My Experience At Shortstack Modeling Agency Taught Me That I Was Enough

My Experience At Shortstack Modeling Agency Taught Me That I Was Enough

The modeling agency that wants you to be yourself.
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The photo above is of Deidre (right) and me!

A modeling experience is absolutely unforgettable.

Now, let me tell you about Shortstack Modeling Agency and my absolutely unforgettable experience. It is kind of like a dream of a gig: you audition to be a model — nope, you don't have to have any experience. And no, you don't have to be 5'10. You're not too old, ages 14-24. You also don't need to be of any particular weight, have a certain style or any of the above — you just need one thing with them, and that's to be yourself.

Located in Queens, New York, Shortstack Modeling Agency has gotten the attention of many. They've had over 200 girls in their program and luckily I've had the pleasure of working with them. Not only does it cost ZERO dollars to audition or be in the program itself, but it has a ton of benefits.

Basically it's a two-fold process. There's the whole "modeling," "photoshoots," and learning how to be a model. But first, there's something that really sets them apart. They have self-esteem workshops, team building exercises, helping not only your self-growth but instead of competing with fellow models, you learn to love them as if they're your own sister. They become your family.

There are inspiring and loving directors, like Fran and Patricia, who literally give you so much support themselves and put in a ton of hard work, but also the lovely Hal and Tracy who make it possible to begin modeling.

Tracy's daughter Olivia is the actual founder of Shortstack — she actually walked on the same runway as me! They are some of the most understanding, least judgmental, and easy to talk to people I've met in my lifetime.

My own experience happened like this. I heard about Shortstack from people who lived in Queens when I was around 16. Yeah, hell no was I going to get up on a runway and strut my stuff in front of a bunch of strangers. The thought of people looking at me, my body, could make me vomit. Super intimidating. Plus, I was a total tomboy. Why would I be into fashion?

Fast forward to 19. My boyfriend and I broke up a month before auditions. Alright, so maybe now I would have some more spare time. I convinced one of my BFFs to apply with me (she's into the whole hair and makeup biz) and we auditioned.

I loved every person in my year. The runway show was a total thrill. I met Indira and Deidre who literally gave me life, and they were apart of the "veterans" so I had two amazing ladies to look up to. I aspired to radiate the confidence and sexiness they possessed. They were so fierce. The first time I saw them walk, I could literally only dream to be half as good as they were.

Shortstack literally changed me as a person and transformed my outlook on life. I will forever be grateful to my impulse in "just doing it," the inspiring people I came to love, and the support that I was given. And, hell yeah I did my first runway show!

Cover Image Credit: Kris Atomic

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.
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It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning.

You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret.

So here are 20 tattoos you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, but don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semicolon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.


2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."


3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.


4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."


5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."


6. Greek symbol of Inguz: Where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."


8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya).


9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty, and artistic creativity.


10. The Greek word “Meraki" means to do something with soul, passion, love, and creativity or to put yourself into whatever you do.


11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from "The Hobbit." It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.


13. “Lux in tenebris" means “light in darkness."

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength and stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora" is translated literally as “Towards greater things." It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.


16. A glyph means “explore." It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."


18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe and the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can remind us of the inconsistency of life. It also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.


SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos


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The Pain & Beauty Of Vulnerability

Why being vulnerable is so scary.

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Being vulnerable is something that has never come easily to me. Being able to openly discuss what's on my mind has been a constant struggle throughout the many relationships and friendships I have had. "Why are you mad?" was once the most frightening questions someone could have asked me.

Vulnerability is a scary concept that I think about nearly every day in many social interactions.

But why do I feel this overwhelming difficulty of telling people how I truly feel? Is it because of how I was raised? Is it because of a life experience Is it just because I hate confrontation?

If we are being real, it's probably a combination of multiple things, but here I am attempting to let myself and the stories I have been brought to attention.

It's no fault to my parents, but more so to society, that I wasn't comfortable talking about what was going on inside my mind. In a world where women were, and still are, consistently silenced, being speaking my mind never seemed like the smart thing to do.

I used to, and honestly sometimes still do, think it's tacky to put exactly how you are feeling out into the world for everyone to see, read, comment and ask questions about. I used to delete "friends" (those people you add on Facebook but aren't really your friends in real life) off of the social network who opened up too much on their statuses or Tweets because they annoyed me and made me think too much about my own life.

I would rather no one know the personal details of my life. I would rather idealize my life to everyone around me and deal with my issues on my own time. But that's not the way the world functions and being vulnerable is a crucial point to living a less stressful life.

My hopes with my new endeavor of being a writer for Odyssey is that this platform allows me to work on my vulnerabilities and allow people to get to know the real me, and I challenge everyone who reads this article to do the same.

Have a conversation with yourself and those closest around you about something you haven't previously been open about. Journal about it. Write a song. Blog about it. Yell it out your freaking window. Feel the freedom and beauty that comes along with being that vulnerable.

This adventure will squeeze my brain until the vulnerability is oozing out and I'm annoying everyone with my feelings. My life's encounters may not interest everybody, but I feel as though it has value and life lessons within it that could help at least one person, even if that person is just me.

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