I was really ugly when I was little so it never crossed my mind that I would ever be a model. After I signed a contract, it went really well and I got a lot of jobs. After about 9 years, I wasn’t getting a lot of jobs anymore. People started saying I was too old for this. They also said I looked the same in all my pictures and could only do the same poses…like "an old dog can’t do new tricks". Who says that? That was so mean...damn.
I started questioning my identity and my value. It was like- if you don’t have work, then you don’t have value. You’re not successful if you don’t get jobs. You’re replaced with new, younger, and different types of girls. I started to question if those were all lies. I took a break and rethought a lot of these things.
I realized if what people can say can really impact me, maybe what I say to myself is what really counts. I started to think about who I am and what my value is: is my value based on what people say about me or what I say about myself? I asked a lot of questions about myself and about life and I got to know myself more. The more I got to know who I am, the more peace I had.
I remembered how I used to love this job and believed that I could do it. I thought, why not try again? I put myself together and went for another shot. It wasn’t easy in the beginning because I already heard a lot of negative things about myself, but I tried to say something really nice about myself. I started to do research about modeling. I started to put effort in and looked at magazines to see the trends, hairstyles, fashion, photography styles, postures, etc. and actually worked hard.
When I went back, it was like I re-found the creativity inside of me. I had it. It never left me, but I had believed in lies and believed I had no creativity because of what people had said about me. I had chosen not to believe in myself. The more I believed in myself, the more and more I felt freedom expressing myself while I was shooting. The more free I was, the more creative I was. It was a cycle. I think something inside of me just came alive. To be honest, sometimes what people say still affects me, but I have the power to fight when people say something about me. I choose not to let it inside my heart.
I actually always really wanted to act, but I got rejected a lot. They want cute girls with big eyes and double eyelids. I know my look is different. People told me I look too sharp for acting and I could only be a model. I realized I always lived in a bubble of “having a dream” and having it in my head without actually ever doing anything toward that dream. I had never done anything myself to actually act; I just listened to agencies telling me I couldn’t. You can’t just keep thinking it in your head; just do it. I had quit without fighting, but this time I was going to fight no matter what. So, I started to train myself to be an actress, going to acting classes and equipping myself to be an actress.
I tried and I did a couple plays but it didn’t really work out how I thought it would. But I don’t regret it. I learned a lot. I was never a person who practiced anything cause I thought I should just be good at the things I’m good at. When I started doing the plays and getting to know people that are really passionate about acting and actually respect it, it was very humbling to need to really practice and realize that my ideas toward acting were wrong. I realized a lot of people that look talented actually put in a lot of work. I had thought ‘if I was born to do this, I should do it great right away’, but the truth is you could be born to do this but you still need to practice over and over again.
Even though I got the plays, I didn’t have other opportunities to keep acting. Most of what I planned and wanted didn’t come through. I’m not going to lie and say I feel totally fine now. I feel frustrated and disappointed and I had a lot of questions about myself again. But I realized I do have a choice: I can still be disappointed and frustrated and see myself as a loser because my dream didn’t come true, or I can get through the sadness and disappointment and choose to see myself from a different perspective, which is: I did what I can, I tried, no regrets. I should be proud of myself.
I don’t think “dreams coming true” always happen the way the world defines it as success. I still keep seeing that I failed and didn't achieve my dream. But, I guess I did do it. I acted. Even if it wasn't what I wanted it to be like. I’m still in the process, but every day I will remind myself that there is always a choice I can make: how you see things, how you define yourself. The choice isn’t from circumstances, but from inside of you. You can’t always change the circumstances, but you can change how you think. What I’ve gone through is never wasted.
I realized what I have inside of me goes with me wherever I go. It doesn’t matter what job I do-what I have is my life, my personality, my background, and my experiences. Whatever job I do, even in a different career or industry, I can use what I have and can express it always. That’s what I’ve learned from this journey. I am who I am and I have what I have inside. I’m still me. My job is not my identity. What really matters is who I am and how I express myself.
I’m excited about my next season and my next step, cause you never know. Life is full of surprises, so who knows? You know, like how that guy said, “life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.”