In a sea of fitness and physique models, there is always someone who will stand out, and we are lucky to have a chance to interview Marco Jimenez, 24, to share his experiences and insights about the unimaginable industry of modeling from the other side of the world.
Jimenez proved that he is not just another pretty face fronting the camera but also a substantial one to watch out for.
Currently residing in Los Angeles, Jimenez shares that he was discovered in San Francisco by a barber who happens to be an agent and hairstylist for some large modeling productions. “I left the Netherlands to finish my final year of University in San Fransisco. During my first few weeks, I was exploring the city and trying to make myself at home. Then I decided to look for a barbershop to get a haircut. The barber that cut my hair that day was also an agent and hairstylist for some large modeling productions. He was the one that discovered me and got me into the industry.” He shares.
Was modeling something you always wanted to do or did it just kinda happen?
Not at all actually. I would have never pictured myself to become a model when I was still living in Europe. It was never something I dreamed about or something I could see myself doing. When my barber proposed it to me I was very hesitant at first. I told him that modeling was not for me and that it didn’t fit my personality. I was mostly concerned with finishing my degree and starting my career in business. However, he managed to convince me. Mostly because I was a student and I could use some extra cash, but also because he truly believed in me. It does something to you when people believe in you like that, regardless of what it’s about. Looking back, I’m very happy he convinced me to do it. Ever since that moment, I realized that stepping outside of your comfort zone is one of the best things you can do in life. It exposes you to a whole new world with new experiences and challenges that allow you to grow as a person. If I could give any advice to people, it would be to start getting out of your comfort zone every single day.
Was it hard to start a modeling career in this industry?
It’s definitely a difficult industry to break into. I was lucky to get a lot of help and people that believed in me early on which gave me a head start. It also wasn’t my primary focus in life, which I think is important as well. It shouldn’t be your only focus/career goal in life in my opinion.
What are the challenges that you have faced when you were starting your career?
My biggest challenge was my physique. I had (and I still do) an obsession with working out and looking my best. It’s therapeutic for me and it provides me with the energy to live a fast-paced life. However, this resulted in me being too big for the majority of fashion jobs. It’s not even that I’m excessively big, it’s just that they look for incredibly skinny people for those castings. My agents at the time recommended me to go easy in the gym and lose some size. This caused a dilemma: “Do I want to give up the muscle that I built for many years and worked so incredibly hard for, just to get more jobs?”. The answer was no. It wasn’t worth it for me and I’ve never done it. I decided to find my own way.
Could you share with us the struggles while you were starting?
My answer to the previous question, being too muscular, was definitely my biggest struggle. Besides that, it’s just about finding your way and learning the ropes. Nobody really teaches you or trains you to get ready for what you’re about to experience. It takes some time to learn the basics but once that is done it’s all about repeating the process.
What was the big break that put you higher in the spotlight?
Working in New York, moving to Los Angeles, and Instagram I would say. These 3 factors have accelerated my progress.
How do you view the modeling industry?
An industry with many challenges and complexities, but also with huge potential and great experiences.
In general, What is the most challenging and most fulfilling part of being a model?
It’s important to realize early on that you will not book most of the castings that you do. Just to prevent getting disappointed. You need to visit many different castings/auditions before you start booking jobs. It can get challenging to keep going to all these places all across the city knowing that you won’t book many of them. The most fulfilling part would definitely be the bookings, travel, lifestyle, the events and everybody likes attention.
What has been your favorite shoot/campaign to date?
I once did a shoot with rock climbing gear hanging from a big cliff in Malibu. The adrenaline just made that a great experience. The photographer put a harness around our waste and attached it to a hook that he placed into the rocks. Then I had to lean back over the cliff while he was taking photos. In post-production, he removed the harness with photoshop, which made it look like I was falling from the cliff. Very cool!
What’s your most memorable modeling moment?
That was probably the first time I did the LA fashion week. It was not necessarily my favorite fashion week. I actually like New York Fashion Week better. However, it was kind of my introduction to the industry. Everything was new to me. A first experience. I made great friends and had a really good time.
Put these factors in order of importance for becoming a successful model: The right looks, hard work, luck.
Difficult one. I’d say Luck, hard work, the right looks.
Others see modeling as an easy gateway to fame which won’t require the talent brains, but rather just good looks. What can you say about this misconception?
There are many different ways to acquire fame. Each requires a different approach and a different skillset. However, if it was that easy, everyone would do it.
Do you ever get shy in front of the camera?
Not anymore, but I certainly did when I just started!
Taking off your clothes in front of the camera seems pretty demanding. How do you prepare your psyche for that?
I was always very much into sports and fitness. Taking care of my body was a big priority. Therefore I never really had trouble taking my shirt off. On the contrary, I was happy to do it and show off my hard work. I guess that’s where the secret is, being comfortable with your body and accepting who you are.
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