Posted in Circle of Women, The Journey

Model Behavior

It’s a cliché, but you meet the right people at the right time, and sometimes in the most unceremonious ways. I met Andy through Cesar, my main photographer/partner in crime. She hired us to make some new head shots.
It turned out to be one of the most inspirational meetings of last year!

Above, one of the images of our casting shoot, photography Cesar Ochoa.

At first I thought Andy wanted to try something new. But instead, she knew exactly what she wanted. She was wanted to get more acting work and she already knew where she would be sending the pictures and what she needed them for, even before they were shot. Now that, is a woman with business acumen!

There is a lot of glamour in our industry. Our journey is as much about expanding our creativity as our financial opportunities. And that is why I wanted to share a post on this figure-skater/model/actress, because I found her very inspirational. And just so you know how amazing this woman is: she doesn’t even have a Facebook or an Instagram account, yet.

Growing up, Andy Quesnel was passionate about figure-skating: it’s athletic, it’s graceful, and it’s all about glamour on the rink. But all the pageantry hides a fiercely competitive world, where everything counts. Where you work your ass off on on the double axle as much as you obsess about how the glitter in your makeup matches the sequins on your outfit!

“It was a tough school”, she says,” it makes you really strong, physically and mentally. But most importantly, it taught me that if you fall on your ass, you just get back up. It’s not uncommon to fall during competition, no matter how many times you practice, you’re always taking a risk—it’s part of the game. I worked very hard during those years. I put all my heart and soul into creating dance routines, working on outfits, putting a show together and constantly thinking on how to make each routine dazzling, all while going to school.”

“But I was growing taller by the day. I held on as long as I could, because I really liked it.
I was faced with tough choice: either stop, and become a teacher, or move on to become a professional skater. I decided to travel, and I got hired at the Disney On Ice show and toured with them for a year. My life was all about living out of a suitcase, skating, and moving on to another city. All the fun was gone, so I decided to take a break from skating.”

“ I also got interested in beauty pageants. I liked to watch them on TV, they inspired my skating outfits, my makeup and the music for my routines. My mother, was always there, she was my impresario, she did it all; sewing my outfits and coaching me. At the age of 17, she also took my my first pageant, in a dark bar, all oiled up in my bathing suit in the hopes of becoming Miss Hawaiian Tropic! From there, I entered a few of these pageants, and I got to win the title of Miss Montreal—it was a very exciting moment in my life!”

“But the best part was that I got to meet a lot of professional models, and I got a lot of insights from them about the industry, including my first movie break. One of my new friends told me to take her place at an audition for a movie called Rollerball. My skating talent got me noticed, and I immediately did back to back Rollerball and a month later,
I was cast as an actor for Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind ( directed by George Clooney). I also did more stunt work as my name went around. I became an Actra member in no time, and decided to pursue the entertainment industry in all its forms: actor, stunt woman and also model.”

“I train regularly, I eat a very healthy vegetarian diet, I take acting classes, I take dancing classes, I even volunteer as a dance teacher for underprivileged kids. I do a lot of the legwork to find opportunities by networking, and finding out what is happening and staying on top of it all by meeting with my agents at Montage Model. People don’t realize all the work it takes to stay in this game!

Andy-Cesar-Ochoa-Ewa-Bilinska

(Another picture from the shooting, showing Andy’s athletic side)

Here are Andy’s tips:

-Get serious about your pictures. I realized most clients booked me based on the pictures in my book and often asked for the same and hair makeup. I got photographers to shoot photos that represent what the client might be looking for, with the right context and visual material.

-Be social. When I work at the clients offices, I always show interest in the company and it’s future projects.

-Sharing information. When I hear that they are casting a part, I share it with my network, because the actual competition for the part is small. When you trade tips, you eventually get some in return. It’s a win-win for everyone and you get to know what is happening in the industry.

-Hang out. If the people working in your industry go to a certain coffee shop or restaurant, hang out there. My favourite places are gyms, theatre/dance productions, and art or photography classes. I like to surround myself with people that I admire and that do related stuff. Maybe one day you can exchange creative skills and develop projects together.

If you fall on your ass—get back up! You might not always get the part or the casting, or the gig, but it shouldn’t stop you! Don’t dwell on it, keep going for the new opportunity, keep finding what your edge is. Sometimes you stumble on it by looking for something else, so always be open! Keep proposing your visions and your craft, and keep developing yourself, because people don’t really know what you are capable, until you find out for yourself.