When telemarketers call my house, they ask for my mom or dad; about once a year, I get carded for a rated R movie at the theater; and if I leave the house without ID, there’s no point in even trying to order a drink. Yep, that’s me: the photographer who sounds like she’s 15 on the phone, looks barely 21 in person and feels like she’s 35. How old am I really? 27.
When I was younger, my parents always told me I’d appreciate looking so young when I was older. Okay, well I’m older, and I still don’t. While I’m not dying for crow’s feet, I HATE how I know the effect my outward appearance has on my business. I’m not going to get into my whole life story about the depressingly difficult life experiences I’ve encountered, because, while they did play a large part in molding me into someone who feels mature well beyond my respectable number of years, I’m really not looking for pity. Instead, I’m going to focus on the more positive accomplishments that illustrate the type of person I really am.
Here is the friendly, playful me with my camera that I show to the world.
For my first two years of high school, everything about me was average. Average looks, slightly below average grades, average athletic ability; the list goes on. My parents coped by threatening me: “You’ll never go to college, best-case-scenario community college; You’ll never be anything, You’ll never make money,” haha… It made me even LESS motivated.
Then one day I met my sister’s boyfriend at the time – now my brother-in-law – and here was this self-made millionaire with no reason to be interested in my schooling or future, but he said he couldn’t help but notice my potential. He told me the only difference between success and failure is a matter of motivation. I knew I wasn’t trying at anything at the time, so I wondered… what would happen if I REALLY TRIED? I gave it a shot and never looked back. I aced every class until graduation. I retook the SATs that I’d bombed and the improvement was more than substantial. My grades from the last two semesters of high school were good enough to get me into a baby ivy-league university in NY. At this point, I think I forgot how to NOT try to be the best at everything.
I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Hofstra University with a Journalism major and double minor in History and Fine Art. I got a job as an editor for several photography magazines right away and started working just one short day after the class of 2005 threw their caps in the air with elation. A year and a half later I made a lateral switch to another editor job in NY. I was promoted three times in the first two years with that company, and became the youngest editor-in-chief of a national magazine I’d ever heard of. I know it may sound like I’m bragging a little, but because of the disadvantage I feel my appearance and voice present, I think it’s really important that current and future clients know who they are REALLY hiring.
You’re hiring the girl who never stops until she’s the best at whatever she does or has genuinely reached her physical or mental limitations, which I hope I never do with photography. You’re hiring the girl who wouldn’t feel right letting anyone pay her for anything unless she honestly felt they were getting more than their money’s worth. You’re hiring the girl, who if she does anything less than her best, beats herself up more than you possibly ever could.
Here is a little more of my colder, serious side. Warning: I look really scary lol!
When I decided to become a photographer — something I feel I would have officially done long ago had I not had the financial burden of supporting myself in a style I was comfortable with – I became even more aware of all those old parts of me. Since discovering photography as my true passion, I’m more driven than ever to join the ranks of the elite photographers who inspire me: Jared Wilson, Chris Becker, David Jay and Jasmine Star to name a few. That’s the type of girl I am … not some sheltered 21-year-old living off her husband who thought it might be fun to take pictures of pretty brides in pretty dresses.
So existing and future clients, I beg of you: Don’t make assumptions based on my appearance or very friendly, sometimes playful demeanor. Believe me, I’ve lived. I wore a suit to work every day for more than four years, and while often I can’t put it on to take your pictures… in my head… I never take it off.