Everyone is beautiful in their own way, but some people pursue beauty as a career. Smith-Cotton High School has its own models roaming the halls.
Junior Cameron Newbill, 17, models for KCVoices in Kansas City and for Arizona Model Management in Arizona. Sophomore Saige Peterson, 16, works with The Agency KC.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Newbill, who was discovered through Instagram. Wendy Buono, the agent who found her, called and asked if they could meet, and ever since Newbill has been working with Buono and fellow agent Melissa Jone.
“My family has been really supportive,” Newbill said. “They’ve wanted me to do this for a while now, and once I was discovered, they were so happy. They’re also so happy that I get many opportunities to travel.”
As Newbill was fulfilling her first gig, she said she was out of her comfort zone.
“I wasn’t sure if how I was posing was right and the photographer reassured me and said, ‘You can’t do anything wrong,’” she said.
Every model brings their own spark to the photos. The way the model will pose also depends on the photographer.
“The photographers have the vision of how everything is going to look and it’s the model’s job to fulfill that vision,” Newbill said.
Peterson got her start in modeling at a family reunion. One of her relatives is in the modeling business and told Peterson she should try it out. She sent a picture to an agent, and got contacted back right away.
“At first, my dad didn’t know if he wanted me to model or not, but my mom said if this is something I wanted to do, then I could,” said Peterson, whose job varies from doing commercials for movies and TV shows to modeling for openings of stores and companies. “The most fun part is seeing the finished product.”
Buono and Newbill have been working together since last spring. Buono has many plans for Newbill’s future, including taking her to New York this summer to meet big agencies and pursue national/international contracts.
“We love working with her,” Buono said. “She has been very motivated to follow the directives we have given her to get her career started properly. Clients have all given us incredibly positive feedback on her and report that they love working with her.”
As Newbill gets ready for a shoot, she gets into her outfit then has her makeup and hair done. She has done looks from grunge to elegance.
“I’m so fascinated by how each gig has its own look and it can transform you,” said Newbill, who prefers outside shoots. “When I model in Arizona outdoors, there are mountains in the background and it’s so pretty and you can’t just get that indoors.”
Newbill does photoshoots from advertisements to magazines, and one of her photos is being used to advertise a local salon.
“Every time I drive by it, I’m like, ‘Oh look, there’s me,’” she said. “I would really love to go pro, even though that’s unrealistic because only a few people do. I am also planning to go to college.”
Modeling makes a good part-time job with a good pay. Sometimes models are even paid in clothes.
“Much of modeling is determined by genetics – height at a minimum of 5-foot-9 for girls, hips at a maximum of 35 inches for national placement – and then a great face with good bone structure, great skin/hair, etc.,” Buono said. “It is not something that everyone is given. It really depends on what market a model is trying to work in. But personality is also key.”
Buono also said modeling is like a sport, in that models have to work to maintain their skin, hair and nails, remain fit, eat healthy and work on interviewing skills.
“For those who don’t have the model look, there are lots of jobs in our industry that you can get involved in,” she said. “Figure out what you love about fashion and find things you can do in the industry. It is a wonderful creative field to work in.”
Newbill also offered some advice: “Don’t be afraid to try modeling because the worst thing that could happen is for an agency to say no, and if they do say no, don’t be afraid to keep looking.”
Valentyna Usyk is a student at Smith-Cotton High School.