Confessions of a Girl on Film

How one woman ditched the nerdy kid of her youth and found a career acting, modeling.

by Meli Alexander • Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

I am doing something in my life that I never thought I would do (even two years ago). I am acting and modeling! When I turned 41, I thought that I might take a stab at 40-plus modeling. I grew up believing that I was fat and ugly. I was the nerd in the glasses — always getting A's and B's, my face always in a book.  I was even a library helper in elementary school! By the time I hit my 30s, I slowly but surely became more comfortable in my own skin.

I wasn't quite sure where to begin, but I figured, what do I have to lose? I started out by reaching out to photographers on Model Mayhem. I was lucky to meet those who wanted to do a TFP/CD (trade for print/CD). Then I can have images to build my portfolio. So far, so good.

I tried to find an agency in Seattle to represent me. How hard could that be, right? Since I am only 5'5," it was more of a challenge than I had hoped. At one agency, the rep gently suggested that I should try acting. I wasn't quite sure how to take that, but I thought about it. Why not? I look good for my age, and I love being in front of the camera. Now what do I do?

I looked for acting lessons. That led me to my first class —improv! It turned out to be way more than I could have ever imagined.  Not only did it give me confidence that I lacked, it also made me realize that: A. I was funny B. I have pretty decent timing, and C. it was a weekly playdate with so many amazing and talented adults. I knew I was on the right track; I also quickly became addicted to laughter and applause. 

I continued working with photographers and taking acting lessons. I knew I had to work hard and network, network, network. I also submitted myself to any gig that I felt would be a good match. Indies looking for extras, student films, and infomercials just to get myself out there. I also did more modeling shoots. I have been pretty lucky because I have met and worked with so many creative people who are passionate and dedicated to the arts. I may not always be happy with some of the final results of shoots; I just do my best and try to turn everything into a new learning experience.

I guess what I am trying to say is that ANYTHING is possible. No dream is too big to pursue if you want it enough. Having the love and support of your family, friends and peers? Priceless!

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