Shannon Barker | Newmark Models
I am currently working as a full time model. I'm signed with Newmark models in LA and have been for about a year and a half. I also do a lot of collaborations with various brands and companies through social media!
When I was in elementary and middle school, I would watch America’s Next Top Model and dream about doing photoshoots and traveling like those girls. However, at the time, I had no idea how to go about it. It was always kind of a dream in the back of my head. One day, during my senior year of high school, I saw that Brandy Melville was holding an open casting. My friends made me go… and the rest is kind of history! My sister Cait and I worked consistently with Brandy Melville modeling and doing product research for about a year and a half while at the same time we were vlogging and uploading fashion and lifestyle videos to YouTube!
I realized that this was the career path I wanted to take when it was working! My subscribers and followers on YouTube and Instagram were growing quickly. Other companies besides Brandy Melville began reaching out to have me model for them. I honestly had no other career plan or college interest, and I felt that the opportunities I was getting were too exciting and great to pass up.
There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to my job. I am in control of how much money I can make. The more castings I go to and the more jobs I book, the more money I can make. I get to travel and work with creative, talented, and inspiring people every day.
However, it is still variable income; I have to hustle to keep my income consistent. There is also a lot competition, which unfortunately goes hand in hand with rejection.
Observing the way my agent, Jules Newmark, works has been extremely helpful. She is the most dedicated and hardworking person I know. She doesn’t just do an amazing job - she always goes above and beyond for everyone she works with. I’ve learned to always give 110% no matter who you are working for from her. You have an opportunity every day to be a better you.
Through my work in this industry, I've learned to be confident and to be myself. When I first started modeling, I was always worried that I wasn’t tall enough or skinny enough. I would be nervous that I didn't have the right look or that I didn’t look enough like other models at castings and jobs. Over time, I realized that all I can do is be myself and that I should work hard every day to be the best version of me that I can be.
No matter what industry you work in or what career path you take, always be polite, respectful, and gracious. Always thank everyone you work with and be humble! Work hard and have a smile on your face while you do it. This will take your further than any connections you may have.
Photography: Sam Klegerman