As I my continued bi-weekly feature, Model of the Week, let me introduce my readers to Shannon Roby. This beautiful, ambitious and talented model is grinding her way to a successful modeling career. I was a delight to photograph her, as well as sit down and talk to her about her view on the fashion industry.
First I’d like to thank you Shannon for taking out the time to make yourself available for this feature. Can you tell me a little about yourself… hometown, education, hobbies.
I was born and raised in Detroit; I’ ve been here all my life. My family was constantly moving from the Westside to the Eastside, Romulus, Dearborn, Southfield you name it. I went to 14 different schools including Cody High School where I graduated. I studied Cosmetology at Breithaup Vocational School, and double-majored in Business Administration and Marketing at Lewis College of Business. My hobbies include writing, singing, shopping and styling (fashion, make-up, hair).
What was your motivation to begin your modeling career?
Modeling is in my blood. My oldest sister is a successful international model. And I always looked up to her. I was always fascinated by fashion; I would watch runway shows all day long. I would sneak in my cousins room and flip through her magazines (Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Victoria’s Secret especially) wishing that one day I’d grow up to be that glamorous and beautiful.
What has been the most difficult aspect of learning the modeling profession?
My biggest challenge was finding my voice. Learning how to choose which projects to participate in and what demands to agree to and which to refuse based on my ideal image in the long run. I always want to be represented in a positive light and with class, even if I’m showcasing my sex appeal.
As a model what do you feel is your strongest asset?
My natural talent is my strongest assets. I can walk the runway, I can do print work; I can be a spokes model, I can do it all. Not every beautiful woman has this type of raw talent. Not every model is strong in so many areas so it sets me aside from others.
I know that there are so many demands on you in this profession, what lines won’t you cross, in order to gain success?
That’s simple. I’ll never allow a client to cross over into my personal life in order to book a job. No one project is important enough for me to compromise my integrity. So basically I’m saying, that I book jobs off my beauty and talent, I keep a safe distance away from the “casting couch”.
What have you seen models do thinking it will further their careers that in your opinion crossed the line?
Unfortunately, a lot of new models have yet to figure out their niche in the industry, so they sometimes feel the need to go straight for the “sex sells” concept. They see that the so called “booty magazines” get a lot of attention so they feel inclined to start there to kick off their careers. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done my share of sexy shoots and runway shows. But I waited until I was comfortable with my sensuality before I got into that type of modeling. My advice: Take your time to get to know yourself and your boundaries, timing is everything! There’s nothing worse than to have regrets in life.
What is the major down side in the world of modeling? What annoys you the most about the industry?
I’ll never love anything as much as I love modeling, so the harshest reality is that it’s so rare to have a life-long career. I dream of going from Cover Girl to Catalog, from Seventeen Magazine to being a spokes model for Depends when I’m older. I want to be a household name, a legend.
I get most annoyed by the lack of respect and passion for the modeling profession that many people have in the industry. I live and breathe to model; this is what God made me to do! I respect all who want to be on top, like I do and all who lack the passion should step aside.
As I delve deeper into the fashion industry, I hope to gain a greater understanding of what it takes to make it in the industry. Models and designers a like see the beauty and dark side of the fashion industry, So I if you have a question you would like to ask a designer or model, send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.