How did you get involved in Modeling?
I began modeling officially when a cousin of my husband’s asked me to model for her portfolio back in 2002, she is a photographer. Prior to that I had not met her but she had seen photographs of me and felt I had the look she was seeking for her project.
How long have you been a model? From where did you get started?
I fell into modeling at the age of 22 which is relatively late for the industry. I grew up in a family that was very involved in the arts. My Grandfather was the Art Director at Kodak for several years. He was both a photographer and an artist and so as a child growing up I always had a camera in my face. That, along with my own involvement in the performing arts made modeling a logical and natural fit.
How many shoots have you done so far?
At this point I couldn’t even count the number of shoots I’ve done. I can safely say well over a 100. I did grow up with a very musical back ground singing, dancing and acting. Primarily my experience is in musical theater however I have done on camera jobs periodically including commercials.
Are you working on any current projects?
Yes! I am always working on projects. When fashion and styling are your passion you will always stay busy because the industry is always changing. Trends are forever evolving and I am always thinking creatively. I may become inspired by something or someone I see, perhaps from something I hear or feel and from there a concept begins to grow. Other times my inspiration is something that comes from within me and I feel a need to express that with fashion, make up, hair styling and photography. I am mindful to continue to push myself outside of my comfort zone in order to create expressive work that reaches my personal standards. I have been working on a calendar for some time now and am preparing to release that by the end of the year.
What type of modelling have you been doing?
As a model and a professional stylist I assume many roles in this industry, all of which I love. Wearing “many hats” means I never am bored and am able to remain active in a variety of arenas. As a model I get to create a character and embody them from the inside out. I am able to utilize my skill-set as an actress and as a stylist to bring that character to life. I am often hired as a stylist to prepare other models, providing them with hair, makeup and wardrobe services for a variety of projects including shoots, runway, videos, etc. My experience also includes weddings, event styling, theater and educational training.
Tell me about an area in which you would like to improve as a model?
I believe there is always room to grow as an artist. With experience comes improvement so my hope is to continue to collaborate with other creative minds in the industry. I believe in pushing boundaries and getting outside of your comfort zone in order to evolve. There is no gain without pushing your limits.
What has been your favorite photo shoot?
I have had a lot of fun and memorable photoshoots quite honestly. One of the shoots I did for Prolific I had the chance to work with a variety of animals including an Albino Python, Bearded Dragon and even an Alpaca! I am pretty adventurous when it comes to doing what it takes to get just the right shot. I’ve frozen out in blustery winter snow and melted in the scorching summer sun. I have climbed waterfalls, been in frigid bodies of water and endured rain and sleet. I have laid upon a bed of rose petals a beautiful pristine meadow and I’ve also worked along the urban backdrop of exciting cities. I have been afforded the opportunity to embody and portray such a variety characters and that is what I truly love the most about modeling. So, all that being said I am not sure if I really have just one favorite.
What are your strong points as a model?
I know and accept myself and that is an incredible strength. Like most people, I see areas where I can improve in my work but acknowledging your faults is the first step in the direction of progression. When you are able to accept constructive criticism and use that as a stepping stone it acts as a catalyst to propel you towards your full potential. You must be able to step outside of yourself a bit. We can also be our own worst critics and we can often times be the biggest barrier to our own growth.
Do you think that you have matured as a model?
I have without a doubt matured as an artist/model. Being in this industry can test your armor at times. You need to be able to think on your feet and roll with the punches. I don’t take myself too seriously and I think that allows me more creative freedom. I have always been a performer of sorts but modeling is not the same as being an actress on a stage. There are different variables I had to learn and become familiar with and that took time and experience.
What has been your biggest achievement in the field of modeling?
The greatest achievement for me is being able to do something that I absolutely love and getting paid to do it! Plus it is something I get to share with my children as they have modeled as well. Like most I had to put in my time building my portfolio and networking. I worked on trade in the beginning as both a model and a stylist until the time came when people began reaching out to me to book my services.
Give me a few tips to becoming successful in modeling?
Be yourself. I had initially signed with an agency when I first began modeling and while they can often be a great stepping stone for your career I felt confined in the work that I was able to do. The majority of casting call notices sent appeared to be in search of a more conservative demographic.
Sometimes I fit the box but other times I was not main-stream enough. Eventually I began booking jobs on my own and my versatility with my look ended up being a huge positive in the grand scheme of things.
Who is your favorite model?
I was never one to be star struck. I must admit I love Ruby Rose. I love that she is both feminine and edgy simultaneously. She can pull off anything and look incredible.
Where can the readers follow your career?
Mary Gurnow Wilmot on facebook and www.addictedartistry.com