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…’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! 😉

31 thoughts on “Morayma Makay – Interview With A Fashion Model”

  1. Wow, that was a really great interview. My second cousin seems to be heading down the modelling path, and already she seems to be targeted by some jealous types. As a model have you ever come across people who were jealous of your natural attributes?

  2. Hello Sire! Thanks for your comment! =) Congratulations to your cousin! I am sure that as long as she keeps a good head on her shoulders she will have a wonderful experience as a model and those jealous types won’t pose any obstacle to her career. I have encountered jealousy myself, more in the form of snide remarks about my weight….but overall I don’t think I’ve dealt with more jealousy than anyone else does. Sadly, I think that insecure people will find something to be jealous or envious about no matter what line of work one may be in! 😉

    1. So true, I know I get snide remarks all the time from people jealous of my prestigious blogging career 😀

      You are right though, it’s going to happen regardless of what you do and so you just have to ignore it and get on with whatever you’re doing.

      So nice to be having this char with you.

  3. Very good interview, Mitch and honestly, I think Morayma is not only beautiful, but very smart woman. Mitch, I don’t think that you know that, but I also write fashion blog and I’ve never done interview with fashion model, this gives me more ideas now.

  4. I bet when people first meet you they have preconceptions about models. I believe everyone has to prove themselves or fake it.

    Either way I would not be jealous, I would figure you are marketing what you have and we all have to do that.

    Modeling is no different than marketing in a sense, you have to sell your image to the camera.

  5. Great questions, and insightful replies. It’s nice to read such an honest interview. Much more real and fun to read than many I’ve seen in big-name magazines!

  6. I was too engrossed in reading this article of yours Mitch. I could have never thought that you would get into something like this but to be frank I liked it. What I felt after reading this interview is that these celebrities are also like us, they too have their opinions and views. All I felt until now was that these celebrities are all about acting, but no they have a heart. Thanks for sharing this post Mitch, I was enlightened.

    1. Thanks James, but I don’t think she sees herself as a celebrity or even just another pretty face. This was her job, and she did it well, but it came with its own issues. That was my real point in wanting to do the interview; I knew she’d give an honest account of what it’s all about.

      And, after all, this blog is called I’m Just Sharing; you never know what you’ll see here. 😉

  7. How good is it to have a career that you enjoy and also have a life beyond it! I’ve heard so much about models never ending up with a great life after their shelf life as a model ends. But Morayma seems to have done just that. It’s amazing that she is ambitious and family-oriented at the same time – two qualities that don’t usually pair up. Thanks for sharing this Mitch. It is a very insightful peek into the life of a very beautiful and smart lady.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the interview Jack. I’d like to think this interview dispelled the belief that models don’t know what to do with their lives as they progress in age. Seems that as a group they’re pretty much like everyone else; some get it right, some don’t.

  8. I must compliment you for coming up with such an insightful blog. We normally have such extreme views about models, so you putting them across in such a positive light is a refreshing change. I loved the blog for many reasons but the best thing about it is that you actually managed to bring out the simplicity and innocence of Morayma Makay, you didn’t try to glamourize or sensationalize it which was commendable.

    1. Thanks Nicholas; I appreciate that compliment. Truth be told, I tend to think of everyone as just another person, whether I admire them or not. In this case, Morayma is a regular person who happens to work in a profession that’s glamorized but not understood all that well, so I wanted to bring some of that to the attention of folks. I’m glad it worked out well.

  9. Mitch! You may have a new career as a talk show host or something. This interview was awesome. Morayma, thanks for sharing a bit of yourself with us.



  10. Mitch,

    I concur with everyone else here. This is a great interview. You asked some really good questions You should consider doing SKYPE interviews—and start with her. 🙂

  11. Thanks to everyone for all of your sweet and thoughtful comments! That makes a girl’s day! =) I really have always just thought of myself as a regular girl trying to make a living in an industry that isn’t always viewed as very “regular” or is often misunderstood. I really appreciate all of your nice comments and I feel honored that Mitch asked me to do this interview!

    And, Michael Belk is right….people really do have a lot of misconceptions of models….it’s one reason why I’ve never really introduced myself as one when people ask what I do for a living. I find it awkward to say that I am a fashion model…..there are sadly so many negative connotations that come along with that work title….*Sigh* Someday that will change, I hope! =)

  12. It was a really good interview. I really wish models would be a lot more healthy. They are role model for many young girls out there and who want to be like them. So if they eat unhealthily and promote a lean and skinny figure others tend to follow. Instead of promoting dieting they should actually encourage having a good balanced diet and exercising daily.

  13. Hey Mitch,

    I’ve only just seen and read this interesting interview. I think girls are always a bit fascinated by models, (I know I am) and all I can say is you asked the questions I would’ve asked especially about the dieting and exercise bit! I always thought most models must be naturally thin, either that or their lives must be miserable!! And most people would not choose to be miserable in their work would they?

    P.S. Every blog owner should have one of your edit features for comments, it’s saved me three times now!!

    1. LOL! Roz, that feature seems to be one of the most popular on this blog. As for Morayma’s interview, I didn’t want the typical fluff feature you’ll normally see in magazines with the supermodels, if you will. I think this is a more honest approach to a real person and someone who’s working that just happens to be in that industry.

  14. Well look at you Mitch… Rubbing shoulders with the beautiful people! She definitely is beautiful and sounds so very down to earth as well.

    That’s what makes this a great interview. Getting the inside scoop on how models think and what’s going on. They are real people too ya know.

    Thanks for sharing this and great job. That would have been a fun one on Google Hangout! 😉


    1. Thanks Adrienne. She’s good people and after so many years, I knew I could get her to do the interview. If I could pull it off I’m going to be going for some other interesting interviews, both people folks know and some folks don’t really know all that well. As for a live interview… we’ll see.

  15. I loved your article. You have made us feel that they are also common people like us and not Goddesses or mannequins. It must be hard for them to work in such a field where they have no personal space and where everyone is staring at them. On top of that they have this pressure of constantly looking good and in shape. Whew! That is really a tiring job. I really hope you are paid a lot for the trouble that go through.

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