UCF students share secrets of making it in modeling industry
Being a 'model' student has a whole different meaning for UCF Knights Hannah Morlan and Morgan LaRuffa.
Some students find part-time work in retail or as servers in restaurants, but Morlan and LaRuffa have found work putting their best pose forward.
Hannah Morlan, a junior education major, models for a Key Country boutique in Tampa, as well as for local Orlando photographers, and began her modeling career at age 12 as a way to follow in her mother's footsteps.
"Social media was the main factor in getting started with modeling," Morlan said. "I would take pictures on my own as a hobby, and eventually was contacted by different photographers through social media."
Although Morlan aspires to be a kindergarten teacher and then eventually a guidance counselor, she enjoys modeling as hobby while taking classes.
Another UCF student model, LaRuffa, who is also a junior, enjoys modeling as side job while she is working toward her nursing degree and sees it as a funny way to make money.
"I just researched agencies in the Orlando area with my dad and went with the ones we heard the best things about," LaRuffa said. "For the first year I also did a lot of volunteer modeling (no pay) for salons, stores, etc. because as a newbie, I wasn't getting as many bookings as a few years of experience gives you."
Ultimately, LaRuffa said, she wants to go into nursing after graduation, but modeling, she said, could always be a side career for her during that time.
Modeling, like everything else, does has cons along with the pros, LaRuffa and Morlan agreed.
"Sometimes it can really take you out of your comfort zone," Morlan said. "It takes thick skin to take criticism from photographers."
Even more so than criticism, LaRuffa said that rejection is the hardest part about being a model.
"The most difficult thing would have to be getting used to rejection," LaRuffa said. "You have to learn that it isn't always you personally, you just might not be what the client is specifically looking for."
As for the easiest part of modeling, LaRuffa said, it's about having fun and being yourself.
Personality, LaRuffa said, can make or break an appointment, and a good personality can make the shoot or modeling event even more enjoyable for all parties.
Among the eases and difficulties of modeling, both LaRuffa and Morlan have made memories as models.
"I did a photo-shoot with Jenya Kushnir at the St. Petersburg Dali Museum. That was definitely my all-time favorite," Morlan said. "The lighting and location [were] on point, and my photographer made it very fun for me and the other model. Modeling is like acting, and I got to transform into another character for a few hours."
While transformation was memorable for Morlan, for LaRuffa, it was seeing her name — and face — in lights.
LaRuffa cites her most memorable photoshoot as one she did for an International Hard Rock campaign.
"The shoot itself was very edgy and fun, but when I realized the images would be all over the world in Hard Rock stores, that was the most exciting part,"LaRuffa said. "I will never forget seeing a video of myself doing the shoot on Hard Rock's big screen in Times Square. It is still there to this day."