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Interview with professional model Selena Renee

Selena grew up in Marietta, Georgia before moving to Charlotte, North Carolina then relocating to Miami, Florida. Her career's foundation is based on the things that are important to her: promoting healthy lifestyles, giving back to the community, and luxury experiences.

Take a look at Selena's portfolio, receive and share your wellness tips, book an exclusive experience, volunteer and access community resources, and connect.

*excerpt from www.selenarenee.com*

Q: What made you want to get into modeling? Is this something you knew you would always end up doing?

A: Modeling began as a hobby for me when I moved to Charlotte. I didn't know many people in North Carolina, and the isolation made me fall into a depression since I had been a social person before. I decided to use my free time to pursue modeling. I always had an interest in being that “glamour girl”, so I decided to just do it. 

Q: What were you doing before you you began modeling?

A: I graduated from college in 2014, and worked for a year in my field of studies in Atlanta. It wasn’t until my spontaneous decision to move to a place where I knew no one, that I began to find who I am today. 

Q: What was most difficult for you when you first began modeling?

A: Getting comfortable with my body and posing in front of the camera. Push through by posing in the mirror.

Q: We all have strengths and weaknesses. What do you consider to be yours as a model?

A: I would like to think that my greatest strengths as a model are my positive energy that I bring to set and my ability to take direction. There are photographers with different styles and some of them vocalize what they envision and some of them don’t. It is important to understand the purpose of the shoot and the mood for great execution. One of the areas that I struggle with is finding a good groove and balance. I find myself with a bad case of FOMO(fear of missing out) and committing energy to many different projects at once. 

Q: Did you have any prior training related to modeling when you initially started?

A: I did not. My older sister modeled for an agency as a child but I have no formal training. I do believe that training is beneficial and would consider looking into it. 


Q: Has anyone ever tried to make you do a shoot that was uncomfortable for you? If yes, how did you handle that situation?

A: I have been asked to do a shoot that is outside of my comfort zone. I thanked them for reaching out, explained that the vision they had does not align with my brand, and wished them the best of luck. 

Q: How do you handle working with a difficult photographer?

A: The only experience I've had with a photographer being difficult was just getting the photos back in a timely matter. To combat this, I would suggest having a model agreement form, so that you can manage your expectations. 

Q: Describe the best way for aspiring models to build relationships in the modeling industry.

A: Work ethic. Never talk negatively about anyone. Keep a positive attitude. Be professional. Be visible by going to fashion events and keep comp cards handy. 

Q: How did you find jobs before signing to an agency?

A: Word of mouth, networking at events, and social media for sure. 

Q: Do you have any advice to others that are trying to get signed?

A: Keep grinding! Be yourself. Do your research! Make sure that you have a diverse portfolio. Never give up! 

Q: How exactly did you get signed to an agency?

A: Networking. I was discovered at one of their holiday parties.

Q: Do you have any tips on building a portfolio? How many photos should a portfolio include?

A: I believe that you should have +/- 12 photos that demonstrate versatility, show your confidence and charm. These should be your best WOW photos.

Q: What kind of outfit do you recommend for a model casting?

A: Think plain Jane! Black jeans and a tank. Don’t forget your heels! No jewelry. Light pencil filled brows (No dipbrow and concealer!) Sleek ponytail.  

Q: You’re a beautiful girl! What do you have to say to young black girls that believe getting into the industry will be a challenge for them because they don’t have a certain complexion or look like people they see on TV?

A: I would tell them what I was told. Work twice as hard. You can do it! Make it impossible for anyone to pass on you. People just like you are making strides in the industry every day to make a path just for you. 

Q: What advice would you give to young women that feel as though they need to alter their body in order to be a model or get noticed in the entertainment industry?

A: There are and have always been industry standards. If that isn’t you, that is okay. The modeling world is definitely changing and beginning to embrace people outside of the bubble. In the same breath, if you feel strongly about altering your body in a healthy way go for what will feel good to your soul. 

Q: Did you ever feel any pressure or insecurities about yourself? If so, how did you overcome that?

A: I do. In an industry where image matters it sometimes takes a toll on how you feel about yourself. I remember getting an edit back from a photographer where he visibly shrunk my nose. It was not obvious to others but it definitely made me feel insecure. I am still learning to embrace the things that make me unique and love myself every day. 

Q: Do you think it’s necessary for someone to move to LA or New York if they want to pursue a career in modeling?

A: I certainly feel that anyone should move when they feel led to do so. However, I do not believe location is the end all be all. I think it is important to make strides where you are. Social media really connects us all and if you leave an impact big enough, your client will fly you where they want you for work. 

Q: What has been your favorite shoot that you did so far?

A: I did a shoot about a year ago that was a fashion shoot at a tennis court with DME snapshots. It turned out so cool. I wish the photographer submitted those photos to a magazine. 

Q: Who has been your favorite photographer so far?

A: They are all amazing! My favorite photographers were the ones that shot me when I first began. My following was much smaller than it is today. They made me feel confident and I am so grateful that they saw my potential. They were the first to vocalize that my goals were not crazy and believed in who I am evolving to become. 

Q: Is there a model that you admire, or who inspires you career-wise?

A: I admire and try to learn from many models but my biggest career inspiration is Tyra Banks. The woman is not only a supermodel, but she’s also an author, producer, talk show host, television personality, actress, singer, and businesswoman. She is the epitome of what I wish to be - Anyone I set my mind to be.

Q: What are your future goals in the modeling industry? What’s next for you?

A: Some of my goals are to walk for a major designer for New York Fashion week, to book international jobs, to build an audience so that I can have a platform to bring awareness to Autism through advocacy. What’s next for me? I will continue to be booked and expand the range of my portfolio. I expect nothing but great things for my future. 

If you would like to connect with Selena Renee more, you can reach her at her website www.selenarenee.com or her Instagram @Selenaxrenee.


Brandi Cooper

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