Photo Credit: © 2006 Lynne Holder

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's Never Too Late

Have you ever thought about those dreams you had as a kid? Did you put them aside, or did they become your reality?

There were plenty of things I dreamt of doing and being as a kid, but the one thing I know I was born to do was to ride horses. I wanted an entire herd of them, and endless, fenceless land to ride through.

When I was about 13 years old, I began dreaming something new. I wanted to be a model. Looking back on it, it seems pretty odd, given the outdoorsy tomboy I was, who followed her father everywhere, but that's what happened.

I brought my wish to my mother. Her immediate answer was, No.

But, why?

I don't remember all the reasons she gave that this would be a bad idea, but the one that stuck was, They'll only reject you. Someone will think your nose is too big, or you're too short, or you're too...

Whatever. I knew I was done.

I was totally deflated. I went to my room and looked in the mirror. My nose isn't that big, is it?  I looked at the magazine article I had read about what was required to be a model. I'm just the right height and weight--5'7", 117 pounds--maybe a little short, but maybe not.

I knew it was a waste of my energy to think about this any longer, knowing that, in my house, no meant NO.

Dream over, buried.

Fast forward, oh, 37 years. I was divorced, kids grown and out on their own or in college, self-employed, making a new life for myself in a new city. A year earlier, I had written a list of no limits dreams and goals and stuck it safely away in my file cabinet. On that list was the goal of becoming a successful model.

I went to a singles group dinner one night in February, 2007, where I met a photographer named Leland Holder. He told me his specialty was executive portraiture, and he asked me if I had a professional head shot for my website. Of course, I didn't. It was a snapshot that I had cropped to head and shoulders.

A few days later, I found myself sitting in Leland's studio, with my stomach in knots, for my very first professional portrait. He was very good at setting me at ease, the glass of wine not withstanding, and he quickly had several good shots.

He looked at me and told me I was very photogenic. Then he asked me The Fateful Question:

Have you ever thought about being a model?

Suddenly, I felt that 13-year-old girl come to the surface. I smiled and asked Leland, Can I tell you a secret?

He lowered his camera, gave me his full attention, and said, Sure.

I've always wanted to be a model, but my mother wouldn't let me when I was a kid.

Well, modeling has changed a lot since you were a kid, and there's a big demand for mature models. I've gotten some really good pictures of you. You should think about it.

Uh-oh. He had to throw me that bone.

That first photo shoot turned into 2 more, and before I knew it, I had enough images to put together a portfolio. I had no idea what I was doing, but I compiled a list of local modeling agencies and with my small collection of photos, I got in the car with Leland and went to the first one on the list.

The agency owner happened to be at the front desk when we walked in. She shook my hand and introduced herself, looked at the photos, and asked me if I could come back the next week for an interview. The following week I signed with that agency, and was ushered back into the photo studio to meet their fashion photographer, Michael Wray.

Thus began an adventure that I never could have imagined. It took me to Miami Beach and 3 more agencies, and one of the best years of my entire life from 2008-2009.

You wouldn't believe the naysayers I had to plow through to get to Miami. These are people who don't want you to realize your dreams because they're too afraid to venture out of the Land of Familiar themselves. But they don't matter.


God provided every single thing I needed for this adventure, including my friend, Steve, to keep me company along the way. For the most part, I was alone in it, in Miami, but only in the physical sense. God never left me. He never will. I grew that year, spiritually and emotionally. It took that time away, by myself, for God to accomplish that work in me.

Michael asked me that first day he met me, Why have you decided to start modeling at age 50? 

I replied, Well, I've been wanting to do this since I was 13, so I figured now would be a good time.

He told me several times he never forgot that.

Do you have a dream that is buried deep beneath the adult world of "shoulds", "woulds", and various pursuits of the American Dream of material wealth? One that the naysayers told you couldn't be done? One that you were told was childish? Or you were just crazy? Then I would encourage you to dig it out, bring it into the light of day, and consider nurturing it.

Trust me. It's never too late.


  1. Girl, this is my favorite post. You have always inspired me with your bravery. Don't ever give up!

  2. Carrie, I love you to pieces! I'm going to write about us one wait!

    Thank you for reading and commenting! :)