Letting Life Lead
I introduced my my cousin Tracey and the amazing life changes she is making in an earlier feature and it was high time that others get to know her better. If you are a first time visitor, Tracey is 51 and is participating in the EM Mag Spring Cover shoot on ExploreModeling.com.
Many people, including me, have been excited to see you take life by the heel and run with it. What was the “It” that first made you decide to just get out there and do something bold?
Tracey: I’d always been a “good girl”. Had done and been what was expected of me to do and be. I was afraid of everything, including myself. I was in my late 40’s and that age you start scrutinizing your life to that point, and I didn’t particularly like what I saw. I was an overweight wife and mother, with no accomplishments that I could look back on. Nothing that I could say in later years, “I did that, and it was for me, and damn, I had a great time doing it!” I was fed up, and I just made the decision that I was going to lose weight and do something I’d never dreamed I’d ever do!
After this important moment, what was the first thing you did?
Tracey: The very first thing? Lost weight. But the first bold thing I did was to take the train, by myself, to visit my best friend in North Carolina. This was huge, as I’d never done anything like that before
I remember you talking about that trip. Was your first solo trip what you expected?
Tracey: My trip was more than I’d imagined, in every good way possible. I was nervous about traveling alone, but the moment I stepped onto that train, a feeling of calm and independence swept over me that I can’t describe. And when I stepped off the train and walked into Union Station in DC, it was incredible. There I was, in a different state, in a place I’d never been, and I’d got there by myself. I spent an amazing three hours there before I had to find the connecting train that would take me to NC. It took me a while to wrap my head around the fact that I’d actually had the courage to do it. It was definitely a defining moment in my life
You’ve never modeled before you started two years ago. How did that happen for you?
Tracey: My neighbor had asked me if a photographer friend of his could use my yard to do an engagement shoot. Well, that ended up not happening, but the photographer thought I was pretty and she asked me if I would consider modeling for her, for an area art gallery exhibit. I was stunned and excited and terrified all at once. The easy thing to do would have been to decline, but I told myself I wasn’t about being afraid or doing what was “easy” any more, and before I could change my mind, I said yes.
What was your first shoot and how did you feel?
Tracey: It was for the Sex at The X exhibit at Gallery X in downtown New Bedford. I was nervous, as I had never really cared for taking pictures before…never thought I was very photogenic. But Rene (the photographer) was very easy going and a little nervous herself, and that actually made me feel better! It didn’t take too long to settle down and pretty soon I was very relaxed and having a really good time.
When you saw the first pictures what was your first reaction?
Tracey: Hey, these aren’t horrible! LOL!
They are fabulous! What is your favorite shoot?
Tracey: Oh boy, that’s a tough one. Truly, there’s no way I could pick just one. Each shoot is a different experience, and each photographer brings their own unique talent to the table. They’re all special to me in their own way, but I think the ones where I can show another facet to my personality, one that even I didn’t know I had, sort of stand out.
What is the one thing you would tell yourself if you could go back to your 18th birthday?
Tracey: Oh, my goodness. Just one thing? I guess it would be, “Be true to yourself”.
When you first told people what you were planning on doing (modeling). What was their reaction and were you surprised?
Tracey: I’ve learned something. When people are used to you being a certain way for forty some odd years and then you turn around and do something totally unlike the person they perceived you to be, the first thing everyone wants to know is, “Why has she changed?” Nine out of ten times they’re not overjoyed about it. They’d much rather you go back to being the person they are comfortable with. That’s pretty much what happened. Most reactions ranged from apathy to, “You’re a little old for this, aren’t you?” to anger. And of course, thankfully, there were the handful of “You GO girl” reactions that helped me maintain my resolve. Was I surprised? In some instances yes, and in others, no.
What made you decide to join a modeling contest? What are your hopes no matter the outcome?
Tracey: It’s not the first contest I’ve entered. The last two years I’d entered another magazine contest, and will be entering it again this year as soon as it’s open to contestants. It’s not so much the idea of competing with others as it is proving to myself that fear and lack of confidence no longer rule my life that made me enter. And win or not, the main thing is that I keep my head up and keep learning. That I keep making strides, keep fining little challenges. I’m fine with baby steps as long as they’re in the right direction!
People are inspired by you. What would you like to say to them?
Tracey: A friend once said that to me, and it sounded so completely alien. It still does, I must admit. I mean, it’s nice, but, me an inspiration? It’s just weird to imagine! I guess I would tell them that it’s never ever too late to change your life. You have the power. Use it!
Do you have a favorite photo?
Tracey: Another toughie. I’ve worked with so many talented photographers and love so many photos for so many different reasons, that it’s hard to pick just one. So, I can’t pick one. I just can’t do it!
Is there something you haven’t done (anything) that you haven’t tried yet?
Tracey: That I would like to try? Goodness….I’d like to have the guts to sing in front of an audience. I guess first, I’d have to have a good enough voice for it. LOL I’d like the get the book I’d started finished and try to get it published. And of course, I want to get picked up by an agency and do some print modeling.
Feeling inspired and want to lend your support?
Visit her profile and you can choose to like, share, and to vote for her and give the other contestants a good showing. You can vote up to twenty times every day until the end of the contest in March. There are some captcha ads for each vote, but the process is simple.
Tracey’s personal statement: I am a 51 year old floral designer. For most of my life I’ve been someone’s daughter, wife, mother, employee. A few years ago, an unexpected, very welcome infusion of confidence and courage led me to modeling for several area photographers, and I’m having a wonderful time! I want to be chosen for the cover of EM because I want everyone to see that a mature, ordinary working woman can be extraordinary with the right attitude and a little confidence.
You are never too old to try something daring; you are never too young to be inspired to take those steps you’ve been afraid to take. Be inspired; I am.
The Literary (or Junk) Writings of Leslie Muzingo
Poetry, History, Mythology
Confessions of a White Trash Hoe
Learn to Live
Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry Journal
TinyPurpleMe: Part Two
Illustrated Short Stories
Essays and reviews on narrative in games and new media
My reflections of life in general.