“Cameron, try to look cool.”
It was these words of direction from a photographer years ago that started my unlikely career as a model.
I had recently arrived in Japan as a student and was at my second photo shoot ever,
a dark dingy bar where I was supposed to be a hip bongo player getting a crowd of people ready for a fun night.
In reality the bar was empty except for the photography crew and a few assistants.
The bar owner seemed amused at the sight of a tall foreigner dancing around his empty bar playing bongos.
Again came the voice of the photographer,
“Cameron, be more cool!”
What does it look like to be cool? Does my hair look good?
Should my mouth be open or closed?
What should I do with my hands!?
All kinds of silly thoughts race through your head when you’re trying to be cool.
Yet it’s a concern we all wrestle with.
Often it’s us asking the question, “Do I look cool?”
Modeling is in some ways the easiest job in the world.
You put on clothes, stand against walls, and spend a lot of time waiting around.
Occasionally you walk. This is of course an oversimplification, but modeling is usually pretty simple.
In other ways though, modeling might be one of the hardest jobs in the world.
Although it is physically very easy it can be emotionally and spiritually draining.
Often times people ask me how to get into modeling.
I usually tell them to do it only if they are very secure with the way they look.
At a typical audition, I might be up against twenty other models all of whom I see in the waiting area.
This gives me ample time to see how good looking they are, how professional their photo books look, and how stylish their clothes are.
It’s easy to feel insecure.
The question is, how to deal with it?
God himself speaks about this issue in the bible.
In the book of Genesis, very early in the story of God’s relationship with humanity,
God says that people, all people, were created in his image (Genesis 9:6).
There is not a person on earth that does not have God’s image permanently stamped on them.
It is an identity that is carried around by every person from every nation.
It is an image that gives value to the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated.
It doesn’t matter where a person goes, what they do, how they have lived their life, or what they wear,
God’s image is an unchangeable part of being human.
That’s great news!
It means that no matter what I or anyone looks like,
we can’t get any more or any less valuable because we have been created by God to be like him.
So whenever I am rejected at auditions, I can leave with joy in my heart because I know that I am accepted by God and that he made me.
This is, in my opinion, how to be successful in modeling.
It has nothing to do with how much money I make or how many photo shoots I do,
but what matters is the condition of my heart when I walk away from the cameras.
As it says in the bible, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”(Mark 8:36)
So for anyone who is struggling with their image today let me encourage you,
what you are is amazing because God is amazing!