All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

Morayma Makay – Interview With A Fashion Model

I have known Morayma for close to 5 years, but I’ve only gotten to know her well over the past 2 because of Facebook. Not everyone knows fashion models in person, so I’m honored.

Morayma Makay

She’s not one of the big names that most of us know but she’s the real deal. You know all those magazine ads with models whose names you never know? Morayma has been modeling for a couple of decades now and still does modeling part time. She’s traveled the world and knows many other models and can talk about the industry from the inside. There are thousands of pictures of her on and off the internet, and she’s been on the cover of many magazines as well.

I think this is a fascinating interview and I’m glad she answered the questions as thoughtfully as she did. She dispels that false belief that models are vapid; this is one small and engaged lady.

1. What was your life like growing up?

I grew up in Santa Monica, California…even though I am a Los Angeles native I didn’t grow up exposed to the Industry. I had a very normal, quiet, and actually strict upbringing so school was what I was expected to focus on and that’s what I did. I did have a love for theater and dreamt of someday becoming a stage actress….so I performed in the school plays, etc. Modeling was not something I ever really thought about, to be honest.

2. Did you always want to be a model?

–Nope. I wanted to be a theater actor or an interior decorator! LOL

3. How were you discovered?

–While I was in college in Portland, Oregon I walked into a talent agency to see if I could get sent out for local work to make a little extra money and they decided I had a look that would work well for modeling. Within 2 months they had sent me abroad to work.

4. What is it like to travel around the world as a model? I know it can’t all be glamorous, based on a few videos I’ve seen of Sports Illustrated models on photo shoots, but I’m assuming lots of it is pretty fun.

— It was amazing. I am not going to lie. I am something of a gypsy at heart, so being on the road and traveling to different places all the time was a dream come true for me. Yes, it was tiring to work long days in either freezing cold weather or sweltering heat (keep in mind you always shoot the clothing collections during the opposite season…so you freeze in swimwear and summery dresses, and roast wearing coats during midsummer).

You are constantly being poked, prodded, pinned, hair messed with, etc. so you have to lose your sense of personal space very quickly. When you are on a job you are a mannequin and that’s that.

Some clients are kinder than others. I’ve mostly worked with wonderful people, but I do remember one time on a booking I had the stylist pull a sweater over my head so forcefully (they were in a tremendous hurry to get done) that I ended up with a pulled neck muscle and that hurt for days!! Rejection is also never a nice thing, but for every job I didn’t book, there would be one that I did book so that wasn’t enough of a reason not to love my work.

We got a lot of privileges and perks….VIP treatment at clubs, restaurants, etc. I made a lot of wonderful friends from around the globe. Ahh….just writing this is making me miss it so much! =)

5. So many people talk about models and how they eat? What’s your opinion on models considered too thin, bad or good eating habits, and the positives and negatives of trying to keep your body looking a certain way? Is the pressure high?

–That has always been a pet peeve of mine…that people assume models don’t eat. I have to be honest, while there are certainly girls that do starve themselves to look as skinny as they think they need to look, the majority of the models I met, lived with, worked with and became friends with had very hearty appetites and rarely worked out.

Honestly, the majority of models are genetically built the way they are. I knew more girls in college with eating disorders than models. Generally, if a model is not naturally thin, she will start to gain weight or reach a plateau in her weight and will eventually either quit or go into Plus/full figure modeling.

I never felt the pressure because I am naturally thin, although one year in Tokyo I was sent home because my agency there told me my hips (34 inches) were too large and wanted me to have 32 inch hips. That was mortifying but I got over it….the ridiculousness of that was laughable.

I think the models that do feel pressured to lose weight or be really thin are not naturally thin so they are trying to fit a mold that they are not genetically predisposed to fit….but like I said, I knew very few girls in the industry that had an eating disorder….truthfully only two (one of which was a roommate of mine in Milan).

My belief is that eating healthy and having an active lifestyle is the only way to go. Should models be thin? It may not be popular to say so, but yes…I think so. Not skeletal, but healthy and thin….models are paid to showcase clothing and a thin, taller model will be able to showcase a garment better than a shorter curvier girl. The curvier girls have their own markets for clothing too…I am talking about couture….Really there are many types of modeling (sportswear, lingerie/swimwear, etc.) that prefer a healthier, curvy body-type….but for straight up fashion, thin is always going to be in. 😉

6. We were talking recently about a guy who dated a model saying she didn’t know how to handle her money. Would you say that most models are good with their money or do many suffer like athletes in that they spend it as fast as it comes in?

–I think it really depends on the girl and how she was raised and how old she is too! I cannot imagine how the baby models who are 14 and 15 years old could possibly know what to do when handed checks for thousands of dollars!!

My parents brought me up to be very responsible and frugal and that is how I’ve always handled my finances. I had college loans to pay while on the road too so I knew that I had to keep good track of my finances since you really do not know when your next check will come or how much it will be for! I actually found it easy to save money and take care of my bills at home while traveling because we were always being offered free dinners via the agencies, eating on-set, free lunches at some restaurants (in Milan). All of my expenses were fronted to me (the agencies then take money from our earnings to pay off what they have fronted us) really all I needed to pay for was my airline tickets!

7. I’ve seen a lot of your pictures and you don’t always look like the same person. But some models we see always look the same. Do you feel your versatility is better or do you think it matters in the end?

–I think my versatility comes from my original passion for the theater. As a theater actor you have to be able to convey emotion…not all models can do that. I do see many models that ALWAYS have the same expression. That annoys me…haha! My agencies have always called me a “chameleon”.

I think versatility is a great thing and it helped me work a lot….but I don’t think it matters all that much in the end because a lot of the monotone-faces (lol) still end up working a lot too and I do think that “who you know” is a powerful tool in this biz…as in many others.

8. What’s the best thing about modeling and what’s the worst thing?

–Best thing? Traveling. Good pay (when you get it!). Meeting interesting people. Wearing clothes I could never afford on my own….aka playing dress-up and getting paid for it. 😉

–Worst thing? How fickle the industry can be…and not knowing when your next paycheck will come….

9. How has your husband and kids handled your modeling? Do your kids even really understand what you do or did, since they’re very young?

–I stopped traveling when I became pregnant with my son….I know other models that do travel for lengthy amounts of time and have kids, but I can’t justify doing that. I will travel to a location for a specific shoot, but anything longer than that is not going to happen. I don’t want to miss these moments with the kids because they are so fleeting…..even though sometimes I fantasize about taking off for a while, for some peace and quiet! LOL!

My husband doesn’t think much about my work one way or the other. He knows I enjoy what I do so he’s happy and supportive when I work, and luckily he’s not a jealous type. My kids like when they see me in an ad or a TV commercial…they think it’s funny, actually!

10. Time to shine; what are you doing now and are you enjoying your life?

–I am still modeling and working on commercials part-time. I like that I can do a job here and there and still be afforded the time to be here for my kids whenever they need me. I am enjoying life here in Los Angeles again…..the sunshine and proximity to my family is wonderful! I like that I can work as little or as much as I want because I don’t have to use this as my way to make a living anymore…..it’s nice not to stress about when the next job will come….my husband is the main breadwinner, so that takes the pressure off.

I am also in the process of seeing what else is out there for me career-wise. I don’t want the ol’ brain to rust! LOL! Toying with the idea of going back into the medical interpreting field as I am fluent in Spanish as well. I did that for a while before modeling took me on the road and I remember really enjoying it.

I also need to get back to my own blog one of these days, now that both kids are in school…I have no excuse to not write again! 😉
 

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Undecided; I’m Not Buying It

This is a minor rant. I’m about to get political, without getting political. This isn’t one of those posts where I declare my intentions as to which presidential candidate I’m going to be voting for. Instead, this is a post that is addressed to that phantom group that is known as the “undecided”.

Have you?
Oliver Hammond via Compfight

Why am I saying that this group is phantom? Because there is no way I’m buying the excuse from anyone that “I don’t know who to vote for the office of president”. I just can’t believe this, and I’m going to explain why.

This isn’t a decision between wanting pizza or pasta? It’s not a decision between wanting cake or pie. This isn’t even close; you’re one way or the other when it comes to what you believe politically; come out of the closet on this one.

Every country that is a democracy has at least two political parties to choose from. Each political party has drastically diverse beliefs on how things should go. If they didn’t have drastically diverse beliefs, there would be no need to have at least two political parties.

The United States is no different in this regard. Sure, there are some minor political parties that have some candidates in the race (Roseanne Barr would be one of those this year), and yes, third-party candidates have made an impact on electing a president here and there (Ross Perot and Ralph Nader as examples), but it’s not the norm.

There are a few people out there who are saying to anyone who’ll listen to them that they’re not sure who they’re going to vote for because they’re not sure who the best person is for the economy. Are you kidding me? With everything else that’s on the line, no matter what party you belong to, you’re really going to try to convince me that you don’t know who to vote for because of the economy?

What I tend to believe is that the undecided are really people who are scared to let anybody know who they want to vote for. I have never met a single person who realistically could tell me that they didn’t know who they were going to vote for until they walked into the voting station. Come on now, let’s look at a short list of issues:

Are you pro-choice or are you pro-life?

Are you for or against gun control?

Are you for or against universal healthcare?

Do you believe the rich should pay fewer taxes because they create jobs or that everyone should pay their fair share?

Do you believe the federal government should stay totally out of your life or do you believe there are some things the federal government should help protect people with such as Welfare, Medicare, and disaster relief?

Now, those are American issues, and major issues when it comes to the presidential election, and I’m sure every other country has issues that are diametrically opposed that are core to particular political parties. Those are also issues when it comes to any of the federal offices up for grabs. Every once in a while you find a candidate that agrees with the candidate on the other side on a particular issue, but you can bet they’re not going to agree on all those issues and any other issue that comes up. And of course you might support the ideals of a third party candidate; no problem there either.

In general though, this means one of two things, at least in my opinion. One, you’re afraid to take a stand because you’re worried that someone is going to hate you. Two, you have no idea what any of the issues mean and you’re probably going to vote for someone based on a stupid reason such as the way they look or what their voice sounds like. Yeah, I said it.

Something I’ve talked about on this blog and my business blog is that we all have to take accountability for our actions while still being brave enough to take the opportunities to improve our lives. If you are wishy-washy in your political beliefs then you’re probably wishy-washy in the rest of your life. How’s that working out for you?

Frankly, even though I believe more people should take advantage of their constitutional right and get out to the polls and vote, I also believe there are some people who should just stay home and leave it to the adults who aren’t afraid to let their opinions be known.

And by being known, I’m not saying that you need to go out on the street and declare who you’re going to be voting for. What I’m saying is that if someone asks you if you’ve made a decision, just tell them the truth, say yes, and if you don’t feel like revealing it to them tell them that as well.

But if you say you’re undecided, you know you’re lying and I’m calling you out on. Now, try to convince me I’m wrong.
 

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They Like Me, They… What?

Those of you who have read this blog for awhile know that one of the few games I play online is this game and page called Empire Avenue. It’s kind of a social media stock market game where you trade on each other rather than specific companies or products.

A little overtanned?
radioher via Compfight

One of its features is that you can leave what’s called “shout outs” to people to either thank them for buying your shares or respond to those who write you. As my stock price has gone up I’ve been getting a lot of responses, and I’ve been responding to a lot of people who have purchased my shares. I’m not as good at thanking people who buy my shares unfortunately, and I thought that maybe I needed to work on that.

I “thought” about it, that is. I was dismayed about a month ago when I learned that almost all of the messages I get are automated. I didn’t even know one could do that but it seems that I’m not really as popular or as well liked as I’d thought after all.

I probably should have noticed it earlier because it was the same response every single time, and I knew that, based on doing it once, the page will reject a message that it considers a duplicate if you’re writing it. So, it seems automation can get people around that.

It also explains why no one ever responded when I sent them a message back. I mean, if everything’s automated, why would they even have to consider responding back to anyone right?

About a month ago I talked about over automation and gave reasons why I don’t and won’t do it. On my Twitter profile I have a message that says if you add me and I follow you and then you auto-DM me I’ll unfollow you immediately, and I stick with that. These days almost everyone new I connect with on Twitter has connected with me first, and I’ve learned that many people are connecting with me via automation, looking for keywords in messages I post and therefore bypassing my profile entirely. It also probably explains why so many that connect with me disconnect with me, usually within a week. Hey, that’s their prerogative.

Here’s my point. Social media is called that because it’s supposed to be social. Over-automation basically makes social impersonal. Sure, there are lots of folks saying that we love getting greetings or thank you messages because they make us feel special. Think about it; how special do you feel when you get an automated email thanking you for leaving a comment on a blog without a response back to your comment with it? As a matter of fact, outside of getting confirmation that you either signed up for or left something, how often do you enjoy getting something automated anywhere?

Does someone actually like you if it’s not them telling you so? Do you care?
 

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100 Things About Me

I can’t say I thought of this on my own. I came across a blog post that Holly Jahangiri, who I interviewed at the link on her name, wrote back in 2008 titled 100 Good Things About Me. On that post she said she felt it would be easy to write 100 things about herself but wanted to see if she could go the “good” route. She’s actually added to it and thus is now at 102 things.


I don’t think it’s all that easy. Well, let me rephrase that to say I don’t think it’s all that easy for most people to do. One of the hardest things for people to do is introspection, which is the process of looking into one’s self to see what you’re made of. In my case, I decided I wanted to chronicle 100 things that, when I was done, would give a picture as to how I became the person I am today.

Frankly it’s a scary process in a way because it takes going back to that thing about vulnerability that I mentioned and had the video to in my dreams post. There’s the phrase out there that says “you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you came from.”

Well, that’s not totally true because there are some people who work hard to forget their past that make it. Most successful people will tell you that there was something in their past that drove them to be better, to become successful and rich and all that other stuff. Almost on one said “my past didn’t influence me at all; I just happened to become rich by happenstance.” Some people have become successful by luck, by being in the right place at the right time, but it’s rare.

I’ve never been afraid to examine who I am or my background. I have some regrets in my life but very few. I like to think that when all is said and done I’ve always tried to do my best, to treat people right, to tell them up front what I was thinking and doing, and never intentionally set out to hurt anyone’s feelings unless they deserved it. Perfection; it ain’t me.

So I sat down and came up with 100 things about myself, and much of it is in chronological order. I was truthful with myself because, well, why lie to myself right? And I decided to share it with you.

But not quite in this post. See, when I was done with it, the sucker came in at almost 5,000 words; ouch! Now, if you’re someone who cares to read it, then you can read the list here, which is on a hidden page that I’m sharing with you. Most of my friends don’t know this stuff; well, not a significant portion of it anyway. At some point I’ll pop the link onto Facebook for my friends and give them the chance to learn more about me, but my belief is that they won’t care, and that most of you won’t care.

That’s not the overall point. The point is twofold. One, do you have the guts to look at your life and chronicle what’s made you what you are today, and will you like it? Two, are you willing to be vulnerable yourself and think about sharing it in some fashion? I doubt it; I double dog dare you! 🙂

I know Marcus Sheridan says we shouldn’t write about ourselves all that much because no one really cares about us as individuals. Well, who says he’s always right? 🙂 Someone go tell him I said this; he’ll get a kick out of it.

And onward we go.
 

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Do You Hate Your Own Blog Posts Or The People Who Comment?

I’ve noticed an interesting trend with many blogs that have some popularity. It’s actually not something new, but it’s the first time I’ve had it bother me in some fashion.

Bright Eyes
Jose Roberto V Moraes via Compfight

I’ve noticed that there are many bloggers who will respond to some blog comments… at least initially. If you catch them really early they might be good at responding. They may even respond to some comments for a couple of days. Yet at a certain point they’ll stop responding to comments, no matter how many time and no matter who it is that’s commenting.

I’m not going to call anyone specific out, but I’m betting you’ve seen the same thing happening. You get to a blog, see there are some comments on a particular post, sometimes a lot of comments on it, and you see that the blog owner responded to some of them. So you leave your comment, think it’s pretty good, then wait to see if you get a response.

Nope, nada, nothing. Now, it’s not all that often that I’ll go back to see if someone responded to my comment, but here and there I’ll do it. However, if I get to a post and see there’s a lot of comments, I look to see if the author has responded to them, and how many of them. And if I see they haven’t responded to anyone after the first few comments, I’m not wasting my time.

So what is it that makes these folks decide to ignore your comments? Are they bored with their own posts? Have they decided you’re not worth their time? Are they just too busy once their post has gone life to worry about it anymore? In essence, have they moved onto the next post, the next challenge, with no regard to their past?

How do you, the writer, justify this kind of treatment to your visitors? For that matter, how do you, the visitor, feel knowing that your great comment is going to be ignored because you weren’t fast enough to be one of the first to cross the finish line?

This particular blog keeps posts open for 2 years. Any comment I get during that two year period that I approve, I comment on. How many of these other bloggers are writing more than me? Some write as much, but are they more special than I am and verifying that by not replying to your comments? Are they busier than I am and thus can’t reply to your comments? Do you feel like they’re just mailing it in?

Am I being melodramatic? What’s your overall belief on this one? Go ahead, share your thoughts, or write an article about it on your blog because you know it’s true. Let’s hear it. 🙂
 

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