— Life —

Hindsight From My 50-Something Self

Kim Alexis early modeling photo.
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“Here,” the photographer said. He slid my portfolio back across the table.

“Really,” I thought? He didn’t even look up. I broke my neck getting to this “go see,” learning new streets–in a city I didn’t know–taking hot subways to get here on time and this photographer doesn’t even look at me?

That’s what breaking into modeling was like when I first started that hot summer in New York City, 32 years ago.

Until then, I was successful at most everything I’d tried in school, so it was easy to wonder, what’s wrong with me? I was 18, alone in New York City, trying to fit into a job I never dreamed of doing; a job others would die for. I thought about my friends who were partying and having a stress-free summer before college. They weren’t counting calories or worrying about their looks. They weren’t lost in the Big Apple, trying to find their way in a new job they didn’t even want. Most days I felt depressed, isolated and hungry. Don’t get me wrong. I was blessed. I just didn’t feel it some days.

It was hard, lonely work. There were days the agency sent me on “go sees” all day. I never knew who was important, or who I should talk to. Some studios had models all made-up on set, looking cool and collected, while I stood there waiting, feeling harried and very much an outsider. I fought the feelings of rejection a lot back then. My day could be ruined from a bad reaction to my portfolio. Is it me? Do I belong here? Some of the rudest people—the ones who didn’t look me in the eye—were the ones who booked me, while the ones who talked and laughed with me didn’t necessarily mean work.

Sometimes I worked three different jobs a day, at three different studios. I was getting the best advice, from the best professionals in the world, but I had to learn to let certain criticisms grow and others fall to the ground. In hindsight, it was a good thing.

I learned not to compare myself to others; to accept myself the way I am, right this minute, and to accept that others will never be the way I want them to be. Each person is unique. It’s not my job to change them. I learned to focus on the positive because if I focus on the negative, I fail in what I’m trying to accomplish. If I’m having a bad day, I take the focus off me–and my circumstance–and help someone else. That always makes me feel better.

We’re all put in situations that test and stretch us into better people—or worse—depending on how we handle things. Look where you are, today, and accept that more than likely, you’re where you’re supposed to be. Be thankful. One day, you may look back and realize it was the best thing for you! Hindsight!


  • Susan in the Boonies June 21, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Agreed. Not comparing myself to others, and gratitude, are huge game-changers.

  • Rebecca Forstadt-Olkowski June 21, 2016 at 11:35 am

    It so easy to compare yourself to others. Kim has a wonderful attitude about it and is still beautiful inside and out.

  • Jen Lawrence June 21, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Comparison is such a confidence killer. I’m glad you found a way to make it through a tough business with such style and grace. Thank you for the glimpse into that world!

  • Cathy Chester June 22, 2016 at 7:35 am

    What a brilliant post and how wonderful to know that the stunning (and sweet) Kim Alexis battled the same questions that we did. The lessons she learned are ones we all need to learn, and by midlife we sure have! Spot-on, Kim. And thanks for sharing yourself with us.

  • mithra ballesteros June 22, 2016 at 10:58 am

    The idea that we are where we are supposed to be is a bitter pill if where we are is stuck. And that’s the irony of it all. Accepting ourselves and muting our inner critic is the first step to getting unstuck. Wise words, Kim.

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