The life of a model has gotta be the life, right? Models wear fabulous designer clothes, fierce makeup, and shoes, right? Who would not want that lifestyle?
Well, I talked to a friend in the industry the other day about the life of a model and what she told me may surprise a lot of you. Ilka Tamar is a model, runway and modeling instructor at Barbizon USA and a Spanish/English Moderator from Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
In addition, she works as a patient liaison in Orlando, Florida as well as the CEO of Modish Bold Squad, a hallmark fashion, beauty and lifestyle online magazine.
This woman is busy, wouldn’t you agree? How does she do it? Well, that’s what we want to tell you, so keep reading!
The Life of a Model: Interview with Ilka Tamar
The Interview with Ilka Tamar
Mikki: Hi, Ilka… How are you? Thanks for talking to me today. I know your schedule is hectic, but we want to know the real deal about the life of a model. We may all think your life is divine. After all, you travel to neat places, you go to all of the “B” list parties and meet some terrific looking guys with tons of money, right?
Ilka Tamar: Haha, I wish it was as easy as everyone thinks. However, it takes either a miracle to reach the kind of status as a model you’re talking about overnight or it happens because of strategic planning and a lot of hard work, which I have invested a lot of time in the life of a model.
You don’t get a $1000 shoot unless you’re under a contract with a premier modeling agency and even so, you may not get chosen for the spot. Some models work for as little as clothes or a dinner or lunch. When you look at it like that, it doesn’t sound glamorous or exciting.
Or else, you must be in the right place at the right time with the right people. There are so many people with the same dream that competition is beyond scandalous. The turnover rate for models is ridiculous.
Modeling is a hard business, truly, for some. Clients want a unique look and that’s all they want. You are not encouraged to speak up for yourself in this business. You can put your professional reputation at risk if you do. Plus, there are agencies still who require super thin models as well.
Mikki: I’ve heard or read on Mashable.com that some girls experienced sex abuse. That’s so sad for the young girls who begin modeling early on and get caught up in the madness. In that case, Ilka, tell us why do you work as a model or rather why are you interested in this career?
Ilka Tamar: I start modeling after suffering a lot of bullying at school. I challenged myself to do something about my self-confidence, and modeling training helped me to gain confidence in myself.
Mikki: What are your goals as a model?
Ilka Tamar: As a model, I am not on the runway that much right now. I have just received my credentials as an instructor. Currently, I’m guiding young boys and girls who want to model. By doing this, I am able to give back to my community and to inspire growing minds and talents.
I am using the years of experience to blog about how modeling tools can be applied on daily basis to boost a person’s confidence.
Mikki: That’s a wonderful thing you got going, Ilka. I wish you much success throughout your journey. Do you remember how it felt when you did your first fashion show or photo shoot?
Ilka Tamar: Of course! I was nervous, and that’s a normal feeling, I think. Even doing it a million times before, I still feel the same nervousness as the first time. I have a philosophy, however, and it goes like this:
The moment you don’t feel the anxiety to give 110% of yourself… you have stopped loving what you do. When your heart is not in it, it shows. The camera and good photographer will pick up everything. You can smile, but the eyes… the eyes don’t lie.
Mikki: That’s a true statement, Ilka. Giving it your all means you to be away from home a lot. So, tell us, what does your fiance think of your profession as a model. [He’s kinda cute, by the way. 😉 ]
Is your significant other supportive in the relationship?
Ilka Tamar: Thank you and yes, my fiance finds the life of a model attractive. Right now, it is a glamorous world for us and my career demonstrates I have a strong confidence. He has always been supportive and encourages me to teach the new students what I love to do.
Besides, he has his own life and sometimes, we work together on different projects. He’s very secure in our relationship and in himself.
Mikki: You’re a beautiful woman, Ilka. I bet he has to make adjustments because of your profession as a model. How has his life changed because of it?
Ilka Tamar: No… well, there are a couple of things now that you mention it. He’s kind of upset I have taken up most of the closet and shelving, too… and the counter space in the bathroom. [haha]
But he’s always in my styling products, saying we should get more of this because he just used the last tube of something. Hahaha, he’s too funny!
Oh, and he says I take too long getting ready when it’s him! [Just joking]. Seriously though, he handles the life of a model really well I’m happy to say.
Mikki: Seems like you guys get along pretty well. How well do you communicate with the public? Has there been an occasion where you had to be rude when people approach you? Or are you this friendly and genuine all of the time?
Ilka Tamar: I am a communicator 100%. I love when people approach me and ask me about my life as a model or anything I can help them with. If I don’t know about something, I will research it and get back to the person with the information.
Mikki: Every model has a special thing they do, what personal care advice do you have?
What beauty tips do you swear by?
- Always smile [there is no better beauty than that comes from the inside]
- NEVER go to sleep with makeup on [the face ages 7 days per 1 day of not removing it]
- Drink a lot of water [the body needs to hydrate]
- Eat healthy foods [you are what you eat]
Mikki: You mentioned eating healthy… What’s a proper meal in the life of a model like?
How do you eat nutritiously?
Ilka Tamar: I am vegan now, but before making the decision, I always ate healthily. I believe my body is my temple and I have to take care of it. I stay away from the beans and rice and reach for the quinoa and berries instead. Not to mention, a veggie spring roll. hmmm!
Mikki: I mean, now, be honest, Ilka. What are your guilty pleasures food wise? I know it can’t be all strictly to the diet plan. Do you sneak a little something you shouldn’t eat sometimes?
Ilka Tamar: Maybe once a month I feed my Sushi addiction, hahaha, but that’s all I can tell you, Mikki.
Mikki: That’s not bad. Sushi is good for you, right? Something like low in fat but high in protein? You do more than eat right, Ilka. You work out as well?
How often do you exercise or go to the gym?
Ilka Tamar: I try to go three times a week minimum, but sometimes I go more, depending on my schedule. Regular exercise does more than tone the body. It relieves stress and it strengthens the muscles.
As we get older, it’s so important that we use our muscles so we don’t lose them. Because of my position in the medical field, I see so many patients not able to open a bottle of water.
Eating clean, exercising and drinking water are critical elements to a longer, healthier way of life, not just in the life of a model, but in everyone’s life.
Certainly, we will all perish one day, however, I see too many people worried because of the high cost of medical treatments and they wait too late to get treatments or even to get an initial diagnosis.
Their illnesses start to drain them and honestly, most of the time, it’s because of what they put in their bodies or what they didn’t consume. Overall, they did very little to take care of themselves.
This is not to say healthy people don’t get sick, but getting back on track could be easier because of a person’s prior health history.
It’s sad because we say we can’t afford a healthy lifestyle, but a key point to remember, the most expensive bed is the one in the hospital. We can bear the expenses now or later.
Mikki: Well, you get no arguments out of me on that. It sounds like you know what you’re talking about. Is medicine something you would consider if you were not a model?
What other professions would you consider?
Ilka Tamar: Well actually I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Pre-Medics, so maybe finishing medical school is an option. However, after doing my practice, I decided not to continue with my medical studies.
I don’t support traditional medicine methods and believe more in natural alternatives to healing. Also, I learned to help other people, there are more ways than doctors, lawyers, etc…
Mikki, almost every sickness is because of a deficiency, including some mental illnesses.
The more we pay attention to what we put into our bodies, the better off we’ll be. It starts at a young age when we are babies. Vitamins fuel our organs, including the brain. If we don’t get the nourishment we need to grow, then development is slowed or altered.
I”m not saying all sicknesses and diseases can be cured with herbs, fruits, and veggies, but it will certainly make a difference in the life of a model or anyone else for that matter.
Mikki: You make a very good point, Ilka. On that note, do you have anything you would like to tell a young girl or boy wanting to be a model?
What would your advice for new models?
Ilka Tamar: Always pursue and work hard on what you want. My first casting was my test… The person in front of me told me I was ugly and too short to be a model. I’m glad his words didn’t stop me from becoming who I am today.
I have almost 20 years of experience and a rewarding career now. In other words, don’t let people tell you what you can’t be. Don’t let the actions of others determine your fate. Oprah, one of the richest women in the world, was told: “No, she was too ugly to be on television.”
Well, I’m sure that person is eating his words now with a lot of bitterness. However, hadn’t it been for people like him giving people like Oprah and me the motivation to prove them wrong, we may not be here today. So, in a way, I’m grateful for the inspiration.
Models over 175 pounds are making strides now whereas years ago, it wasn’t accepted. Don’t give up. When things don’t go as you hoped, keep trying. Know failure is part of being successful. You just have to learn from that experience and use what it taught you.
Mikki: Well, thank you, Ilka, for allowing me to interview you. I certainly appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. I’ve enjoyed being in the life of a model, if only for a short while.
But wait, in case you’re wondering how to stay in touch with Ilka, you can find her on these platforms:
The Reality of the Life of a Model
What the interview didn’t reveal is that models don’t have much in the way of job security. Most unknown models work as freelancers most of the time while the fashion designers and top models make bucket loads of cash in the industry.
It sounds more like working for mere pennies or even less. Health coverage? Nope, they are on their own. It’s not a career one should enter at 50 and expect amazing results. Those who model frequently are tired individuals. You maintain a tight schedule between travel and shoots.
For those who aren’t busy, don’t quit your day job just yet. This is the period to get ready, so you are ready for the big day. The life of a model is not all bad. Hit your dreams in the bullseye.
Well, there you have it, folks, a peep into model’s life and wrapped in a nutshell. Do you have any comments? Put it in the air. 😉