Early June 2018
This week i decided to take action with some decisions that I’ve had stuck in neutral gear since turning 50 last summer. One thing I’ve learned over the years, when something is draining you, it’s time to make a change. For me, its time to retire my “recreational career” of modeling.
I took up modeling & working photo shoots for money, being published, or working free on spec mostly after my divorce in 2010. I had done a touch of modeling prior to 2003. (In college, or a brief stint & in the early 2000’s). When i was married in ‘04, I was a wife, a stepmom to 4 kids (only 1 lived at home), & flew a full time schedule as a flight attendant for a major carrier. I had my entire family in the gym then, too. There was no time for anything else. That was a fun time of my life, & when it wasn’t working with my marriage, my ex husband said, “you were the funnest & funniest of my 3 exwives”, when I was walking out the door. (This may seem too personal to share, but most things, including this, were common knowledge with Joe). To this day, I laugh about that statement.
In my modeling endeavors after 2010, the goal was to be published. I wasn’t tall enough for fashion, so I focused on fitness & running. I know how to workout & i know how to run.
Prior to getting married in ‘04, I made it to Los Angeles to shoot on spec with Medby photography for a ’03 cover of Runner’s World Magazine. Somehow, Vicki DaSilva (a photo editor at the time) was able to talk Mike into shooting me for free. I was simply amazed & it was a fabulous gift. It was the best news I could have had that year, as it was after the 9-11 Trade Center attacks & I was unsure if I’d even have a job as a flight attendant, much less a job at all. (Also, I had to buy tickets on another carrier, as any use of flight passes for work in other areas would get me fired).
Working with Mike Medby was like driving a Ferrari in high gear. He showed up ready to work on a Sunday, brought a ladder and knew all the best locations. He shot on high digital resolution and had light meters and all I had to do was know how to run. Photography has change lots since then. He even told me if the clouds didn’t clear, I wouldn’t get used, as the magazine typically only used sunny shots (luck with the weather was on my side that day and I learned sooooo much goes into getting a perfect look). Mike owns the rights to all of the photos from back then.
I loved hearing about Mike’s work with Soledad O”Brien, and Will Ferrell, and a few other actors and athletes he had shot for the magazine back then. Both Soledad & Will had been on RW covers that year. I loved hearing about Mike’s wife and kids, too. He had stepdad that he surfed with, his mom was nearby, and a sister that lived in TX. To even get to LA shoot was insane! I was a complete novice, & it was just off the chain. How did I do this? I sent my pictures in to the magazine on request (as any reader could) and offered to change my name to Rodale (as a joke) if they thought it would help. One of the editors though this was funny, & even said she wanted to meet me someday. I missed the goal of getting a cover with my foot strike and gait being imperfect. (My best advice, have a coach take a look at your form prior a fitness shoot. Editor’s are looking for perfection. I had no idea my form was off).
I still became friends with many of the editor’s at the magazine, and would later meet Vicki and her husband at an art event in New York City, sometime in 2012. Years later, I’d meet George Hirsch, who had essentially published the magazine world wide.
I also became friends with legacy editors Amby Burfoot, Hal Higdon & Bart Yasso. Through attending conferences, I really learned so much. It was the best way to meet writers. After meeting George Hirsch, I understood the backbone of the magazine. His passion of the sport is understood by any runner, recreational or competitive, and no one is a stranger to George. I met George at the first ever Onward Shay marathon event in Boise. At the first race, Frank Shorter & Joan Benoit Samuelson both showed. They were both Olympic gold medalists and insanely talented runners.
Throughout the next few years, I’d do about 4 more shoots. I’ve worked with David Clifford, Sarah Lyons, James Patrick, Jim Schofield, and the late Paul Figura. David & Paul both did 1 shoot free on spec, (an amazing gift and unexpected & just so nice).
It was not until 2015 that I would be published with Oxygen Magazine Australia. It was an amazing gift i was sooo grateful and it was an honor and a priviledge. It was a blast how it happened. I was in my 40’s, had been unsuccessful in getting an agent, as I was told, “you are too old for fitness”. ( I was number one in sales in college, so I usually didn’t take no for an answer right off the bat). I was challenged with how to go about it.
I hit the library and spent a day looking at outfits worn in all magazines (the 4 ir 5 publications I’d submit to), who the photographers were in each, and the rest would just have to be luck and being at the right place at the right time. (If it didn’t happen, I was prepared for a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” , as I had heard a gazillion of times before).
If I can stress to anyone reading this, rejection notices go out more than yesses & you have to be the “fastest dog at the track”, hoping the other dogs aren’t feeling well the day you decide to race for the finish. You just have to have luck on your side in some respects to what editors are looking for at the time. Years later, the same agent telling me I was too old for fitness would call me for an infomercial audition in fitness (after I was published). My view on that was that they needed an older fit girl to pitch the idea. The commercial went to a redhead from what I understood. When I heard from the agency, they didn’t have anyone else, i wasn’t even signed with them, & i was almost 7 years older than being “too old”. They found me on LinkedIn. Ironically, i would get an agent at 50, the best in Florida, Foley Talent. I’m sorry the timing didn’t work better for agency work in 2010. It’s my belief I was too inflexible about changing my look to get an agent when I was in my 30’s or 40’s. I’m unsure I’ll ever return to the industry.
To move forward with being published, I got advice too, from one of my best friends in the fitness industry, Kim Dolan Leto. She suggested to me I get rolling with a website and hooked up to social feeds. I got help from JB Bermudez (Light Switch Labs out of Rochester, NY) for the website help. He would get me hooked up to social media, too. I hated everything about fooling with all of this. Nothing about my goal was easy, nothing. Technically saavy most of the time, the social media mess tested every ounce of my patience. I did research on outfits to wear, & wrote a few articles to submit with photos. I was published in a two page spread in 2015. The website wasn’t free, & currently the domain will run till 2020. There are several worldwide Beth Adair’s, even more Elizabeth Adair’s, but only one bethadair.com. It was what helped in the publish. I will keep it to use for my writing goals later, I’m unsure about that, but will worry over it in 2020. I still like to write.
With social media, the formula I was taught for self promo (by Sysomos out in CA). I had an acquaintance with the company, Mark Young, who used to be a senior manager and he forwarded me an article. (Mark ia now running his own marketing company in WA). The formula was daily posts of the following: 1 Facebook posting, 8 Tweets a day & 1 Instagram posting. All of this in conjunction with regular writing & constant working on algorithms (that I’m sick of worrying over) are sure to help you get published. I managed all my feeds myself. A daily task that interfered in my relationships with family, friends & any guy I dated. I was never opposed to shutting it down, but only on my terms & my timing, not theirs. My family used to get so annoyed I’d be writing articles when in SC visiting them. (The same family that instilled the stellar work ethic, & no need for “slackass” anywhere at work). I sometimes would roll my eyes when my Dad would complain i should take a writing break. He was the one that always stressed being thorough & not to do anything “halfass”. I’m grateful for my upbringing.
Anyone that knows me will tell you I love to laugh. If I’m not laughing, it’s just not worth it. I stay away from drama everywhere, 24/7, Three sixty-five. The only thing in this world I have 100% control over is myself. Anything I’ve set out to do, I’ve done. Three NYC marathons before 40? Done. Condo in Ponte Vedra Beach? Done. (This goal I set when I was 18. I had my first one there in ‘01, & again in ‘10). Porsche at aged 50? Done. You get the gist. It’s time now to focus on more important things. I’m taking modeling out of my equation, unplugging Twitter and Instagram & spending more time with family & friends. I’ll keep Facebook , to stay connected, but will axe most all brand connections that I haven’t met in person. I needed the highest following counts I could get when I was promoting my brand, and got all of them pretty high before retiring. I was hacked twice, and I won’t miss that, or indifferent questions from strangers.
I plan to read up on NFL & SEC football, travel solo to foreign countries & will be completing more of the bucket list by going 120+ KPH down the autobahn in Germany before the year is out. (Not sure if I’ll do this on a work layover or vacation, but I’ve already picked up 2 Frankfurt trips to research it).
I’ll still keep fitness in my life, will lose 5 lbs., & maybe learn to surf. Staying in shape will be a goal. I can’t wait for football season to return. It’s almost here! I love my beer & I love my nachos, so the key will be finding balance. I have no plans to exceed a size 2.
I hope all of you get your goals accomplished and keep the laughs rolling! Work hard & laugh harder, and if you don’t want to work, by all means keep laughing! If you aren’t happy, pinpoint where the issues are, maybe even get a counselor ir life coach to help you, and press ahead. It took a solo trip to Ireland last week to get the momentum rolling for me to reprioritize my life. I’m happy with my decision:-)