GlamModelz Magazine interviews Glam Model Nooshan Ashtari of Orlando, Florida. Nooshan, has a unique style that is all her own. With creative posing, beautiful features and expression, Nooshan is fast becoming a recognizable face within the Glamour Modeling Industry.
GlamModelz Magazine: What are your goals personally and with your modeling career? Nooshan: I love arts and creativity, and photography is an amazing combination of these two forces. My main profession is in an entirely different field and I am currently pursuing my PhD in Education and Linguistics related areas of study and have been working in that field for over 12 years ever since I was a teenager. But I find modeling and photography as such a wonderful environment to explore my more creative artsy side and work with great photographers who have a passion for their art and want to collaborate and create images that otherwise would have not existed in the world which I think is quite fascinating!
GlamModelz Magazine: When working on concepts for upcoming shoots, how much thought or effort do you put into it? Where does your inspiration come from? Nooshan: Oh sometimes there have been ideas that I have had for years in my mind and then I see a photographer’s work that would work perfectly with that concept and then we talk about it, share our ideas and then turn it into reality! One of these examples was a 7 Deadly Sins shoot that I worked with a stunning photographer on a few weeks ago with 7 completely different looks and after it was done I went back on my social media account and found a status I had posted about wanting to do a project along the lines of that concept 6 years ago in 2009! Also, sometimes photographers have great ideas that they put forward and then we discuss them and make them happen. On the other hand, there have been times that everything has been very last minute impromptu so there is always a mixture of situations which make the whole experience way more exciting and creatively satisfying.
GlamModelz Magazine: What gets you motivated everyday to stay in shape and look your best at all times? Nooshan: As much as I love sports, being fit and healthy, I don’t go above and beyond to look a certain way or always follow a certain routine without missing a single step. I love my body with all of its flaws and imperfections regardless of how it looks on a day-to-day basis or how others see it. I honestly don’t think the word “perfect” exists in reality and do not strive for such an abstract concept as perfection. As long as I am happy, healthy and I’m taking care of my body and the absolutely priceless gift of health and inner satisfaction, I am totally fine with the way I look on the outside. Especially when it comes to modeling people have so many different definitions of beauty that there is no way to please everyone. If there is one thing I have learned from modeling and photography it is that different people will have different opinions and it is not really about me personally. It is definitely natural for everyone to have their own taste and definition of beauty that might not necessarily apply to the way I look in a picture so I don’t strive to do the impossible and look flawless all the time. I actually love not looking my best at times and have my own down time; I think there is beauty, confidence and comfort in that as well. I feel perfectly comfortable in my skin and think everyone in all sizes and shapes should too.
GlamModelz Magazine: What excited you the most when you first started modeling? Nooshan: It is funny but I actually started modeling by accident. When I was about 18 I saw that a friend of mine had liked a photographer’s Facebook status that he needed models for a bridal makeup shoot in Tehran, Iran (where I am originally from) and back then I immediately thought of pulling a prank on my friends and posting the photos on my Facebook page and changing my relationship status to “Married” to see/laugh at their reactions!!! I messaged the photographer having that prank in mind and as the only purpose for doing that photoshoot but then once I was in front of the camera I felt really comfortable and creative with poses, gestures, and facial expressions that it felt so right and natural to me even though I never did and still don’t consider myself a “model” per se. So after that photoshoot a few other photographers reached out to me and we started working together more and more. I have moved to different cities and even countries since that first experience but everywhere I go I try to find photography/modeling groups because they are for the most part extremely kind and it’s just such a great community to be in and explore different ways to express ourselves and nurture our creativity that we might not get a chance to do in our real daily lives as often.
GlamModelz Magazine: Do you feel that flexibility and diversity are important to a model’s portfolio? Nooshan: Absolutely! I believe flexibility and diversity are the foundations of a model, a photographer or an artist’s body of work. More than anything I view modeling and photography as an art form and consequently art in general is based on exploring, developing, learning, and growing. Without flexibility and diversity all kinds of Art would be the same and therefore would lose their uniqueness and significance.
GlamModelz Magazine: If you had one thing to tell a model just entering the industry what would that be? Nooshan:
I would say do not let others define you and who you are as a model. That does not mean that you shouldn’t learn from others and grow as a model or as a person in general because working with many different photographers myself, I have seen firsthand how each photographer’s individuality and sense of creation has added and continues to add to my experiences, talent, and knowledge. But the truth of the matter is that modeling is at times a very skin-deep industry and it can be very easy, specifically for those entering this industry at a young age, to get emotionally hurt and overwhelmed by the way others may comment on one’s photos or appearance because you basically are putting yourself out there for people to see which can be really intimidating at times. But like I said before there are as many different tastes and definitions of beauty as there are people on this planet so not letting negative comments that are not based on constructive criticism get to you in the key to surviving and thriving in the world of modeling.
GlamModelz Magazine: Nooshan, due to the current state of the economy in the U.S. have you noticed any major changes in the industry within your geographical area? Nooshan: I didn’t actually move to the US until about 4 years ago when I moved to Los Angeles, California to get my Master’s degree and then to Orlando, Florida to pursue my Doctoral degree so I can’t really comment on the role of the economy in the U.S. and its impact on the modeling industry extensively. But one thing that I have noticed is that there are a lot of scams and business ventures who are in fact banking on the fact that there are many individuals, male or female, who have dreams of becoming professional models/actors/entertainers and so forth. They charge the applicants huge amounts of money in the name of enrolling them in modeling or acting classes which for the most part end up not leading them to the point they wanted. So I think the business, money-making aspect of the modeling industry has taken a twist throughout the years that novice models need to be very careful about.
GlamModelz Magazine: The Modeling reality TV shows have created quite an interest in modeling these days. Can you offer any advice for those interested in getting their big break? Any Tips for models wishing to do it sooner rather than later? Nooshan: This is a great bridge to what I was saying for the last question. When I first got to the U.S., I did try to pursue modeling professionally through modeling agencies. I did not spend too much time on it though because as I said before my main profession is in another field and I always thought of modeling as a hobby and creative outlet for myself. What I realized though after going through a couple of auditions and casting calls was that not all of these agencies are very honest about their intentions and the financial aspect takes priority over all the other portions for them. My tip for models would be to do their research thoroughly before going to agencies and casting calls and to know exactly what they want to take out of the experience. Are they looking to build an entire career out of modeling? Do they want to be runway, fashion, catalog, editorial, or print models? Do they meet all the requirements of the type of modeling they are going for? And most importantly how far are they willing to go to make it work according to the vision they have in their mind? I personally think that like any other major or minor life choice it is very important for models to know exactly what they want and how they can get to the place they want in reality without letting all the extra spotlight and the sparkles of those modeling reality TV or other kinds of alluring ads get to them because some of them can be really deceitful and lead to disappointments.
Another piece of advice that I’d like to bring up is what I had to struggle with in my own journey. Personally I have never been good at taking no for an answer and always took everything personally. To be completely honest with you I did use modeling as a platform for myself to overcome the fear of rejection that I have had ever since I remember. I started training myself by reaching out to photographers or agencies and presenting my work to them and naturally there were some who loved my work and some who did not, so for me being able to hear NOs in addition to Yes’s without taking it personally was something that I had to work on and I highly recommend other models to do the same and face their fears and not take everything personally. Sometimes it is just a matter of taste or not being the exact fit for the job or vision and there is seriously nothing wrong with that. There will be other projects, agencies, MUAs and photographers who are looking for exactly what you have so there is no reason to be extremely self-conscious when it comes to rejection, it is not necessarily just about you!
GlamModelz Magazine: Nooshan, your on-line portfolio is quite stunning and exhibits innovative styling; every single photograph is a work of art. Do you plan the shots that you are adding to your portfolio or just shoot what ever you’re feeling at the time? Nooshan: Thank you so much, that’s very nice of you to say. It is in fact a combination of some shoots that have been organized and thought-out during a span of time and some that have been very spontaneous. I like experimenting with different styles and ideas and to me a bad photo is not necessarily a bad outcome because even if we tried one style and it didn’t come out well then next time we know what pose or style is not flattering to me, my body type, or facial expressions etc. So as long as it is something that the photographer, MUA or stylist and I have discussed and agreed upon I think we have worked toward a shared goal which is valuable regardless of the results.
GlamModelz Magazine: When reviewing photographer’s online portfolios, what grabs your attention? What type of images gets you in the mood to shoot with them? Nooshan: I love to see a photographer’s individuality in the photos they capture. Similar to any other types of Art photography needs to have that touch of uniqueness and the desire to narrate a story the way a person sees it from their very own perspective. I also have a very wide spectrum of interests in regards to what I find beautiful or creative so it is important to me to see variety and versatility in a photographer’s work as well.
GlamModelz Magazine: Have you had the support of family, friends and significant other in regards to your decisions for your modeling career to date? How do you handle negative feelings from those intimidated with your success? Nooshan: One hundred percent! I grew up with my father’s avid love of photography and I distinctly remember having our own little darkroom in our house where my father would develop his pictures that he had taken with his analog camera of us, landscapes, or anything else that would capture his attention. My mother was and still is an extremely beautiful woman who took part in Persian beauty pageants herself so she has always been a strong supporter of me pursuing anything that I love whether it is in the academia, career plans, adventures, Arts, modeling you name it. My father unfortunately passed away tragically a few years ago but his love of photography, learning, and creating has been engraved in me forever. Every time I do a new photoshoot I send my mother, sisters and brother the photos and they are all always super supportive of what I do.
About the comments that I get on Social Media, magazine spreads or any other outlets, I always read/hear them carefully and then think about the ones that have been logical, professional, and constructive and then try my best to make the changes or improve my work for the next photoshoot accordingly. However, the ones that are merely opinions and at times ignorant I don’t really pay attention to because who knows where they are stemming from and I am fully aware of the destructive aspects of judging other people or throwing in negative feelings/comments for no reason that has been very common recently in the world so I don’t waste my time and efforts for those that are not really based on my or the photographers’ work.
GlamModelz Magazine: Facial expressions and body langue are sometimes the hardest part of a successful photo session, how and where did you learn this and do you have any special routines or rituals you go through when you are preparing for a photoshoot? Nooshan: Some of the facial expressions and body language came to me naturally but for the most part I had to learn them through trial and error as well as the expertise of photographers and other models. Depending on the concept that we are working on there can be a variety of facial expressions or poses that could work well or not work at all for the photoshoot. What I always do is that before the session I search for the photos using the particular theme we want to shoot and take mental notes of what the best models in that theme have done and what I can learn from them and what I can bring to the table. I save some of the best pictures and think about the ideas that I want to bring to the photo session and we take it from there with the guidance of the photographer, other models if there are any at the shoot as well as spontaneous ideas that come to us on the spot when we are shooting.
GlamModelz Magazine: Do you have any hobbies or special interests that you feel contribute to your success in modeling and why do you feel they are a contributing to achieve your goals? Nooshan: Goodness, I have so many hobbies and interests I can’t even count them! I have always been overly curious about everything and I always wanted to learn more and more about every single thing that exists in the world ever since I was a child which is a trait I think I took after both of my parents. I feel like anything that you learn in your lifetime comes in handy in a hundred different ways in other aspects of life and they are all intertwined. For instance, I have always been fascinated by Sports and exercising; I started Martial Arts (particularly Taekwondo) when I was still in primary school which was then followed by a variety of other kinds of Sports such as gymnastics, swimming, racquetball, kickboxing, boxing, rock climbing etc. I feel like the movements and skills that I learned in each of those areas have aided me with my movements for photos. I have also been very interested in languages, different types of arts, traveling and learning about different cultures and parts of the world that I believe have all helped to shape me into the person I am today and things that I currently do.
GlamModelz Magazine: Posing is, of course, one of the biggest parts of modeling. What inspires you in the unique graceful poses you seem to be pulling off? What advice would you offer new models to the industry? Nooshan: I agree that posing is very important in modeling. My biggest advice would be to try to keep it as natural as possible in photos. I have made the same mistake myself so I don’t blame any models who do it either, because forced poses definitely show in photos and a professional model should definitely avoid those. But generally I do believe in experimenting and testing out different poses according to the theme of the shoot because otherwise the same poses will be repeated for each photoshoot that do not add anything to the model’s portfolio and take away the growth, creativity and learning part of the process. So I would suggest trying out different poses with an awareness of what works well for the particular concept and the model’s knowledge of what works best with their style is essential for taking good photos.
GlamModelz Magazine: Do you promote any special charitable organizations or community services that you would like to share with our readers? How do you feel community service benefits your modeling career? Nooshan: I deeply believe in the power of giving and helping those in need. In Persian (or Farsi, my native language) we have a saying that would be roughly translated to “if you give with one hand, you will receive with the other”. None of us can be 100% certain that we won’t be the ones in need during our lifetimes and regardless of the circumstances we should give a helping hand to others whenever we can. I strongly support any organizations that work towards that purpose but the wellness of children and younger generations has always been very close to my heart and soul. I truly think that taking care of our younger generations will result in having better more mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy adults in the future who will help in building a better more peaceful united future for humanity. UNICEF Children First is a great organization that helps children worldwide (you can find more information about them here: https://www.unicefusa.org). Moreover, in my native country there is a society that helps children with cancer that any donation to them will help in conducting more research on curing cancer and more specifically helping children who are suffering from cancer ( learn more about them and consider donating to them here http://www.mahak-charity.org/ ). I am also a firm believer and supporter of women’s rights and social, economic, and political equality of men and women. HeForShe Campaign ( http://www.unwomen-usnc.org/ ) and My Stealthy Freedom (http://mystealthyfreedom.net/en/ ) are among tens of other organizations that I support.
I definitely believe that community service and being active in charitable organizations is beneficial in any career and if I ever have a more prominent platform in modeling or any other career path I would love to use that to promote awareness in such endeavors to construct a better life in all aspects whether for human beings, animals, or environmental issues.
GlamModelz Magazine: Have you met any local designers at fashion shows that you would like to share with our readers? Nooshan: I love all sorts of fashion and have had the opportunity to work with wonderful designers locally. If I had to name one I would share about one designer who uses Persian calligraphy in clothing and accessories that I admire immensely. The company’s name is NIMANY and you can see more of their work at http://www.nimany.com/ .