Tara Brose (MSA Models)Although I heard countless stories prior to our introduction, I first met Tara face-to-face at a coffeehouse in SOHO, New York City. She is an incredible person who exemplifies what it means to fearlessly pursue a vision, trust God, and succeed.
Her responses to the questions below will not only encourage aspiring models but also show the trials one faces when following his/her dream and the triumphant outcome.
When did you first discover your love for modeling?
-- I always dreamed of becoming a model for as long as I can remember. When I would complain about being taller than all the boys growing up in elementary school, or feel awkward because I was taller than my older sister starting at a young age, my mom always told me that I should be proud of my height because one day I could become a model. I think she was saying that to make me feel better, but I actually believed her.
Tell us about the moment you decided to pursue modeling? Who helped you achieve your dream?
-- I decided to pursue modeling in high school. I began in Atlanta, Georgia, but it wasn't until I decided to move to New York City that I really started to achieve my dream. Before it was just a hobby, or something I would do for fun when I had the time. When I finally made the decision to take my first semester off of college and move to NYC, I was finally on my way of turning my dream reality.
My parents were a huge part in me finally pursuing modeling, but especially my mom. Without her encouragement and support, there's no way I would have made the move and be where I am today.
How long did it take for you to find a “breakthrough”? What led to that opportunity?
-- It is extremely hard living in NYC, especially when you're 18 years old. I don't think my "breakthrough" came until I finally decided to be comfortable in my own skin and be who I truly was. This was something that took a lot of time, lessons learned, and trials that I needed to go through. I was doing anything and everything I could to keep busy, find jobs, continue shooting, and make enough money to live off of. My biggest breakthrough was after I graduated college and started doing fit modeling full time. That is when I finally had steady work and no longer had to live from paycheck to paycheck. ((Fit modeling is working directly with the designers of a company to create the perfect fit of a garment. It is within the production process, after design and before the products are in the stores. Most people don’t know this job exists, but there is a lot of hard work that goes into making each and every garment fit the way the designer intended for it to fit. I spend my days trying on tons and tons of clothes, and working with the design and production department of multiple companies in order to fit clothing to my body. I work as a size 2 for some clients, and a 4 for others.))
What are some of the obstacles you’ve had to overcome while pursing your goals and how did you conquer them?
-- When I first moved to NYC, I was constantly told that my skin was very bad and broken out, that I needed to lose weight, and that I was too short to model.
I really did have horrible skin when I first started modeling. It actually was bad for several years, and I tried every skin care line you could think of to try and fix it. Every doctor would say that my acne was hormonal, but nothing seemed to help. Finally I realized that I was allergic to gluten, and now my skin looks and feels like a brand new face! I am very careful about not eating gluten anymore, and I do oil cleansing to clean my face. Having clear skin is very important for modeling, and I am so thankful that I don't have to worry about that anymore. Of course I have occasional breakouts, but they are nothing like what I use to deal with.
As a fit model, I have to maintain my weight and measurements. I no longer am being pushed to lose weight, and also I can't gain weight, but I literally have to stay the same size. This has caused me to be much healthier because I am maintaining my natural weigh and measurements. I am not trying to be a certain size that I am not meant to be. This may sound crazy or seem very hard, but my body naturally stays the same for the most part, so this is not overly challenging for me. I am not someone who fluctuates often, which is why fit modeling has been so good for me.
As far as my height goes, obviously there is no magic formula to get taller! However again, as a fit model, they like my height. I am the "average" height for the clients that I work with (at 5’7) and I am exactly what my clients need. I don't have to stress about being two inches too short anymore because I don't do as many fashion jobs as I use to. And when I do, I don't care that I am shorter than the other girls because I am comfortable with who I am.
Do you have any advice you’d like to give teenagers pursuing a similar dream?
-- Absolutely! I would say that whatever is in your heart to do, go for it and don't let anyone tell you that you can't. Let that be what motivates you and keeps you moving forward! Most importantly, know your boundaries and who you are. Be you. Don't compare yourself to anyone else. In the modeling industry, there is SO much competition. But at the same time, there are SO many different companies and clients that are looking for different things. Just be yourself, and you will find a client that is looking for exactly you! Until then, keep moving forward and do not get discouraged when you hear a million 'no's' because it will be worth if for the time you finally get a 'yes!'
Tell us about your accomplishments.
-- It is now almost exactly 7 years after I moved to NYC after high school. I am 25 years old, recently married, and have been modeling full time since I graduated college in 2012. As a fit model, I have worked with clients such as Armani Exchange, Opening Ceremony, Steven Alan, American Eagle, Almost Famous, Onia, Whit NY, Swiss Army, Mara Hoffman, Joe Fresh, Vince Camuto, Amoi, and more. I have worked as a showroom model for companies such as Vanilla Star, Vogue, Splendid, Nike, Jessica Simpson, Helly Hansen, and New York & Company. I've done print work for Cosmopolitan Magazine, Seventeen Magazine, The New York Post, BB Dakota, Lauren Conrad for Kohls, Kings of Cole, and others. I have done background work for television shows and movies, such as Gossip Girl, White Collar, It's Complicated, Law And Order, CSI:NY, The Beautiful Life, and more. I have done runway shows for Sachika, Belabunda Swim, Oakley, Victor Harper Bridal, SARAR, and more. I am so thankful that I didn’t give up when I wanted to. Even though it has not been easy, it has been the adventure of a lifetime and I am extremely happy to be working in a field that I am so passionate about!
What are your goals for the next ten years?
-- Wow 10 years... Who knows where I'll be! I think it's important to have goals, absolutely, but I've always been a very spontaneous person. I could not have ever dreamed of where I am right now, so I honestly don't think I could dream up the next 10 years even if I tried! I will definitely have kids by then, which means a lot will change as far as modeling goes. However, I recently started a fashion + lifestyle blog (www.taramichellebrose.com) that I intend to grow and see flourish in the next few years. There is definitely more longevity in modeling than people think, so I do believe I could continue with it if I wanted to. It wouldn't be as much fashion as it would be fit, commercial, or lifestyle jobs, but all of which I love to do! I don't know what all I will accomplish in the next 10 years, but I know that it will be exciting!
Click here to visit Tara's blog.