A model student

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Freshman Katie Williams has been a model for a year, starting in eighth grade while still a student at Renfroe. Last year Williams stumbled into the job, just by walking through Publix with her dad. An agent stopped her and suggested that she become a model, and she later chose Factor Women in Atlanta.

Since then, her manager Marion Webb has helped her get into the industry by finding her jobs and helping her improve various modeling techniques.

Webb met her last Jan. when she attended a modeling boot camp, which is what connected the two. With the help of Webb’s guidance, along with support from her mom, Williams has discovered her calling.

“I take school a little more seriously than modeling, but that is what I want to do with my life, to model, so I prioritize [that] over school. But, my parents prioritize school over modeling.”

Webb also feels very connected to the industry. She started as a model at 13 and has modeled in Atlanta, Savannah, New York and other big cities. At age 46, Webb is still in the business.

Due to her year of experience, Williams feels that her career and model abilities are improving.

During her first photo shoot she felt “so clumsy and I had no idea how to move or anything, so I was just kind of standing there like, ‘Hi, this is a purse.’”

Webb also agrees that Williams has improved since she met her last year.

“She has grown in all of the positive ways that a model needs to grow. She’s maturing so much in the industry, her walk is getting really great, her photos are better every single time and she’s booking some really great jobs,” Webb said. “She just has a lot of potential for the future.”

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While she is beginning to thrive within the modeling industry, Williams is already thinking of what she will do next. She created a makeup line called “Anarchy.” She plans to continue to model until she is 27, then she will fall back on her makeup line.

Williams was talking to a friend about backup career plans when the “Anarchy” idea was born. She has even talked to Webb about her plan, and Webb was thoroughly impressed with Williams’ planning.

“She was talking to me about testing some of her makeup on our girls, which is such a grown-up thing to be thinking about doing,” Webb said. “I just love her entrepreneurship and that she would thinking about at such an early age. I think that’s incredible.”

But for now, Williams is focusing on improving as a model. She says she uses other models and even YouTube videos for help. Although, there’s one thing YouTube videos can’t prepare you for: long hours.

“The longest I’ve ever been at a photo shoot is 12 hours,” Williams said. “Last year when I was at Renfroe, I was doing a photo shoot with Boxercraft and we were outside in the middle of Feb. wearing tiny shorts and tank tops and stuff. They were, like, rubbing our legs with oil to make us look warm but we were actually in 20 degree weather. It was torture.”

Not all photo shoots are torturous, though. One of William’s’ favorite shoots was Wes Anderson themed with old cameras and suitcases as props.

Despite being with models all day, Williams finds that she is closer with photographers rather than fellow models.

“[Models] don’t really know how to talk to each other. They’re kind of socially awkward, actually. They look stuck up so they’re just on their phone or whatever,” Williams said.

For Williams, being a model is a confusing mix of being flattered by everyone around you while feeling insecure because of beautiful surrounding models.

“The worst part [of modeling] is definitely keeping up your self esteem. It’s like, you’re being told you’re beautiful constantly by photographers and stuff, but then on the other hand, you’re telling yourself that you’re worse than the other people that are in the industry.”

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Webb also tries to help other girls from feeling beat down by the industry. She sees “starry eyed girls” that aren’t quite model material.

“Being a model is tough work and it’s not all galmour all the time. I always try to be encouraging and positive and say ‘you just have to find what works for you so you can find your fulfillment in life.’”

All in all, Williams and Webb agree that the art industry is a rewarding place to be. Williams also has a word of advice for anyone working to achieve their dream:

“Don’t beat yourself up because there are always going to be people that are better than you. You are going to be you and you are going to do your thing, and the best way to be successful in that industry is to be different and to stand out.


Photos courtesy of Marion Webb