Shelley Widhalm

Posts Tagged ‘modeling’

Defeating Shyness

In Modeling, Shelley Widhalm, Shyness on September 18, 2011 at 7:00 am

Modeling, reading my poetry on stage and blogging about being shy all have helped me overcome my shyness.

I think.

I have learned that one way to conquer shyness is to set aside fear and dive into the situation. I don’t like approaching a large group of people where I don’t know anyone.  But if I break up that group into smaller groups or individuals, especially those who I find interesting, then I can say “hello” and ask a question or two.

People really do like to talk about themselves.
If they brush you off, it’s probably more about them, than about you.

Another situation I found to be difficult is giving speeches.

In my college speech class, I memorized my speeches and thought I had to follow my note cards to the letter. If I looked an audience member in the eye, my fear instinct took over. What if I messed up and looked like an idiot?

But I now can read my poetry to an audience, because I, for one, am not being graded. And if those in the audience don’t like what I wrote, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that I’m rejected.

Rejected – that’s how I used to feel.

I was told throughout my life that I was beautiful (on the exterior), but I felt like an ugly duckling. I didn’t go for modeling when I was a teen, because I didn’t know that you could learn how to do something and then do it. Now, that I’m checking off one of goals, I figure that it really doesn’t matter if I get turned down for modeling jobs, I just want to do it for the experience.

I went online to research about shyness, as if I’m not already an expert on the subject. One blogger wrote that she is an inwardly directed person and prefers to process the world internally before speaking up. Another blogger stated that shyness doesn’t benefit anyone.

I get that.

I read that those who are shy are afraid of rejection, humiliation and being ignored. They are oversensitive and insecure.

And that those who are inclined toward shyness are often the most thoughtful.

I still have the fear of getting rejected, but I expect it to happen here and there. I don’t mind being humiliated because it happens. And as far as being ignored, I think I experience that a lot. I say things that bounce along unheard.

But who cares?

The sensitivity I likely won’t shed because without it I wouldn’t gather words and images and life to fling into heart-rearing sentences, as if I could get rid of insecurity with careful observation.

The Modeling-Writing Connection

In Artists, Modeling, Shelley Widhalm, Writing on September 11, 2011 at 7:00 am

I decided to accept the modeling contract but still need to do the paperwork. Why I’m delaying, I don’t know.

Maybe it’s fear. I don’t mind getting the rejections, but I do hate to waste time. I’m worried that I’ll go after the casting and modeling calls and not get accepted for anything, plus lose the time that I could have spent writing.

I’m trying to finish editing a novel, start my next novel and put together a collection of poetry.

I see my time after the work day as something I have to fill with a set number of tasks, plus have some fun, if there is, you know, time. If I don’t accomplish at least most of those tasks, I tell myself that I won’t get anywhere with my goals of writing and getting published. It’s a self-imposed conundrum born out of perfectionism.

I used to not be this way, well except for my grades.

I used to see myself as shy and introverted with a desire to go out, at least during my college years. If there was a party to go to, I wanted to be there. I wanted to stay up late, listening to loud music, talking to at least a few people and forgetting that I usually label myself as shy.

But after college, I started moving every couple of years, chasing my news career. I still wanted the fun factor, but making friends wasn’t always easy.

So I hung out alone – a lot.

As I became more extroverted as a reporter, and that quality seeped into my personal life, I became more introverted in another way. I started getting my satisfaction not from seeing how much fun could be had in one night but from inner stuff, including completing tasks, writing and working on my dream of becoming a novelist.

Now, I want to show off my exterior through modeling, but at the same time, I want to protect my interior comfort of being that starving, alone and needing-to-achieve artist.

Modeling Confidence

In Body image, Modeling, Shyness on September 4, 2011 at 7:00 am

This week, I found out I made the cut for modeling/acting, a fact I’m still trying to process.

After I picked up my mail in the post office, I opened the large white envelop from the American Mall Model Search (I was too impatient to wait until I got home) and flipped through the information packet, thinking, “Are you serious?”

I did not expect to make it – I’m out of the 20s decade. I want to lose 10 pounds. And I’m not 100 percent confident. I got an 8 for modeling out of 10 possible points, and a 7 for acting.

One of the comments under the modeling category was “confident.” I thought, wow, that’s quite a compliment considering that I’ve been carrying around my shyness label for most of my life.

But my confidence only goes so far. The packet includes a list of casting calls for movies – I don’t have any acting experience, so should I sign up with this company? What if I don’t know what I’m doing? The doubts start entering my mind. I want to be handed a contract, but I didn’t make the top cut. I have to work for it.

And then my overactive imagination took over. What if I get a part and experience a taste of Hollywood? That would give me something to write about. And what if I land a couple more parts and become famous and a regular part of “Us Weekly” and “People”? And what if my being famous made people want to read my yet-to-be-published novels?

I have another six weeks to decide.

Either way, I am glad I walked the runway and recited one of my poems before the judges. My friend who I saw that night (July 16) said that I looked amazingly happy. I was going after an old dream, that of being a model, not caring whether or not I made it. It was the doing that mattered.

Losing My Shyness Identity

In Shyness, Talking on August 14, 2011 at 7:00 am

I’m a bit disappointed that I keep hearing from my friends, real and virtual, that the word I’ve been using to describe myself may be inaccurate.

I thought I was shy. A wallflower. A misfit.

I considered my name Shelley to be perfect, because I hid out in a shell, insecure of what to do or say, afraid to take risks and scared of getting hurt.

I gave my Shyness Challenge one year, but it’s only been seven months of half-heartedly setting up challenges and following through on most of the time, such as going to a bar by myself, modeling in a fashion show and reading my poetry on stage.

One challenge that I have not carried out is to talk to the hottest guy in a bar, or along those lines, starting a conversation with a man who I think is interesting.

That’s because I’m afraid I’ll look like: 1. a dork, 2. desperate, or 3. boring.

Yep, I’ll have to get over that. So my challenge isn’t over.

As my friend, Tim Byrnes, said to me Tuesday evening over coffee, “Anyone who can address being shy in a public place, well, that isn’t shy.”

Oh, okay.

A writer friend of mine said she doesn’t see me as shy but as funny and vibrant. Another friend said I shouldn’t be labeling myself as shy.

Add the fact that I don’t even feel shy most of the time.

I go to work and interview lots of people, more worried that I will forget to ask a question and leave out an important fact than about the impression I’m making. I find that I engage in multiple conversations every day with coworkers, interviewees, friends and people I encounter as I work and play.

Someone who is shy is inhibited in talking with others, being in large groups and taking chances.

That’s not me.

A shy person is distrustful or wary.

That’s not me either.

Being shy is avoiding whatever is the cause of the anxious feelings.

I don’t do that either.

But I do avoid my cool New York City-style walkup like the plague. It may be the coolest apartment in town (in my opinion), but I want to get out and about and live and not stay home doing loner activities.

I like being around people and engaging with them. Call it postmodern shyness where the state of being shy is a slippery thing that, most of the time, is not associated with my identity.


Now what am I going to do?

Runway Walk

In Body image, Modeling, Runway, Shyness on July 17, 2011 at 5:36 pm

I am doing a model pose during the fashion shoot.

I found a new love, or as my mother put it, I got the bug: I love the runway, the stage, the bright lights and the call, “Ready? Go!”

On Saturday, I participated in the fashion show for the American Mall Model Search after making the first cut.

I tried out last Sunday at the Foothills Mall inFort Collinswith a runway walk and monologue, or short commercial skit. As I staggered down the runway in four-inch heels, I pretended to be on a balance beam and in a bad mood to emulate runway models. For the lines, I pretended the staging area was empty and I was in drama club.

I got these marks on my evaluation: weak delivery, too low of a voice volume, stiff body language and, get this, shy and timid. (They knew!!! And I had thought I was trying not to be shy.). There were some positive marks, too, like beautiful eyes and model figure (that’s thanks to my five-foot, 11-inch frame).

I made it to the second round (I find out in three weeks if I’m going to nationals or receive a contract). I had to do another runway walk (I researched just how to do a pivot turn, hold a stance and show attitude) and present a talent: I memorized one of my poems that compared the dance of leaves tapping across cement with a woman’s dance in the streets. I wrote “Leaves, Me,” in fall 2011.

For some reason, my confidence crashed.

I began (or really continued) thinking I was fat, ugly and a boyfriend-detractor.

By Saturday morning, I saw that I had a choice: continue beating myself up or be the one to lift up my mood and go for an old dream from my teenage years when friends and relatives told me I should be a model. I. Am. Too. Shy, I had thought then, letting it continue as my motto and serve as a roadblock to being Who I Am – poet, dancer, writer and dreamer.

I went for the mood lift and told myself to have fun. It’s just a tryout. It’s not a judgment of my worth. I acted out my poem, and I walked the runway to the announcer’s comment, “She’s sassy.”

I felt good. I felt free. I was being me, or that internal core that got dumped on by layers of hurt, insecurities, shyness and fear. I’m going to look into other modeling opportunities, along with places where I can recite my poetry. I had that glimpse that I love the stage, a place where shyness certainly does not belong.