Model Q&A: Crystal Wings

Crystal Wings | VIP Member | Verified Credits (61)

Model: Crystal Wings; Photographer: Scott Rohlfs Art

Where are you from? Where are you based now and do you travel for shoots?

San Diego, born and raised! I love traveling but the majority of my shoots take place in and around this beautiful city.

However, I do occasionally travel for work if it coincides with visiting or traveling with friends. It’s not a great feeling when you travel somewhere for work only to find that your bookings fall through. So it’s important to have a Plan B; if a photographer flakes, then it’s okay because I’m here with friends.

Who or what inspired you to become a model?

When I was younger I watched a lot of music videos on MTV and VH1. One of my favorite bands back in the day was Linkin Park and I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful model in their music video for the song, “Crawling.” The model, Katelyn Rosaasen, was portrayed in such a dramatic, painful setting and that mood combined with her beauty somehow really inspired me. The thought of modeling in a similar fashion sounded intriguing to me and modeling eventually became one of my dreams.

As I got older, I got my hands on a couple of Casio point-and-shoot cameras and I would capture myself practicing poses and expressions, going through the results of my mini-shoots and deciding which photos I liked the most. This all helped me with my attitude in front of a camera and inspired me even more to model one day.

Model: Crystal Wings; Photographer: KP Imagery by Design

How and when did you start modeling?

Aside from practicing at home, I truly started modeling around October 2014 when I hired the beautiful and talented Taylor Bartram to help start my portfolio on Model Mayhem. I wanted my first shoot to portray me as naturally as possible so that artists can see the real me. I arrived at the shoot with a minimal amount of makeup and I kept my hair in its wild, natural state. The photos came out so beautiful and received so much praise. I was thankful to be able to begin scheduling shoots within the week of uploading the photos to Model Mayhem. I owe it to Taylor for helping me get to where I am now.

What type of modeling do you enjoy most?

Though I appreciate many forms of photography, I’m really attracted to the more moody, dramatic, candid shoots. I also very much enjoy modeling in gorgeous outdoor settings or mysterious abandoned buildings. Modeling nude outdoors is such a liberating experience and I feel so close to nature doing it.

Model: Crystal Wings; Photographer: Mike Soto

What do you look for when deciding to work with a photographer?

Check references and credits, above all else. If a photographer does not have, or refuses to share, references of the artists they’ve recently worked with, then that’s a huge problem. Photographers who also don’t credit any of their models also come off as sketchy. Basically, if a photographer seems like they have something to hide, then my interest in shooting with them is greatly decreased. If I have to pry out information from someone because they’re not being clear and detailed with me in their messages regarding shooting with me, then they are either placed at very low priority in my schedule or I just don’t shoot with them at all. Time is the most valuable resource and I therefore do not enjoy wasting it.

Which models or other artists currently inspire you?

I have way too many to mention, but I adore the works of Katelyn Rosaasen, iDiviil, Eleanor Rose, Taylor Bartram, Mike Soto, Kome Parnell, DragnMastr13, and so many more amazing artists. I have so much respect for artists who pour their souls into their creations, live for their art, and are happy to get that one perfect shot.

Model: Crystal Wings; Photographer: Scott Rohlfs Art

What would be your dream shoot?

I’m very casual in my personal life but I would adore modeling for an ethical clothing line (alternative fashion would be a plus!) or collaborate with wardrobe stylists and model interesting pieces found in thrift stores. Before and when I first started modeling, I always dreamed of posing for alternative fashion (the designs and models at Heavy Red are beautiful!). However, because I’m short and there isn’t really a market for short fashion models, I need to get creative and find my niche in other themes. But maybe one day! I’m already in the process of experimenting with modeling fun pieces for my self-portraiture projects for my Patreon but it would be an experience coming together with a group of professional artists to capture that edgy editorial look while also encouraging viewers to purchase from secondhand shops. That sounds amazing.

How important is social media in your success?

I’ve only really used Instagram to share my modeling photos with others and I’ve found that it doesn’t play a huge role in my success. I’m thankful that I was able to land a gig or two via Instagram but it usually all boils down to likes, which does not pay the bills. All of my income has successfully come from Model Mayhem and Patreon, so I just use Instagram, though less often, as a tool to share my photos with artists who aren’t on Model Mayhem.

Model: Crystal Wings; Photographer: By Atempa

What else do you like to do outside of modeling?

I love rock climbing, practicing yoga, hiking, cooking, playing video games, watching speedruns and Let’s Plays, traveling, working on my photography, learning German, drinking lots of hot tea, and being a homebody with my cats. Every day where I can do more or less of all of these things is a very good day!

What’s the best career advice you can give to new models?

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. And don’t be afraid to have fun with it! I never knew that I would be modeling for so many different kinds of genres. If I stayed close-minded and set on modeling one kind of genre, like when I first started my career, I never would have had the experience and opportunity to engage myself in so many different photographic styles and backgrounds, nor would I have met so many amazing artists. Doing so has also made me much more confident and it’s so much fun playing different roles in every shoot. It’s okay to have your favorite themes and styles but don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone; you just might like what’s on the other side.

Another piece of advice that I can give is for new models who are considering modeling for a living. Before you quit your day job (like I did; it was scary!) make sure you really take a step back, breathe, and look at your rates and how often you shoot or would be able to shoot. Ask yourself if the income you’ll make from modeling will be enough for your lifestyle. If not, how can you change your lifestyle to make that income more acceptable? Or rather, how can you make more money through modeling so that you can live comfortably? As with any freelance job, income is always uncertain; one month you can pocket a handsome amount of money but then the next month you can be sitting at home twiddling your thumbs, waiting to hear back from interested photographers. Are you in a financial state where quiet months like these won’t hurt your finances? Make sure you are ready to take the plunge.

There is a lot of planning involved in freelance modeling and it is no walk in the park. A lot of discipline and organization is involved. I highly recommend new models have a pocket calendar on their desk. I’ve been using one since I started modeling and I’ve never forgotten a single shoot because of it. It makes organizing my schedule such a breeze and seeing your shoots laid out in calendar format makes it simple to calculate your estimated income for the month.

Freelance modeling for a living can bring so much freedom and independence. Just remember to set your priorities, always check casting calls, post your availability, practice great communication with others, be punctual when you arrive at your shoots, work efficiently, plan for the future, and always be kind!

Model: Crystal Wings; Photographer: Mikeothe2

Instagram: @crystalwingsmodel

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