October 31, 2018

on death.

on death.
most of life is messy and not perfect and i don't think anyone really talks about it enough because to talk about it is to be vulnerable, but here i am, not only talking about it, but visualizing it as well.

last night, i opened my facebook app to get rid of the red notifications circle, and i was met with the word 'last', i opened the blog post, she'd written it while she was still able, i read it, i closed my phone, and i sobbed.

we weren't best friends, we weren’t even close; she was more of a family friend, she wasnt my age, but she was a kind, beautiful person, and though her life had been painful for the last year or so, it broke my heart to see that i would never read her encouraging posts in the face of a discouraging disease ever again.
after i had a good cry, i needed to get some thoughts out, those thoughts are below. i encourage you to read it, because it ends this whole post on a much better note and maybe something you're not used to seeing in relation to such a difficult topic.

death is not the end; it is only the beginning of something beautiful and precious: an eternity living with Christ.
forever, with the only One who loves you perfectly, as you yearn to be loved.
death in Christ should not be only mourned, but celebrated, for they are in a place where milk and honey flow freely...where they may sing and dance all day, not only in the presence of Jesus, but with Him.
death in Christ is not a sorrow. it is the most joyous celebration, the one you always dreamed of but could never experience here on earth, because there is just too much darkness.
death is not the end; it is merely the beginning.
xx, rn

April 21, 2018

the truth isn't always clean

by Lauren Dahlhauser by Lauren Dahlhauser by Lauren Dahlhauser

it's 2:58am.
here in front of me,
a blank page.

i have words, so
turning around, and around, and
around, in my head, trying
to make their way to a page but
not forming their way into sentences on
the way out.

a mish-mash of 
unintelligible. why, you 
because sometimes, words aren't
sometimes all you can do is
the words, as they tumble
around like a washing machine
inside your head
and when they're ready, they
will come
they may not be clean
but that's okay because 
the truth isn't always 
xo, rn
photos by Lauren Dahlhauser

January 24, 2018

modeling 101

photo by dustin swim, edit by me

"so, how did you get into modeling?"
this is a question that i am asked all the time. maybe it's because it's something that just kind of started, none of my friends from before i started really did it, i'm not your typical model, i was shooting, on average, three times a week, i go to chicago to model bi-monthly, sometimes even weekly, or maybe it's someone who wants to get started in this industry... there are many reasons why i am asked this question, but it's one that is asked so often, and i thought it might be better to just write a post to refer people to, instead of individually responding to each person, because there's a lot i want to say on this, and i don't have time to respond to everyone.

photo by jose morales

how did i get into modeling?
as a precursor, i would like to say that this is not the case or story for most models you will meet.
truthfully though, i fell into it, or modeling came to me. i didn't really do anything to get it started besides attending a meetup and saying 'sure!' to someone when they approached me and asked for me to model for them. this turned into multiple photographers until there were about ten or fifteen in front of me taking my photo.
this was weird. i wasn't used to this, but it was fun. also, i had no idea what i was doing.
those photos got posted to instagram, and all of a sudden, people were DMing me, asking me if i wanted to model for them. i said sure, again, and all of a sudden, i was an instagram model.

photo by jon burns

fast forward a year later, and there have been so many opportunities. i've gotten to work with some brands, and have some really cool stuff coming up (hold tight!), i've travelled to multiple places to meet with people, to shoot with them, collaboration, all of that fun stuff, i've been featured by the biggest feature hub on instagram (here), as well as many others, and i've made SO many friends. it's truly been an adventure.

in the prime of that year, i was scheduling modeling gigs 3-5 times a week, heading down to chicago 2-5 times a month, and having such a blast.
this is not fully sustainable though. i have a capacity to be able to do a lot of things at once, but this is not the case for most people. i do not recommend doing this, as you will get burned out (i did, it just took a long while), but it really helped me to get exposure and to get out there (aka this is what worked for me).
in my entire career as a model, i have probably asked people to shoot with me less than ten times, and if it was the case, it was them coming to my area and wanting to shoot with models around that area, or when i was first heading to chicago and didn't know a ton of people, but wanted to make some connections.

photo by zak gruber

there's a lot that goes on in this industry, and i will say this: you need to be careful. 
i have been blessed to only have had a few encounters that were less than ideal, but this isn't a safe industry, whether you're going professional or are just doing collaborations, not everyone has your best interest in mind. you have to be careful, you have to do your research, don't be afraid to say no if things don't look ok. saying no is a good thing. prioritize you and your safety over your career.

photo by seth herlinger, edit by me

another question i get asked often is 'are you hoping to sign with an agency?'
the answer, despite what most people think, is no.
i have had two agencies reach out to me and then pursue me.
i took a good amount of time to think about these offers, i sat on them, weighed them, and asked many questions, but in the end, turned them both down. i'm not going to get into the reasons behind that, but back when i started, i set up boundaries, standards, etc., and between those, travel, and what i know of the industry, i decided that it was not in my best interest to proceed with either of those agencies.
that being said, i am not closed to the idea, i'm open to it, as long as the opportunity is right.

photo by israel moreno, edit by me

i would get started in collaborations. this helps you to network, build a portfolio, and just gain experience. this will lead to opportunities, but with that, comes so much more, so here are some tips (pay attention, these are important):
  • for the love of everything good, do not think that you are better than you are. do not think that you deserve things just because you're a model or because you have some following or influence. 
  • show up, be kind, be considerate of people's time and energy. don't schedule something and then not go. i have spent the entire time building this career of mine proving that i do not fit into the basic model category, basically, that i'm not flaky (don't show up) or that i am not full of myself.
  • respond to people, whether you're giving them rates or whether you'd like to collab, respond, and then keep responding and following through. don't leave artists who want to work with you hanging, especially if you also want to work with them.
  • be careful, weigh the opportunities that you get, bring a friend along if you feel sketched out in the least bit, or just say no to begin with.
  • set boundaries. i don't do lingerie, nude, or boudoir modeling. why? i have my reasons, but i don't do it. if people reach out to you asking to do anything that isn't within your boundaries, say no. stick to your guns; you have a voice, make it heard.
  • don't think that just because you're pretty, you only have to show up. there's a lot more that comes with modeling than just showing up and looking pretty. know what poses work for you, know what clothing works for you, practice, get experience, learn and grow.
hopefully this helped someone. if there's anything else you'd like to know, ask me! send me an email, text, comment, or DM me!

photo by carmen wong
xx, rn

January 1, 2018

think of the flowers you plant

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the first of every year i spend a good bit of time reflecting. this year, as the frigid air swirls around outside me, begging to creep in, i sip my coffee with Chopin playing softly on my new record player. as i turn the vinyl over, again, it begins to play and i am comforted by the crisp notes of one of his fourteen waltzes, and reminded of the words i read earlier in rupi kaur's new book the sun and her flowers:

"this is the recipe of life
said my mother
as she held me in her arms as i wept
think of those flowers you plant
in the garden each year
they will teach you
that people too
must wilt
in order to bloom"

i am reminded that this life isn't about how perfect your life is, or can be, or how you make it look, because it isn't the good that shapes you into a unique human, the human of you, but it's the scars, the growing pains, the stretch marks, and the burns that make you. it isn't about what people can bring to the table, how people can help you, or what others can do for you, but what you can do for others, what you can bring to the table of this world, and how you can make a difference in helping people through their difficulties.

there's a lot in this life that won't go right. that's been the story of my life for as long as i can remember; not because there weren't any good moments, but because i chose to focus on the negative moments. i chose to look at those as if they were bigger and worse than all the little moments, when i should have been focusing on the genuine moments of joy, when i should have been living, loving, laughing, and not taking a moment for granted. it's given me a new appreciation for my life. for this life.

this past week has been astoundingly growing. i've had more breakthroughs than i've had for most of the year of 2017, and it's been extremely eye opening. it has allowed me to let go of things i was holding onto too tightly, it's shown me ways that i can be grateful, despite hard circumstances, it's given me a fresh perspective not only on this world and the love that it needs to receive, but also about who i am and how i can fit into the mix without being brought down by it. it's shown me the strong and independent woman i am, and it has taught me to hope and dream again. i've learned to trust my instincts, to trust myself, to trust what i know is true, and to not back down from it, but above all else to trust God, to trust His plan for my life, and to grow deeper in Him. for He is the only one i truly owe anything, and when i ask how i am ever to pay it back, He whispers "it's been paid in full."
xo, rn