Making short work of modelling career
Samantha Warren was a ball of nerves as she waited to walk the runway in her first fashion show. But once she stepped on to the stage, she felt like she was home.
“I felt so confident in the clothes I was wearing,” she said.
“Everyone was looking at me. I felt like I was the only person in the world, and that was an amazing feeling.”
The 17-year-old was just home from boarding school and trying to fit in. The 2016 Bermuda Fashion Festival was the experience she needed — she decided to pursue modelling further.
“I think a lot of people here want to be models, but they never try to get out of Bermuda,” she said.
“I wanted to expand my horizons and try to get into the industry in the United States.”
But first she had to clear it with her parents, Karen and Nicholas Warren.
“They were a little surprised when I said I wanted to go into modelling,” she said. “But they came around.”
Her father took her to New York City in hopes of finding people able to help. The feedback was not positive — she was not tall enough — but she was able to find a mother agent to help guide her career.
“I’m 5ft 6in,” she said. “I never thought of myself as too short before. And some of them said I was too fat, which was crazy because people in Bermuda were for ever saying I was too skinny.
“In the US you need to be at least 5ft 8in or 5ft 9in to be a model — and very skinny.”
It became clear that, in order to succeed, she needed a thick skin.
“My dream had always been to become a Victoria’s Secret model,” she said. “I think that’s every model’s dream. Now I’ve come to accept that will probably never happen.
“But just because someone doesn’t want you for a specific look that doesn’t mean that you’re not beautiful the way you are. The hardest part of modelling is staying true to yourself and not trying to change yourself unhealthily to fit in with the standards of beauty.
“I’ve decided I might not be right for a runway model, but I could be a commercial model.”
A model friend had found her way in the UK, despite only being 5ft 5in. Samantha decided to go that route. She signed up for Top Model UK Worldwide and made it to the finals; the winner will be decided in April.
“You have to learn to live with what you can do,” she said. “They are a little more relaxed there about height and weight.
“I’m hoping that will be a good transition into the British industry. Maybe I’ll catch the eye of an agent.”
Apart from her work with the Bermuda Fashion Festival, she has only done a few photoshoots.
“My mother agent arranged some in New York so that I could put together a portfolio,” she said. “We did some of them out on the street and that was really fun.”
She started thinking of becoming a model after a scout approached her at a mall near her Connecticut boarding school when she was 10.
“At the time, I thought that’s not for me but a few years later I started thinking that it would be fun.”
She is particular about wearing clothes that she likes, rather than for the label.
“My favourite colours are black, white and grey,” she said. “In boarding school I met a lot of people who had a lot of money who would buy those things when they didn’t even like them. I love all the top brands, but even the simplest things can be so great.”
•Top Model UK requires participants to raise £500 for the charity Children with Cancer UK. Samantha has raised £537 so far through “bake sales and that sort of thing and getting the word out there”.Learn more about her here: http://bit.ly/2FNa9tW. Lifestyle profiled Bermudian Jaime Procter, who is also in the competition, last week
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