by Ellie Shaddox, Published Teenage Model
We make sacrifices every day. We give up Captain Crunch, and we eat Fruity Pebbles instead. We give up our Converse to wear our Vans. And then sometimes we make bigger sacrifices; we decide not to see that new movie to stay home and study for a test. We blow off practice for a last-minute tutoring session with our least favorite teacher. The thing that all sacrifices have in common: they’re hard. Really hard. And they only get harder the older you grow, especially once you enter the modeling business. But I’m here to talk about some ways to make them (at least a little bit) easier.
I’ll start by sharing a little of my experience with making sacrifices. Some background about me:
I’m a dancer. I have been for all of my life. Anyone else who has a history of participating in sports or arts knows a thing or two about making decisions. My story starts a couple of months after I got involved with modeling. I had only done a few auditions and a few photoshoots, but I knew it was something I wanted to spend a lot of my life doing. At that point, I had been doing dance team along with hours and hours of training per week. It was getting hard to balance dance team, dance practice, and modeling. I had to make a sacrifice. After thinking it over for what seemed like weeks, I had to go with what made me happiest: modeling. As tough as the decision was, I had fulfilled my year commitment, and then decided not to try out again for dance team this school year. Even though I miss it and the time with my friends on the team, so many more opportunities than I could’ve imagined have opened up because of the time I can give to modeling. I rarely regret my choice because I know that the happiness that comes from my modeling experiences outweigh those that came from dance team. So I’m about to share with my fellow dreamlettes a word of advice about how to make the best decisions with the least amount of regrets involved.
Let’s imagine this scenario: You’re a basketball player. You’ve been playing ever since you were like - well - EVER! But now you think that you want to try modeling. You love how it feels when people are taking pictures of you, putting you in the spotlight, trying on fancy clothes... and maybe getting a little cash on the side! You love doing these things that you never could in sports, so you don’t know why you keep doing something that you feel is holding you back. And this is where sacrifices come in.
Your first step is to narrow down your options. You talk to your coach to see if she’ll let you miss an occasional practice for shoots or castings, you talk to your parents to see if they can drive you to your games as well as your auditions or events, and you set aside time every morning to come in and practice your skills in the school’s gym.
Now, you have a couple of choices. You can cut down on your basketball practice and games and training, or you can lower the amount of time you spend doing modeling shoots or castings. It all depends on what you think is best for you. Not your agent, not your coach, you! And again, sacrifices are hard, but here are some tips for making them easier:
Make a Pros & Cons list. If you cut down on your training, you may lose some of your skills. However, you’ll have more time to work on your poses or pampering yourself. But if you cut down on modeling, you won’t have as many opportunities. Then again, you’ll progress in basketball and make your coach proud. Pros & Cons give you the ups and downs of different situations, and they help you see what you really care about with each circumstance.
Which option will have the best long-lasting effects? You need to ask yourself which of your choices will make you happiest in the future. You might still be able to do modeling in your adult years, but basketball can open up scholarship opportunities.
Availability. A big part of both modeling and sports is driving places and getting there. If you can’t drive yet, chances are you’ll end up asking your parents to drive you hours in different directions. If modeling just gets too busy for your parents to keep up with, you’ll either have to find another chauffeur or rethink your decision. But as you know, driving to meets and games and events and tournaments can definitely be taxing on your parents’ sanity, so again, that decision does rely partly on them.
Go with your gut. If you have a feeling that modeling just isn’t right for you, don’t feel pressured to do it. It’s your decision, after all. And if you have a feeling that sports are holding you back from reaching your true potential, follow your heart.
Think about it. This may seem obvious, but taking your time and thinking things over is the most important part of making big decisions. Most of the time, the worst decisions made are the ones that are rushed.
So now, take some time to think about the real-life decisions you are facing right now. Whether you’re heading to pick up Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks, or deciding which college you’ll be attending for the next 4 years of your life. The most important thing to do when making choices under pressure is to take a few deep breaths and listen to your heart and mind to see where they want to go. And remember, you’re still young. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make the right decision. You are still a kid, it’s okay to make mistakes, but you must learn from them. And that’s the key to making a sacrifice.