“Modeling careers are notoriously short. My education gives me the opportunity to pursue a career that will last a lifetime.” – Grace Paulter
Welcome to Face Time. DFW Style Daily’s exclusive series goes beyond the runways to get to know top local models on a personal level. Our interviews with Tracy Ripsin, Christina Reed, Myles Crosby, Daniel Crouch, Atti Worku, Tiffany Hendra and many more, have captured the attention of thousands. They’ve also proved, beyond a doubt, that these talented Texas rank among the most fascinating and accomplished models in the country.
We’ve learned more than a few valuable lessons from these model citizens along the way, as we will again today. Grace Paulter busts typical model stereotypes – she studies Arabic and maintains a 4.0 G.P.A. – while setting ambitious goals and keeping her family close to her heart. Read on for Grace’s secrets to success:
DFW Style Daily: First of all, you are relatively new to the modeling industry. Were you scouted, or did you pursue modeling on your own?
Grace Paulter: “I had an interest in modeling for a long time before actually signing with an agency, but my education was always a priority. Over the years, I visited a few agencies, but was turned off by how many of them sold classes or expected money up front. Then, in the winter of my junior year of college, my current agent with the Callidus Agency reached out to me via social media. Through this connection, I found an agency that was flexible enough to allow me to pursue my academic ambitions while building a modeling career.”
Tell us about your first assignment. What were your initial impressions of the modeling world?
“My first job was a runway show for L’Oreal Professionnel hair products. The show was a full spectacle, with dancers, choreographed runway walks, outrageous costumes and lots and lots of hair. I haven’t worked a job quite so huge and hectic since. At the time, I thought this over-the-top level was the norm, but the modeling world isn’t always as showy as that first job led me to believe. In fact, most jobs are just a few good people getting together to make art.”
Speaking of art, an assignment took you to Milan for the summer last year. What did you learn from living and working in one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the world?
“My summer in Milan was one of the most important growing experiences in my life, thus far. First, attending half a dozen casting calls every day taught me to remain resilient and to handle rejection with grace and poise. Second, living and working so far away from my loved ones taught me to make taking care of myself a priority. Further, working in such a huge market taught me the importance of taking initiative.
“However, the most important lesson I learned in Milan was to be brave. It took some courage to go to Milan in the first place, but it took even more courage to keep putting myself out there, to stand up for myself, and to travel alone. I learned that fear is the antagonist of progress and success. I have promised myself to be brave and to embrace the risks that one inevitably faces on the path to success.”
In an industry filled with misconceptions, you defy certain stereotypes by attending college, where you maintain a 4.0 G.P.A., while working as a model. How do you balance these two very different areas of focus?
“Balance can be difficult, but my education is always my priority. I have had to pass up jobs because they coincided with exams or presentations. However, I think that modeling has made me more efficient with my schoolwork. I’m highly motivated to get my studying done so I can go out and shoot again.”
Did you ever consider leaving school to pursue modeling as a full-time career?
“I did not. For me, education is paramount. As much as I have dreamed about pursuing modeling full time, I know that finishing my degree will serve me best in the long term. Modeling careers are notoriously short. My education gives me the opportunity to pursue a career that will last a lifetime.”
Tell us specifically about where your career will take you after graduation.
“Every photographer, make-up artist and stylist that I have worked with is shocked when I tell them I study Arabic. Then comes the inevitable question: What do you plan on doing with that? In January 2017, after taking a gap-year of sorts to pursue modeling, I will move to Dubai to work as a business analyst with McKinsey & Company. This is truly my dream job, wherein I will be involved with Middle Eastern economic development while proving the worth of women in business in the Gulf.”
Finally, do you have a personal role model? What have you learned from his or her example?
“As cliché as it sounds, my mother is my greatest role model. She is a picture of strength. She moved across the country and raised me as a single mother, to ensure that I grew up in an environment of love and stability. She has taught me how important it is to take care of myself, to stand up for myself and to never settle for being treated poorly. She has also taught me to be courageous and resilient in all things. I am immensely thankful that she has raised me to be just as strong and brave as herself.”
All images courtesy of the Callidus Agency.