Cover girl Celina Lorenz has been a working model for many years. How many you ask? Well, according to Celina it’s neither polite nor professional to ask a question like that so I didn’t. Celina’s extensive resume of opportunities have derived from having a strong work ethic and following a few basic rules. She has an indisputable passion for representing full figured women and shares a lot of insightful information.
Suzette: Celina, I was looking over your Model Mayhem online portfolio and your body is “to die for” in the photo where you are wearing a sleeveless beige v neck dress; the caption says “East Hampton”.
Celina: Thank you! That dress is actually mine, its Donna Karan. She designs beautifully for “grown” women. She has a market and she has longevity, and with anything, if you have longevity in any industry, there is usually success attached to it.
Suzette: This is how interviews evolve organically for me; you just wrote something that I can say about YOU. When I read your bio online to prepare for the interview it seems that longevity in this industry is exactly what you’ve had!
Celina: Ha Ha! You are making me blush! Yes, I have had longevity. Modeling has been my only career since college!
Suzette: How have you managed to go from one blessed opportunity to another? Do you have a great manager, agent, or public relations person that builds up hype? (I’m joking about the last one)
Celina: Seriously Suzi, I have no idea. I think sometimes things are just meant to be. I know that sounds really contrived but I’ve always been a very hard worker and a go-getter. I think what also sustained my longevity and success in this industry (this is true with ANY line of work) is PROFESSIONALISM. I’ve been able to work and thrive in the NY market, and honestly, I think it’s because I am professional. Modeling is my JOB. I take it seriously, and it’s how I live, so I have to be on top of my game. I also really like working. My parents instilled a great work ethic in me, and I had a job ever since I was 14, so I’m used to working and I’m driven. But, I also understand my limitations. That is an important part of being a model. It’s been said before, so I’m not saying anything profound here, but one really must comprehend what one’s “niche” is.
Suzette: Describe professionalism to you; what does that entail?
Celina: GREAT question!!! There are two parts to this answer.
Part 1: So, when I first started modeling in Chicago (with Elite) I was really new and very “green”. As my booker sat me down, she gave me the best advice that I always remembered and ascribed to. Just three simple rules for any model starting out:
1) When you go on a job, always hang your clothes up after you wear them so the stylist doesn’t have to do it.
2) NEVER ask another model how old she is!
3) Don’t ever ask another model who her clients are.
Seriously, that was the best advice to me. I remembered that, and that was a great start, just to know those things as a beginner.
Part 2: Professionalism to me means being polite. I’ve always thought that displaying good manners will take you anywhere. Personally as well as professionally, I’ve always relied on using good manners, as essentially, good manners puts people at ease. When I was feeling a little intimidated, scared or unsure as a new model, I found that being professional went hand in hand with being polite.
Also, having a nice clean manicure and pedicure goes without saying, and bringing your own makeup bag is a must. This is not to readjust what the makeup artist has applied, but you never know what will happen, and God forbid the makeup artist doesn’t show up, etc.
Another thing that goes hand-in-hand with professionalism is to understand that this is a job. I think it is very important to understand that the crew, photographer, and other models are there to do a job and it is important to remember that. No big diva antics, etc. At a certain point, there is a maturation that occurs and you go from being excited to have a booking, to understanding that this is peoples’ livelihood (and quite possibly your own) and getting the shot, giving the client what they need and doing your very best is what is the most important. You know, there is always that one girl that everyone remembers who wasn’t professional, and I never wanted to be her! No one specific, but I’ve understood that the industry is a small one and one’s reputation is key to one’s success…Unless you are Naomi!
Seriously, it’s been really great to be a part of this industry. It was pretty unexpected, but looking back, I’m so glad that I took the opportunity.
Suzette: Let’s look back together for a moment; how did you get started? Was it your idea, or were you “discovered”?
Celina: Honestly, my career unfolding the way it did, so smoothly, really was like it was meant to happen for a bigger “purpose” so to speak. I took some time off after going to college, as I was feeling a bit uninspired. I wanted to get out of the college town and most certainly be around different types of people and cultures. I wanted to go to where the action was….THE BIG APPLE! My grandmother, who is an actor, was signed with an agency on the west coast and they had a plus division. She mentioned I try modeling, so I tested with a photographer in Seattle, then I traveled with those shots to the Midwest. I stayed with my friend there and sent the pictures to agencies in Chicago. After about a year working in Chicago, (I LOVE that city!) gaining experience, and learning the “ropes” I was asked to come to NY.
Sometimes, opportunity knocks only once and Suzi, you better believe I took the opportunity! At that time, I had such wanderlust and such a deep desire to go to New York and literally be in the center of the western hemisphere! Looking back now, modeling just happened to be the means that got me here. I am very fortunate to have had the life that I have had here. It’s been truly amazing, and I’m not just saying that!
Suzette: Your response is so sincere and authentic; I can visualize the wide eyed look on your face and the drive for success clicking in seconds afterwards.
Celina: That’s was how it was. There was a sense of urgency on my part because it’s true and not just a saying, “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere!!!”
Suzette: Speaking of making it anywhere, what was your first transition from modeling to hosting like? How did opportunity knock and what was the project that unlocked this new door?
Celina: I worked a satellite media tour. Anyone that has done them knows the call time is brutal, like 3 AM or something close to it.
Suzette: What is a satellite media tour?
Celina: Sorry, a satellite media tour is when local news channels “beam” or “cut to” a person or persons in a studio. In the course of maybe seven hours from 5 AM to noon, you are broadcast on live segments all over the country on the local stations. You do this process over and over again, like 30 times. It’s all about product placement, etc. The host will talk via satellite to the news casters and show the model wearing a lovely new holiday dress or something like that. The producer of this one particular tour and I “clicked” and she told me that I should get into television. (I had expressed to her my interest). She asked if I’d like to be the host for my own tour and offered me the opportunity to do a hosting tour myself. It is a lot harder than it looks, is all I can say!
Suzette: Did you meet anyone along your path that inspired you?
Celina: Yes, plus model Emme. At a certain point, she hosted a show on the E! Network called Fashion Emergency. It was wonderful to see her embraced by the television community; to have a woman representing an entire demographic, that for the most part is often left out on TV; and she looked HOT too! Anyway, my very first modeling job ever was working alongside Emme on the Oprah Winfrey show. No big deal, just a world wide audience, nothing to be nervous about!
Suzette: What did Emme teach you? I’m sure she must have seen herself in you and shared something.
Celina: I was shy and also on my first job, so I was a bit nervous, but what I do remember and what I really appreciated was her warmth and her encouragement. She told me how many great things were happening in the industry as far as plus modeling is concerned. Looking back, I see that she was not only talking about the work available to plus models, but the message it sends to all women, plus sized or not. Again, it’s about accepting who you are and being healthy and beautiful and happy from your soul, not just externally. Emme was so cool and confident. She is a beautiful woman, but her confidence is insane! It wasn’t arrogance, but warm confidence and I got the feeling that she really did want to connect on a personal level.
And on that note, over the years I have learned about confidence. If a young lady walks tall, makes eye contact, gives firm handshakes and is most importantly, happy on the inside, the confidence will shine through. A woman does not need to be “perfect” to be confident.
I’m thinking I may have exhausted you. I’ll lighten things up a bit… my favorite color is yellow!
Suzette: HA HA! Funny! Speaking of lightening things up, your bio also speaks about working with comedians Dave Chappelle and Paul Mooney. How did you get involved in those projects?
Celina: It really was through networking. I told a few friends that I was getting more and more into TV work and apparently someone knew someone who knew Dave Chapelle who was looking for a “blonde bombshell” type for a skit for the second season. I had no idea who Paul Mooney was at that time, but once I researched him, I was impressed by his resume. I was asked to audition for Paul, as the skit was non-scripted and we had to have “chemistry”. Things worked out, and within a week I was at the Chapelle Show studio with them filming. Both were nice and off camera both were very different from what I knew of them. Paul especially was alot more gentile than what I had read about him. The whole thing was fun and I moved on filming a few other spots for Comedy Central.
Suzette: Celina, you have a beautiful body and you’re blessed with height. You are such an outspoken advocate for the Plus Size community and some would say you have all the advantages in your favor. This industry continues to show plus sized women as tall, with curves. What can you say to our fuller figured women that are trying to get into modeling at 5’10 or shorter and a size 16-24?
Celina: There are PLENTY of opportunities for these women! There are certainly clients who book the fuller sizes, as well as a fit industry where that size is in high demand, as I think its 60% of American women are size 14 or above. In just doing the math, the fit industry alone is jamming. Also, there are really great websites and designers who feature models who don’t fit the standard, “sample sizes” for runway work, etc. So, there are options. Yet, with any line of work there are requirements that need to be met, but certainly plus sized models aren’t limited up to size 14. To maximize your success, it is important to understand your “market” and where you will best fit in within the industry. But, remember, as Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither is a thriving modeling career!
Suzette: How have you managed to remain so down to earth in an industry where so many models can be downright snobbish?
Celina: Well, first, thank you for the compliment! I’m very thankful. I have an understanding that there are many women that would love to have my job, and if I start acting unprofessionally and rudely, someone would gladly take my place. And more importantly, I truly believe that snobbishness, rudeness, cattiness and all of the above are really very clear indications of insecurity. In my experience, it seems like the girls who are professional are very easy to work with and friendly.
Suzette: I want to thank you for giving our readers such informative responses. I think we’ve all gained an abundance of advice from you.
Celina: Well, you have given me an opportunity to say how I feel. I think if there is one young woman who reads this, and she comes away thinking, “I’m going to be the best I can be for me, because I love myself” then I am happy. Our culture (sadly, in my opinion) knocks women down in order for them to “buy” themselves back up.
Suzette: Is there anything else you’d like to tell our Plus Model readers?
Celina: To me, the plus industry isn’t about “bigger is better”, it’s about accepting who you are and being the best you can be within the parameters YOU set for yourself, not the media or this culture that picks apart women’s bodies so visciously. We certainly don’t see this type of pressure on men. To me, the plus size modeling industry encourages ALL women, not just full figured women to love, nurture and accept themselves just as they are. No matter WHAT size a woman is, THAT message is an important one. We, plus models, are symbolic of that; of women liberating themselves from the media that tells them they are not good enough or not thin enough or have too small a bust, or whatever it may be, in order to sell a product. It’s all the same message: “Buy THIS and you will be better”. I’m a huge supporter of we women being the best we can be, and not holding ourselves up to others’ standards but OUR OWN. But make no mistake about it, hold HIGH STANDARDS FOR YOURSELF!!!!