Modelling in the Middle of Nowhere

Modelling in the Middle of Nowhere

As we strut into a new year, we wanted to sit down with one of our favourite local models to talk about their industry experience and learn a bit more about how they navigate the crazy world of modelling and fashion. So check out this interview with Sydney from STRAY and learn more about their story.

Tell us a bit about your modelling journey. How did you start, and where are you going?
After graduating high school in 2019, I made the big move from Yorkton to Saskatoon. Shortly after moving, I was contacted by STRAY Model Management, scouted from my Instagram! Kristina asked if I could come to an open call. Not knowing what I was doing, I showed up with nothing but a pair of heels to a casting call for Regi Deshawn Sankey’s runway show. I was booked and signed that day. Little did we know I would later become their Assistant Director of Development.

During the following months, I continued to meet many of Saskatoon’s creative people and found a place for myself as a model. Then 2020 happened. Stuck at home and starting to lose my mind, I created a series titled Quarantine Through My Lens, which was virtual photoshoots done from the safety of my home in collaboration with photographers from all over western Canada, even internationally with some from India.

Through this experience, I booked a contract outside of Canada. It was a first for STRAY and a very exciting time for the team. So, in July 2020, I left for three months on my first international contract to Guadalajara, Mexico.
How would you describe your process of preparing for a shoot?
Intentionally consuming modelling content and studying posing is by far the best way to diversify your portfolio. Watching yourself pose in a mirror, recreating and mimicking crazy posing, is not only super entertaining but also gets you more comfortable pushing the boundaries of your modelling vocabulary. Something key is keeping up with your hydration leading up to a shoot. Water, moisturizer, and lip balm are easily the most essential products that have made or saved a shoot for me. Hygiene always takes the most consideration because that’s the foundation for creative hair and makeup briefs.
What are some of your best tips for working with photographers?
When on set, the most important relationship is between the model and the photographer. Everyone being on the same page will elevate the work and keep everyone safe. Expectations and boundaries should be clearly discussed before a day on set, and you should never feel forced to do anything you aren’t comfortable doing. While shooting, I find verbal and visual cues from a photographer extremely beneficial. The continuous feedback keeps the energy high and for me is how I work best. The more fun and lighthearted it is on set, the better the workflow.
What advice would you give to new models in the industry?
Modelling is an actual profession with highs and lows; people need to be very mindful of that. I’ve been lucky enough to have incredible opportunities and be able to take care of my physical and mental health with breaks when I needed them. So it’s important to prioritize your confidence, self-care and well-being, especially when starting your modelling journey. Pro tip: having snack options, water and hair ties in your bag will never disappoint you on set.
Toronto and Montreal may arguably be the fashion hubs of Canada, but what about Saskatoon makes this place special for creatives in the fashion industry?
Saskatoon has an incredible creative scene, and over the last few years, I’ve had the privilege of working with countless of Saskatoon’s most talented creators. Whether it’s makeup artists, photographers, designers, business owners or hairstylists, Saskatoon has endless opportunities for collaboration. Living in the middle of nowhere forces us to explore our creativity in unexpected ways and rely on each other to build a supportive community. My experience in Saskatoon has prepared me for a new contract in Mexico City beginning this month, with much more in store for the rest of 2023! ✌️
Model + Interview Sydney (she/they)
Photos by Tyler (he/they)
T-Shirt by Social Made Local
Design Collab by Big Softy

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