Jasmine is an Alaskan model that recently travelled across the world to live in Australia to boost her modelling career and to gain life experience that can only surface when you throw yourself in the deep end.. Swim to Survive. Jasmine’s experiences in Australia as a model are fascinating, heart breaking and downright empowering.
The Journey Begins
A day before my 22nd birthday, modeling took me to the other side of the world. As I watched the mountains disappear from the window seat of row 21A, I knew I had ultimately made the right decision to leave my home state of Alaska and pursue the career of my dreams. Never did I think that it would mean moving 8,000 miles away to Sydney, Australia.
Six months prior to my boarding my ungodly 14-hour flight to Sydney, I sat down with my mother agent and practically begged her to get me placed elsewhere. As you can probably guess, the modeling scene in Alaska is close to non-existent and though there are jobs here and there, you can only do so much before it becomes mundane. I had been modeling while going to school since I was sixteen. I didn’t want modeling to continue to be a hobby I did on the side for extra pocket change – I wanted it to be my life and I had finally felt mature and confident enough to make that dream become a reality. I rattled off a list of places I would ideally want to be (New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Chicago, etc.) and way down at the bottom was Australia simply because I had been drooling over a model on Instagram and she was from Australia. I said it on a whim, thinking it couldn’t possibly happen.
Months passed rapidly, the days filled with test shoots, hours at the gym, and walking practice. Finally, my portfolio was sent all over the world. Then, all of the work came to fruition and there it was, sitting in front of me and staring me straight in the face: my first major modeling contract and where was it from? Vivien’s Model Management located in beautiful Sydney, Australia. I mulled the thought of moving away from everything I knew and loved over and over again. How could I leave my family? How could I leave my country? Then something inside me shifted and my outlook changed entirely. Who else could say they left Alaska to model in Australia? I would be the first and that meant a lot to me. Being from a small city in an isolated place, I felt I could be an inspiration to those who are apprehensive about pursuing their dreams. I get scared going to get food from the refrigerator in the middle of the night, so if I could go to somewhere as far and foreign as Sydney, others can rest assured that their dreams are in reach, too, if they are brave enough to go out and get them. I had wanted a major modeling contract for as long as I could possibly remember and I worked my ass off for it (literally). It didn’t matter where it was, I knew I would regret it if I passed up the opportunity. With my hand shaking, I signed my name with a heart at the end and booked a one-way ticket to the Land Down Under.
My first casting was for Cosmopolitan Magazine – a mere four hours after I landed in the Sydney airport. I had come during the start of winter and was welcomed by the biggest storm in a decade. My black Steve Madden boots carried me through puddle after puddle to a bus stop outside of my new model apartment. I flagged down the bus driver on the opposite side of the road from what I was used to. I could barely understand his accent, but he called me “love” so I immediately felt safe and we went on our way. Drenched, I walked up to the counter of a building that looked like it was from a scene in “The Devil Wears Prada”. I needed a key card to get to the top floors and then it dawned on me… I was doing it. I was living my dream. I could have been back home in Anchorage constantly asking myself “what if” but there I was – in the lobby of one of the most architecturally beautiful buildings I have ever stepped foot in at a casting for a magazine I had been reading since I was a preteen.
The week following that casting was about as turbulent as the descent into the Sydney airport. Full of ups and downs that made my stomach flip, I was exhausted from go sees, castings, and translating the obstacle course that was the Australian accent. Homesickness had a hold on me and the cockatoos constantly screeching didn’t help. My birthday came and went as the downpour outside pounded my window and lulled me to sleep every night. Modeling is a gamble and I knew this before I bid my home adieu, but it had all felt so awful. Finally, it was the end of the week and just as I was about to admit defeat, I received a phone call from my agency. I booked Cosmo
Photographer – Thuy Vo, @vophotography
Sylist & MUA – Christine A Eagleson, @xpressionista
Photographer – Thuy Vo, @vophotography
Hair – Kirstin Forbes, @untamed907hair