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Monday, August 6, 2012

Interview with Los Angeles model Lauren Calaway

Lauren Calaway is a highly sought-after model based in Los Angeles. Although she is 5'2", she is agency represented in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, San Diego and Chicago. Lauren is very experienced, highly published and she excels at commercial, fashion, swimsuit, editorial, beauty and lifestyle modeling. She has been a part of major campaigns and has been featured in publications that models who are 5'9" always dream of being a part of. In addition to being a phenomenal model who beat the odds given her height, she has also recently launched a new online magazine called Nouveau Magazine.
Above: Nouveau Magazine: The Beauty Issue

AVIVA: How did you get started and how long have you been a model?
LAUREN CALAWAY: I actually got started on the other end of the camera as a makeup artist. Every shoot that I did, I became more and more interested in modeling. So one day, I just got out there and did it. It was definitely love at first shoot. I have been modeling for 8 years.

Above: Photo by James Bassett
AVIVA: What excites you about the modeling industry?
LC: There is so much that excites me about the modeling industry, but the creativity grabs me the most. The endless possibilities that you can create is extremely exciting. To me, modeling is like painting. I am the subject from which the painting is created. Every detail is chosen with such care, down to the makeup, clothes, and hair. Then you have each photographer that has a different style with which their "painting" is created.

Also, the opportunities excite me. In our industry, there isn't a ceiling, only the one you create. You set the bar for how high you can go by your ambition. I was always told that I had no hope in modeling due to my height, but I went out there and did it anyway. I have worked for many big photographers and some even bigger clients.

Above: Photo by Robert Voltaire
AVIVA: When did you first sign with an agency and what was that like?
LC: I first signed with an agency when I moved to LA in June of 2010. I didn't need an agency before that time. I had been doing quite well as a freelance model. Once I moved to a major market, I knew that I would need an agent to help me get the bigger jobs. I was incredibly green to the whole process and jumped on the first agency that offered me a contract. They turned out to be a horrible agency and I left them only a few months after signing. I tell people that agents/agencies are like relationships. You have to go through a few before you find the right fit. Most people think that you should always go with a big agency, but that is not always the case. Remember that they have a ton of clients to take care of and sometimes you can become a number. Look into boutique agencies and see if that is a better fit for your needs.

Above: Photo by Malachi Banales

AVIVA: What achievements in your career are you most proud of? (publications, etc)
LC: I am extremely proud of my makeup campaigns (Bare Minerals and Stila Cosmetics). I always wanted to do strong beauty campaigns with high end clients. Makeup lines and fragrances are some of the highest paying jobs in the business. I am on the hunt for my fragrance campaign.

AVIVA: Could you tell us more about your new magazine that you just launched?
LC: I launched Nouveau Magazine in May of this year. As a model, I have been in quite a few magazines. Unfortunately, the magazines do not always view you as important as the photographer. Your name is rarely seen in the credits. I set out to amend this, not only for models but makeup artists, hair stylists, and wardrobe stylists. My magazine also features interviews on top industry professionals. Where you can read about them and their advice. We also feature fashion and beauty editorials from photographers all over the world. I hope to build it into something amazing, because as an artist you should always be evolving. I find Editor in Chief to be a great fit for where I see my career going.

AVIVA: What do you look for before deciding if you would like to collaborate with a photographer or not?
LC: I look through their portfolio on their website. You get an in depth look into what their tests are like, as well as their clients. I look for someone that inspires me, that will give me something different for my book.

Photo by Angela Marklew
AVIVA: What is the biggest mistake that you see aspiring models making time and time again?
LC: Getting wrapped up in testing. You should test to build your book, once it is built, you should take it and be able to use it to book paid work. They shoot with photographers because they have a big following online and don't stop to ask the important questions.

1) Are these photos going to further my career or just gain me more social media notoriety?
2) Will my agents (agency) use them in Comp Cards?
3) Will potential clients see the MODEL, or just the post production methods of the photographer?
4) How much of YOU will be in the picture? (v.s. location, setting, props, etc.)
5) How clearly will they see your face in the photos? (far away shots or too much elaborate makeup) 75% of models are chosen for their facial traits

You need to take into account your agency, your market (for example: LA is extremely commercial), and your future. You may be a model today, but 5 years from now that could change.

Above: Photo by Jon Santana
 AVIVA: Do you have any additional comments?
 LC: Follow your dreams, but be smart about it. As a model, you are basically a startup company. It takes a lot of investment to get them off the ground. You should be professional and hard working because it isn't all glitz and glam.

I would like to thank Lauren for the interview, and I wish her continued success!
You can also check her out on FACEBOOK and Model Mayhem. Also, check out the Nouveau Magazine Facebook page.

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