where I want to myself be, yet facing the reality of where I was currently at. I have so many big ideas and dreams and many times have felt confused as on how to achieve it. Some struggles I remember experiencing just this year was when I hit a ‘creators block’. It was so hard for me to want to feel like creating and finding inspiration to create. That creator’s block probably lasted for a good four months of me just questioning what I really want to do and if/how I can achieve my goals. One thing that kept me sane was reminding myself that “this is not a loss, just a redirection”. How powerful is that? Failure isn’t always a bad thing. It allows you to grow and get closer to what is meant ‘for you’.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I have had always a passion for being a high fashion model — walking the runway to modeling for well-known brands to being seen in magazines/billboards.
I am currently working on achieving my goal of being a signed, worldwide model and have been working as a freelance model for about a year now.
Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
What I have noticed work best for me when it comes to networking is to KEEP ON DOING YOU! The people who are meant to be in your life will naturally gravitate to you and those who aren’t will slowly but surely find their way out. This goes for anything – relationships, friendships, jobs, you name it! This reminds me of a friendship that I gained with my now really good friend, Melody Olivas. Melody is a female photographer who I create with often who also lives in the same city as me, Fresno, CA. She and I met so randomly, by a mutual friend actually. She told me she takes pictures, and I told her “Oh cool! I model sometimes.” and from there, we both decided that we’ll have to create with one another. From then on out, she and I have been creating so much magic together, with both our talents and both supporting each one another as creatives. I know she genuinely cares about my growth, just like how I do with her. Nothing feels better than being able to do work/build with other strong-minded women. We are the future! <3
- Email: Tonidau.email@example.com
- Website: www.tonidauden.com
- Instagram: dopeitstoni
- Facebook: Toni Dauden
Melody Olivas Desiree Ramos Yannick L. Koffi