Photos C/O Kat Harris
We had a 6:30a.m. call time in downtown Los Angeles, and a full morning of shooting. The sun was just making its way over the buildings as our model drove up. Ellie hopped out of the car with a smile that made me believe this was the most exciting thing in her day. Then she tackled me with a hug as though we were long lost friends. The chatter between us started and didn’t stop until we said goodbye hours later.
Ellie carries herself with ease and has a groundedness that surpasses her age. She has a freedom that catches like wildfire until everyone joins her in a silly Justin Bieber dance. In an industry that says you matter because of what you look like, she walks on set with a positive attitude and a smile that tears down walls.
Ellie, I’m so proud of who you are, and I am so honored to have you on The Refined Woman. You inspire me.
I never thought I would be a model. I was the kid who sang Andrea Bocelli for the neighbors while wearing my Elmo pajamas and using a comb as a microphone. I always wanted to sing and act, it was naturally a part of who I was, and who I am to this day.
But when I got the opportunity to model I was astonished at how much I loved it. My first shoot was with a family friend who is a successful fashion photographer. He is very artistic, and for the shoot we went for a New York studio vibe. The entire process inspired me — from arriving on set and meeting the crew, to seeing the final pictures a week later.
I have heard many horror stories about the modeling industry — from creepy guys to drugs to girls ending up sketchy situations. But I have been extremely lucky. I met my lovely agent through a mutual friend and have worked with some incredible people.
People make me light up, and that is one of the reasons I love what I get to do. I get so encouraged and inspired by talking to people from all different walks of life, and listening to their adventures. I also love the creative side of modeling. It’s fascinating to see the vision of the shoot come to life through the work of so many different types of artists.
Modeling also has its challenges. It’s easy to get caught up in yourself, and get lost in the followers and the likes and all the attention you get from having the title, “model,” slapped onto your name.
It’s also easy to assume that because someone is beautiful or successful, everything in their life must be going well, when in reality they may be suffering. It makes me want to try to have a heart for others… regardless of how things might appear on the outside. I try to see the good in people, and the good that God has for them or is doing in their lives.
Another challenge is that I feel compelled to live up to a standard of beauty, and maintain a certain body size. There is a lot of competition, so it’s easy to get discouraged. I sometimes compare myself with other models, and think, “if only I had her legs” or “I wish I had her bone structure.” It can become a very lonely game of competition and vanity!
But the thing that consistently relieves me of my insecurities is my faith. I love to sing and act, and I love my family, but most importantly: I love Jesus. And I get to share the love God has put in my own heart with others.