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Cheers 2017, Hello 2018.

Exactly 1 year ago Brendan and I booked a one-way ticket to New York City. We didn’t have a plan, we just knew that we wanted a change. I’ve dreamt of modeling in NYC since I was a little girl, but after the pageant I chose to put my dreams on hold, finish my last year of college, and start a big girl job. Although my career was going well, I felt like I needed to experience a big city while I was young. Bren and I talked about it briefly, and with the overwhelming support of our families we decided to go for it. All we knew for sure is that we had a place to stay, so we packed our bags and arrived in Brooklyn on December 30th 2016.

I remember waking up on January 1st thinking what the heck did I just do. I lost my puppy of 16 years the day I moved (RIP Corky) and all I wanted to do was grieve with my mom and sister. Instead, I was on the opposite side of the country freezing my butt off with no clue what I was going to do. Thankfully, I had Bren and we were able to support each other on this crazy journey, he’s been my rock. It took me a few months to get adjusted, because NYC is unlike anywhere I’ve ever lived. I was having a tough time securing meetings with agencies, and the job market was so unbelievably competitive. Did I mention I was freezing? This AZ girl wasn’t prepared for a real winter.

Here’s a few things I learned right off the bat:

  • Dress for warmth, not for style. Therefore a cute leather jacket is NOT going to cut it.
  • I’m directionally challenged…but I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten much better this year.
  • The subway is hands down the easiest way to travel even though it’s not glamorous at all.
  • When you see subway rats, try not to scream. You’ll get used to it after a while.
  • Be alert and always walk with confidence and a little pepper spray in your purse.
  • Food delivery becomes your best friend in the winter.
  • You get great exercise daily because you walk everywhere.
  • There’s always something to do and something new to try.
  • The restaurants are out of this world.
  • Having a washer and dryer in your apartment is a luxury.
  • Happy Hour is still overpriced.
  • I have the most determined, supportive, positive & amazing boyfriend I could ever hope for.

 

We did our best to make the most out of our time in NY because we weren’t sure how long we were going to stay. We went to broadway shows, had fabulous date nights, and lived it up in our new city. But something we learned very fast was the importance of budgeting when living in an expensive place with out a steady income. It took about 6 months of busting our butts until things finally fell into place. I signed with Wilhelmina NYC and LA the first week of June, the same day Bren accepted a full-time job. We continued to hustle and save up as much as we could so that in August we could move into our own gorgeous apartment. We now have a 2-story gym, coffee shop, grocery store, golf simulator & bowling alley, movie theater, and a giant patio. Oh and my favorite part, we have a washer and dryer in our apartment WOOOOO! Bren only has to walk a block to work and I’m one quick subway ride from everything. Each morning I wake up feeling incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to live where we do. I feel so damn proud of us for taking a risk and going on this journey together.
There’s been moments I feel lost and overwhelmed, but far more times I’ve been on a natural high because of the little victories throughout the weeks. I’ve met some of the most talented, hardworking, inspiring, and badass people who’ve now become dear friends.

I’ve also learned:

  • The modeling industry is nothing like it appears to be.
  • The importance of having a positive support system.
  • Never be afraid to stand up for yourself.
  • Not everyone thinks like you do, and that’s okay.
  • Random acts of kindness go a long way.
  • How vital it is to take care of your health & protect your energy.
  • I’m extremely blessed and I will never take it for granted.
  • The energy in the city is contagious.
  • Stepping outside your comfort zone always pays off.
  • There’s opportunities and possibilities everywhere.
  • NYC is the city where dreams come true.

 

I wouldn’t change a single thing about 2017 because every experience has helped me grow so much as a woman. With that said, I’ve decided to turn my passion into a business. In 2018 I will be launching a Female Empowerment Company aimed to show the reality behind the advertising and modeling industry in hopes to inspire and empower the everyday woman. Stay tuned for more details :)

Cheers to 2018!

XO

JWESS

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