Photo Credit: © 2006 Lynne Holder

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Do I Believe?

Since writing about my most unlikely of dreams--becoming a model--I have been entertaining those fond memories of my year working in Miami Beach.

And I wonder, if not for the recession, would I have stayed? If not for the recession, would I have gone further in my modeling career, and more into acting? If not for the recession, would I have ever returned to Atlanta, dated, and eventually married the most supportive and unconditionally loving person on earth?

What if...

The reality is, the recession happened and it halted much of modeling and advertising in their tracks. Film production left Florida, along with the tax incentives. I did go back to Atlanta, and of course, married Leland Holder. One dream became my reality after one seemed to have ended, but some dreams never really die.

Fully aware that the business is vastly different in Atlanta than in Miami Beach (read: slow), I managed to book jobs here and there--a print job for Home Depot and several stock photo shoots with a local photographer.

A casino commercial I filmed in Miami was picked up for another year, which resulted in a nice check. It made me think about going back, but there was no point until there were indications of economic recovery.

I listed myself with a virtual agency, Talent Soup, a visionary concept from the creative mind of Rad Harrell, self-appointed Talent Chef. I went about the business of work in the corporate world (and hating it), enjoying marriage, all the while thinking, some day.

Talent Soup submitted me for a few projects over the next 2 years, until May of this year, when things began jumping. I was submitted for 5 projects in about 6 weeks--crazy for this area--and went to one casting.

It was exciting to see advertising pick up again and I knew it was time--invest in new pictures and be ready. I went into high gear planning a photo shoot to update my pictures for my online portfolios on Talent Soup and at Mega Models in Miami. A week of coordinating schedules of my most amazing photographer and husband, Leland, modeling partner, Scott, and makeup artist, Sav, and we had shoot day set in stone. One of my favorite parts, shopping for shoot wardrobe, was done in an afternoon.  

I was jazzed. It was fun. I realized, even after all this slack time, how much I enjoy this. If this is work, bring it on. Modeling and working on TV and movie sets, working long hours, are the things I have done that have actually resulted in being pleasantly exhausted at the end of the day.

Smiling between yawns, after 12 hours on set. Ready to do it again.

So this is what it's like to love your job.

Since that jump in submissions in May--nothing. Cue the crickets. Strange, since I had received an email from Rad about the shortage of talent in the 55+ age range. So I emailed him my theory about the never-ending American cultural view of beauty being youth, and the norm of men my age typically being cast with younger women. I had apparently correctly identified the gap for female talent in my age category.


Whereas once the doors flew open and the phone rang off the hook, now the doors AND windows have all seemed to shut and lock, and the phone is silent.

But do I still believe that all things are possible?

Are you kidding? I've lived it. I still believe it. Admittedly, some days it's easier to give up than others, but deep down, I know it can still happen. Doors of opportunity can be opened. The phone can ring.

Now, there is a difference, and not just in the business. Where I once had a white knuckle grip on this dream, I now release the outcome. I trust God to do with it as he sees fit, because I know he has my best interests at heart. And in his heart is where I love to be.

Dream your dream, take all the steps toward it that you can, and then release the outcome by placing that precious dream into the loving hands of God.

Do you believe your dream is still possible?


  1. Lynne.
    Thank you for the insight into your heart's journey through this business. As you described, it's truly a roller coaster ride. Some personal thoughts ahead and I'll close with some industry insight.

    Our business clearly demands dogged determination to stay in the game. Even when everything, and perhaps everyone, says you should give up (there's no market for your look! you are too old! you are too inexperienced, you are too _______) one must dig deep within to find the "Dream" to power them along. The Dream must be clung to, fought for, nourished, and defended, at all times. This is true of the important things in life too, of course.

    In our industry, the obvious unvarnished preference for young and fresh is a constant demand and that can be incredibly discouraging. From our persepctive (the Chefs at TalentSoup), it's a river that cannot be paddled least for very long. We age, we change, so any gains against this river are highly temporary. So discovering your look, your "sweet spot", in the industry goes a long way to maintaining sanity in our business. It also helps you figure out where to focus your energies in pursing work. This self-understanding of your strengths is where your Dream and practicality meet. I often have to manage my own expectations to avoid discouragement but playing to my strengths means at least I'm giving myself a fighting chance of success. I say that from an introspective about my challenges in life, not modeling or acting (I don't have a creative, performance bone in my body).
    Keep the faith is more than just a rallying cry, it's the call of those who have found their foundational strength. And that core of belief is what allows them to stand right back up when they get knocked down by a "NO" in this business!

    Now for some industry insight. Of the many things I think TalentSoup does really well, one of our founding commitments is to honesty, transparency and truth for everyone our company touches. And we are always willing to offer our perspective from that position, when asked.
    So, your description of bursts of work and submissions, then "crickets" (what a great description!) is, put simply, NOT YOU, ITS US. Well, specifically, it's not us, it's the industry. Our focus is on advertising imagery and in that world, budgets drive the entire machine. So when you describe a month or two when you had no traffic across your Webcomp, it's likely that you simply found yourself in one of the many lulls in our business. For the record, January through early March are slow, and July through early September are the slowest. Again, budgets drive the rate of production, which drive the rate of model and actor buying.

    As you pointed out, perspective plays a huge role in keeping the faith in our business. Successful talent take a long view and do what it takes to survive (mentally and practically) during the low months. You've got a wonderful, marketable look in my opinion and I hope you don't EVER consider dropping out of the market!

    Be strong!

    Head Talent Chef
    TalentSoup, LLC

    Ps. Thanks for the gracious comments about TalentSoup!

  2. Rad, can I say I love you? :) This is such a great comment! I value your industry insight, your vision, and your accessibility (so refreshing in the old school biz).

    "Keep the faith is more than just a rallying cry, it's the call of those who have found their foundational strength. And that core of belief is what allows them to stand right back up when they get knocked down by a "NO" in this business!"

    Thank you for this, Rad. It's so true. I am taking the long view, or those new pictures never would have been taken. I'm not leaving, I'm waiting expectantly for you to call with a booking!

    I'm so glad you stopped by and joined the conversation! And thanks for your kind words!