NUMA: How did you become a model?
ADAM: It truthfully was an accident. I was actually a bit awkward and overweight as a kid, and so I never even imagined a possibility for myself where I was a model. I come from a small town in San Diego, and I was more likely to be a cowboy than a model. But when I eventually made my way to college, I’d outgrown a bit of my social awkwardness and started trying to take care of my health and made a big transformation. I went with one of my buddies from high school on a photoshoot during one of our holiday breaks from school and met his cousin who was the photographer. He shot me the same day and told me I had potential. At that point, I let it rest until a fashion obsessed friend of mine from my dorm, in my final year at UC Berkeley (now working as an art director in New York, just sayin’), submitted me to several agencies in San Francisco. I got signed with CITY Models in SF, and from that point on, I was going to castings and evolving what modeling meant to me.

NUMA: What advice do you have for someone going to their first casting?
ADAM: It’s probably going to be a bust. And so will the next. And the next. Get real comfortable with knowing rejection doesn’t determine your worth. It’s so easy to get lost in the opinions of those you value, let alone just everyone in general. But know your own opinions, goals, and standards and the right work will find you. The right people will find you, and you’ll naturally evolve the way you should.

NUMA: When you’re not busy modeling, what are some of your favorite things to do?
ADAM: I spend 98% of my free time musically. I’ve sung since childhood, and throughout college I picked up DJing. I make mixes and mashups all day long, and if a song really speaks to me, I try my own covers and recordings. It’s admittedly hard to stay motivated and focused on goals with a full time job, staying fit, trying to be a social creature, modeling, social media expectations, and connecting with friends and family that live all over the world. I find myself oftentimes wanting to just relax or turn off. But I’m training myself to spend all my spare energy and efforts in some way creating or being active. Even if it’s as simple as designing a silly video for Instagram featuring a mix I made, or writing a poem or some song lyrics I’ve conceived of, I make sure to be creating as extensively and regularly as I can.

NUMA: What’s the worst preconceived idea people have about models?
ADAM: That we can even be generalized. I’ve met models from every walk of life, every example of image, of body style, of culture. Especially in 2017, when modeling and personalities and influencers are all blending together in this interesting way, what it means to be a model and who we are has become as diverse as the world we come from. I’d say the personal issue I’ve faced most often is that people consider I must be a very sexual, profitable, and fashion focused person to be portraying myself the way I am in images. Being the things I find myself selling most frequently, I don’t experience many that understand the performative nature of modeling. We get it with singers and with actors, but with models, the sexuality and personality that we must wield are not respected as tools and considered more as traits. In fact, I face two degrees worth of debt and find myself even less sexually inclined or “badass” than many consumers of such actions and thoughts. But that’s what allows me to wield these tools successfully; they don’t determine my comfort or abilities.

NUMA: What other opportunities has modelling given you?
ADAM: I consider growth and self-exploration the greatest opportunity available to us. We don’t all have money, or resources, or fancy friends, but we do all have time. Modelling has really allowed me a sort of introspection that I think most don’t find. Coming from a mindset and lifestyle so outside of modelling, both personally and professionally, I was able to experience modeling in a different way. More creatively, like a home away from my struggles. When it felt like my studies were inconsistent with myself, or my dreams were too big for my career, I always had the ability to escape. And in those moments, I learned about myself. What I valued, and what I need to feel successful and passionate. I learned these things through the privilege of meeting so many interesting, eccentric, and determined artists and through seeing life occasionally through their eyes. And, like with music, at first you’re just reproducing. Copying those you find interesting, unique, or inspiring. But after enough repetition, you find a voice; a style. And I thank modelling for being an invaluable part in helping me find that quality in myself that I don’t think I could lose if I tried.

Model: Adam W

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