Being in New York this time of year, I’m seeing snow literally for the second time in my life. I love it, I just really wish it wasn’t so cold! It’s around – 12 °C for my South African readers. I bought a cute fur headband from Macy’s + some leather gloves, they’ve helped a lot. Apparently Feb 15th was the coldest day in New York history in 20 years! Here are some photos from around Battery Park, Central Park, New York’s Theatre District + Jersey City.
As if the Golden Globes wasn’t inspiration enough (gorgeous outfits, glittering venue, beautiful role models), I’ve sourced some pretty cool sayings to give you a fresh approach to stuff you’re facing. As we kick off the new year, here are 20 quotes for the month that are guaranteed to inspire you.
1. Don’t look where you fall, but where you slipped. – African proverb
I’ve had the good fortune to enjoy a lot of modelling in my time. I’ve done work for clothing, lingerie and swimwear brands across South Africa. I’ve done work for hotel groups, television shows, automobiles, photography student projects, editorials and beauty shoots. I’ve been to Top Model UK in London as well as shot for fashion events in New York and Johannesburg. I remember my first “gig” was modelling a Phillip Treacy hat for a fashion event and I was very nervous. But after 3 years in the industry, here are some basic guidelines I can give any aspiring models. There’s no hard and fast rules, but these may help you.
+ Take comfortable clothes
Photoshoots take a long time to set up. Arrive in comfortable stuff that’s easy to slip on and off. You’ll be wearing it while they do your hair and makeup. Soft button-up blouses work, as do easy tracksuit pants and slops. You’ll change into these for lunch break and when you go home. As for what to wear underneath; nude bras and nude g-strings are a safe bet. Make sure you know what you’ll be modelling because if you need a backless bra, you don’t want to forget it!
+ Pack low-calorie snacks
Believe it or not, you get really hungry posing! It’s stressful finding the perfect position for lighting, as well as to show off the garment in the best way. You’ll want to have water and snacks nearby to see you through the day and to keep you in a good mood. You don’t want to be grumpy because you’re hungry, do you? Nice ideas: nuts, fruit, salad, crisps. Bring a kitbag with all your stuff in it.
+ Have a few stock poses you know you look good in
This is work and time is money. You can’t waste everyone’s time figuring out how to stand/sit/lie in order to look your best. All women know their “good side” and what angles work best for them. This is a strength. Play it up. Before you arrive on set for the shoot, practice taking photos at home in different poses figuring out your best side and best poses. Be aware of what shows off your assets and the clothing/jewellery/make-up/product in the best possible way. Use the timer on the camera or ask someone close to take of you. Of course if you have some experience in front of the lens, you’ll have a good idea of how to “pose” already.
+ Bend your body into positions that dont feel natural
Usually the positions that don’t feel natural are the ones that make us look the slimmest! If what you’re doing feels weird on set, it probably looks great on camera!
+ Have your headphones and good music on your cellphone
Setting up takes time. You’ll find yourself ready with clothes and makeup and have to wait. You’ll be waiting for the photographer to sort out his lighting. You’ll be waiting for other people doing the shoot with you to be ready. Either way, you want to keep upbeat and positive. Having good music and headphones with you is a must.
+ Get lots of photos while you work
It’s always handy to ask someone to snap you working. This is good for your morale and great for your marketing down the line.
+ Don’t do anything on social media while you work
Remember, there’s no rush to post anything anywhere there and then. Rather be professional on the day and concentrate on the job at hand. Any “update” can wait until you get home. It can wait until the job is over and you have time to sit and update on your social platforms, as well as interact with your audience.
+ Always credit your photographer, make-up artists and hair stylist
When you post the photos, it’s important to credit the photographer and the make-up/hair stylist. If they have social platforms, link back to them.
+ Make sure you’re within your contract
Legally you may be unable to post the photos or say anything about the job until the campaign/film/photoshoot has been officially “released”. If it’s a big job, you usually sign a contract with the company to keep everything secret until they say you can release stuff to the public. That makes sense. Keep professional and wait until it’s okay to release your stuff. This includes behind-the-scenes photos and photos with fellow artists/performers/models.
Cascais is a coastal town and a municipality in Portugal, 30 kilometres west of Lisbon. It is a cosmopolitan suburb of the Portuguese capital and one of the richest municipalities in Portugal. Cascais was once a small fishing village, but its idyllic scenery attracted the attention of artists, writers and expelled European nobility in the 20th century. Today it still attracts high society, but all society comes in force to enjoy the gorgeous beaches and adventure options like sailing and surfing. I enjoyed the sunshine, friendly people, gorgeous ocean and gift shopping. These yachts weren’t bad, either!
1. Think long & hard about your blog categories
Your categories are the main sections or “magazine columns” that you feature on your blog. Your categories can be a drop down menu on your sidebar. They should be simple and logical. Use hierarchies to organise your ideas better. Try think of a catchy angle for them so you peak your viewer’s interest and stand out from the rest.
2. Design your site as simple as possible
Keep your design simple and appealing. Make it intuitive and well-structured. People should intuitively know how to navigate your space. Make pages along the top for sections you want to highlight. Use a category drop down menu and a follow widget wouldn’t hurt. If there are other platforms you want your viewers to know about, include those widgets also. A direct link to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram invites viewers to connect with you.
3. Operate it like a real magazine
+ Who you want to appeal to (age group, gender, interests)
+ What your content will be (which topics you choose)
+ How involved you’ll get in your articles (short, long, lots of resources)
Plan out each piece well. It’s always a good idea to think about a catchy title and invest time into each piece. Edit and format your posts and add great designs to them. Write in a natural tone and keep it simple. Decide on your intentions with each post. Publish often (weekly is great). If your favourite magazine missed a few issues, you’d eventually find a replacement.
4. Share each post into infinity
You write and publish something once, but who’s to say you can’t share that post once per month on Twitter, a couple times a year on Facebook or every other month on Google+? Pinterest is a lovely fresh platform with a constant stream of ideas. It’s a great way to advertise your blog. Make a board dedicated to your blog and pin your stuff to it! It will make it easier for people to find you and re-pin your stuff. Due to the “timeline” nature of most social media platforms, if you only share something once, it will only be seen by a small percent of your followers. It’s also a good idea to make an advert with your heading and URL on for sharing purposes.
5. Make sure you know what your audience wants and needs
Your readers/clients have specific questions, desires and needs. You can start to figure out these needs by putting yourself in their shoes. What would you want to read about if you were them, visiting your blog? What tools can make things simpler for your viewers? Why do they come to your blog? Read more about figuring this out here.
6. Post frequently + consistently, with quality as your best friend
Remember to keep your material current and up-to-date. Try cater for a blog audience while maintaining your brand goals and sanity. This is, of course, if you are operating your blog like a business.
7. Invest in your blog
The things you spend money on are the things you want to get value out of. The things you spend money on are the important things that you care about. The best things in life are free, but some of the things that help you create your best life cost money. Invest in marketing your blog online or elsewhere if you want the traffic that will get you money in the long run.
8. Format your posts to be read by busy, lazy humans
This means short titles, bullet points and headings. Also, it means blog posts which aren’t too long.
9. Create a content calendar
….One that includes suggested post dates and categories. Editorial Calendar WordPress plugin is great because I like a visual representation of when I should post. Without a calendar and some type of plan, you’ll get around to that one post about that one thing on the 10th of NeverEver.
10. Add in promotion & maintenance tasks
Sponsored blogging (getting paid to publish promotional stuff) must be scheduled into your usual blogging routine. A lot of the time, clients/sponsors need a date for publishing. It’s good to plan ahead so you can give them an exact date.
11. Establish a writing routine that gives you time to think
Creative people are always thinking. Sometimes I have great ideas that pop into my head which I jot down. When I get around to writing a post, I’m always excited to publish it straight away. But I’ve learnt that it’s better to save the draft and give it an ‘incubation’ period in your head. Trust me, you’ll think of different things to add over a period of just 24 hours which will add value to your post.
12. Be you. We won’t like you if you’re being someone else
Enjoy your own space online. Add photos of your life. Write the way you would speak in real life. See how you do this in my post Find Your Voice Online.
13. Get high quality photos of yourself
It’s a good idea to have quality photos of yourself. These will come in handy for your “about” page, as well as any articles you write where you have personal experience. Allow your readers to connect with you! Keep a professional flavour by getting nice photos taken. It’s good for you and will be a plus for the photographer. There’s power in collaboration!
14. Audit your blog regularly
That post you wrote three months ago? It totally needs a link to the post you published earlier this week because they’re heavily related and your readers will be happy to have guided/quick access to both. Always keep in mind that no matter what order you write things in, any post or page on your website has the potential to be the first post a visitor sees. P.S. Blog audits are also a great way to make sure you’ve included your affiliate links and product/service links in all the organic ways possible.
15. Check your grammar
Make sure to double-check your articles.
16. Be available + interactive
No one likes a person who never responds to anything. Granted, you may be so “big time” that you can’t get to every blog comment or tweet, but none of them? I’ll accept that when you become the President of the United States. Even then, you can hire some people to help you out!
17. Pay attention to the questions your readers ask
There may be a new blog post you’ve written, a new eBook you can sell, a problem you can fix or a service you can offer that is lingering in questions from readers. Cultivate community around your blog so people feel they are in a safe space where they are supported and encouraged. Grow a family around your blog. You do this by being attentive to your readers.
18. Guest post like a champ
Once you have a healthy collection of quality content to lead people back to, pitch to some sites that fit your brand (or that are frequented by your ideal readers) to do a guest post. Think about larger online magazines and websites as well. These guest posting opportunities will help you build relationships and will lead new readers back to your site.
19. Accept guest posts like a champ
If someone else is willing to say some valuable and entertaining stuff on your blog, let them. Make sure each post fits your blog, fits your readers, and is the type of quality content you want your blog to be known for. Make sure to promote your guest authors and show them love. They will likely spread the word of their guest post, which can potentially give you lots of new readers.
20. Stay focused
We creatives like shiny new projects and get distracted easily. When you have lots of ideas racing through your head, stop and focus your energy on one thing at a time. Make a list. Lists are great.
Photo: Death To The Stock Photo
I’ll never forget when I went to London in 2012 to compete in Top Model UK. What an exciting time in one of the best cities of the world! I was there for a few weeks for the show and stayed in the Hilton Hotel, London Metropole. During my free time, I made sure I dressed warm because it was the middle of winter and it was so chilly outside!