Don't be some person's clothing hanger or bitch

My name's Lauren Poole. I'm 25 years old (Gemini) born in Memphis, TN. I spent five years living in south Florida once I turned 18. I then decided to move to Los Angeles, CA a few months after I turned 22. While I was living in FL, I worked promotions, marketing, and brand ambassador gigs. End of December 2012, a photographer named Melina Borrero reached out to me. She wanted to help me create new professional modeling images. We hit it off well. Working with her created many additional photo shoot opportunities for me at the start of 2013. I worked with excellent photographers such as Sara Espinoza and Monica Soler.

I took classes at John Casablancas. I don't feel that experience was 100% beneficial, but I did get at least one good thing out of it. 
The manager at the time Paula arranged for me to do a photo shoot with a well known photographer named Jonathan Postal. His work was excellent. It had meaning to it. You could read a story looking at his images. He was patient, dedicated to his work, and creative. When I first met him, he was a bit intimidating. By the end of the shoot, things turned out well. Instead of a 30min shoot, we shot for about 2hr's if I recall. Amazing experience. I'm so glad Paula connected the two of us. I was around fourteen/fifteen years old at the time of the shoot.

The age I became interested was when I was 12. Things officially took off when I was 20. You know, I believe my interest was most likely sparked upon seeing what life in Hollywood was like (or at least perceived). A lot of people say they have a reason for wanting to do something. To finish the picture, however, you need to state the purpose. To this day, I'm unsure if I truly know the purpose. I can tell you this: now that I have hung up my days of being in front of the camera for a different career, I miss modeling. A LOT. This time, however, I can tell the desire is coming from the soul. It isn't about the fame or fortune. It's about the effect of using a camera to capture a person's emotions at the current time. You'd be surprised at what the camera is able to capture. From what I wanted out of modeling, I don't feel my goals were unrealistic.

What was and is still unrealistic today are the industry standards. I don't care to go into the details about such a sour subject at this time.

I had quite a few encounters in Florida as well as California. I feel like what happened in Florida was worse. Perhaps all of these photographers found me to be vulnerable, naïve, young, desperate… It's easy to take advantage of a young girl when you say you have so much to offer them. You'll be paid more if you do this… I'll guarantee you this publication, but first I need you to do this… Promises that are simply deceitful lies. 

My main goal at this point of my life is to not dwell on what did indeed happen. Rather my goal now is to make the best out of my life today and to help young girls not experience some of the horrific encounters I did. You don't have to say yes to what the photographer asks or demands. It's your body, your choice, your life. I was in a lot of unsafe situations. From telling me to take my clothes off to performing sexual acts on me, these photographers were pigs. Disgusting. Disrespectful.

I am another one of those Me Too cases. The thing is, I never spoke up to anyone about this really.

I was with a few modeling agencies. Nothing came out of it. Models: do NOT pay any agencies. That's not how it works. Stay in touch with the agency, so they always remember your face when submitting casts. Keep your comps up to date. Rehearse often, so you're always prepared at castings.
There was one photographer… Oh my… Michael Robert Scott from Miami, Florida (license plate was Minnesota). Now, it isn't that he returned crappy photos. He was an excellent photographer. What he did instead was rip girls off telling them to pay him for comp cards. Such a scam. You know, if you're a model who pays a photographer and receives crappy photos, I don't see there's much you can do. Learn from the experience. Check out the photographers work. Ask yourself if it is worth it to pay this person. You know there are other options like time for print, or this photographer might should be paying you instead for your services!

Everyone supported my decision to become a model. Being raised in a town like Memphis where this career path is highly uncommon, this was a big deal. They all thought it was so cool what I was doing. Most of these people were camera shy. I tried my best to avoid specific photo shoots. At some point in time if I wanted to be paid for shoots, I realized I'd have to do lingerie shoots. It created somewhat of a rough patch in my personal life, but everything worked out in the end.

A lot of effort goes into photo shoots. Waking up early, prep, shooting for at least a couple of hours, travel time… everyone is usually exhausted at the end. Time to relax, reflect, and find out where your next modeling opportunity will be.

My life working as a model was amazing. I'm not giving up on it 100%. I'm young, scouts are all around, and if it truly is meant to be, the opportunity will come.

Models: please don't consider yourself a failure if you don't make the cut. There is so much more to life than being some persons clothing hanger or bitch. Practice, do your research, enter the room with a smiling face eager to work, and be imaginative. Listen to your body. You'll create amazing work if you feel free, alive, and well.