By Mikayla Baumgarte '17
Immediately following graduation in 2012, Bree Smith dove right into the workforce. Smith is currently signed worldwide in seven different countries as a model and a talent. She was based in New York for four years and now resides in Los Angeles with Next Model Management.
She has worked with various big commercial named companies such as Macy's, Bloomingdales, Saks, Sephora and Nordstrom, just to name a few. Smith is also featured in numerous spreads in fashion editorials. The fashion editorials she’s featured in include Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, Harpers Bazaar, wedding magazines, and more. In addition to being featured in spreads, she’s also been in commercials for Garnier hair products and Macy’s.
During her junior year of high school while searching for a prom dress, she received an email inviting her to apply to win a modeling contract, a trip to NYC, and a $500 gift card to their store.
“ I entered the contest as a joke thinking it was most likely a scam. Joke is on me now I suppose, because here I am … modeling,” she said.
As an incoming model, you are placed into a category called development. During this time girls work on getting into shape, finding their own personal style and getting prepared to sign with an agency in a larger market, such as NYC.
“For me this meant losing a little bit of weight to have the measurements required by the industry and breaking my shyness,” she said. “As a young girl, who was always told to gain weight and bulk for sports, I was confused.”
Her agent, Jeff Clarke, told her that training as a model is no different than training as an athlete.
“We have to keep in shape year-round and if we aren't, we won't play. Or in other words, I won't have a career,” she said.
After the development stage, models are sent to become a “new face.” During this time, models are sent out to see clients.
“Upon first arriving in New York, I was very fortunate to book jobs right off the bat. I had amazing jobs. I was so excited,” she said. “I had just moved to a huge city, didn't know a single person, and was living off of high school graduation money. I struggled having little money for groceries and no friends in the city. I was intimidated and homesick from my family and boyfriend at the time. Luckily, I signed with an agency who were there for me like family, or I may have moved back.”
While the life of a model appears to nothing but glamorous, there is a lot more to it.
“I won't sugar coat my accomplishments over the years and say it has been all fun. Yes, I have been all over the world, working with famous artists, going to major fashion events, meeting icons and eating dinner with them, and making good pay. For all of that I am extremely grateful,” she said. “But, no success ever come easy. I had my share of obstacles. There were countless days I wanted to give up because of the pressure to maintain a certain image. The days where I'd work a 12 hour day, take a red-eye to Europe and then go to work right off the plane. Or to have a stylist pull out a measuring tape and measure my hips and tell me I'm too fat for the clothes. I have dealt with many rudely blunt people telling me I'm not this way, and I should do that, or fix that. It's tough, it’s not everything you see on social media. I choose what I want people to see, I don't want people to feel bad for me or give me a pity party. This world can be tough, jobs are tough, rude people are everywhere.”
Though it has been an uphill battle, Smith has had a successful ride in the modeling industry thus far.
“I am extremely grateful for where I am. I keep a positive outlook because I have an amazing support system, and those obstacles are just obstacles, they aren't determining my value. I know myself,” she said. “Modeling has given me opportunities, strengthened my faith and given me a better perspective on my life.”
In a flashback to life as a Cadet, Smith was able to celebrate two state championships with her basketball team.
“Playing sports (basketball and soccer) taught me determination, giving 110 percent and getting back up after a defeat,” she said.
CLHS works hard to create graduates that are individually equipped to be adults who are able to interact with the world through the lens of a Christian worldview.
“CLHS had a huge factor in my success of modeling,” she said. “First off, morals and values over anything. In a tough industry in the public eye, my morals have kept me grounded, kept me strong-willed in my beliefs and have helped me recognize appreciation for where I am today.”
Smith still remains grounded through her many successes, and she hasn’t forgot the path she had to walk to get to where she is today.
“Something I want for my younger sisters is to be a little fearless and trust in God’s path for their life. Don't fear the struggle it takes to get somewhere, learn to embrace discomfort,” she said. “Time will pass whether you are ready or not, so you have to be willing to put in the work. Success will never be money.”