Interview: Ashley Taddei, Model in LA & CDMX

Ashley Taddei is a model originally from Los Angeles, California. He has lived in CDMX for the last few years and this was where we met 3 years ago at my first casting. Sitting in the waiting area Ashley was the nicest person in the entire room, I was a little confused because I didn't really know what to do and Ashley came over to help me. Since that day we have been great friends, she ended up giving me ride to my house because in the end we found out that we were neighbors. Ashley is a very creative person and in addition to modeling, she has a fascination with fashion and music.

I will ask her a series of questions regarding her modeling/fashion/music career so that you can get to know her a little.

How did you start in the world of modeling?

I became interested in the world of modeling from a very young age, because I was in a store called Mervyn's and a scout found me and told me that I would like to sign a contract with their agency. I lived in the suburbs 30 minutes from Downtown LA and my Mother didn't want to take me because she didn't want me to miss school. Since then I always thought, I want to be a model! I want to be a model! Scouts found me twice. The second time was in a shopping center and my mother never wanted to take me to the agencies to sign the contracts. Then I started working as a stylist and every time I went to work on a photo shoot, they thought I was the model. When the photographer did the tests to test the lights, they did the tests with me and that's how I started to build my book why it happened to me in almost every session where I worked as a stylist.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start modeling?

My advice would be to tell people who want to start in this area is to not give up. I would tell them to send their photos to many agencies even if they say no, it's okay because it will give you experience. Take good digitals. Don't give up, be confident and believe in yourself.

What has been your favorite job?

The job I have enjoyed the most was one that wasn't even paid. It was an editorial with one of my friends who is a photographer, his name is Oscar Garcia, he is very talented. It was Oscar, Akihiros makeup artist and me, the photos were so good that a magazine in England published them. In the photos I look very strong and in a way that I never thought I could see myself, very high fashion and it was one of the photo sessions that I have enjoyed the most.

What has been your least favorite job?

This is a very difficult question because there is a lot of abuse in this industry. Most of the time they don't treat you like a human being, I think my least favorite job unfortunately was in Mexico City. For a company I'm not going to mention because they are quite large. I was working for around 18 hours, there was nowhere to sit, when I asked for water and food, they were a little rude to me. It was my least favorite job, because it is a big company, they paid very little and they treated me pretty badly.

What is your dream job?

My dream job has nothing to do with modeling. I think it would be playing at a music festival, with my own songs or DJ set.

Have you traveled anywhere to work as a model?

Yes, that answer would be here in Mexico City, because before I would have only worked locally in Los Angeles. Here I am now working in CDMX and it's amazing because I never thought about moving to another country and working with such cool projects as well as meeting such cool people, I love it because I'm doing things that I wouldn't have done if I stayed in LA.

Who is your favorite photographer?

This one is easy. My answer is my friend Oscar García and the reason why I chose him is because he always finds beauty in all types of people. If you are an insecure person even not so photogenic, he finds the best in you and makes you 10 times prettier than you already are. I also like Steven Meisel.

Do you have a favorite model?

I think my favorite model is Kate Moss. The reason I chose her is because she didn't meet the beauty standards, nor is she that tall. That gave me hope and inspiration to be able to work as well. Just like she did.

“What people say isn't going to stop me. “I have to do things for myself.”

― Kate Moss

What is the difference between working in CDMX and LA?

The difference is quite extreme. In Los Angeles, the model is always protected and they make sure you get paid within 90 days. In Mexico City they don't seem to care when they pay you, if they pay you at all. That's the biggest difference. The second difference is that there is some classism, plus they don't even care about how you feel as a model. Sometimes they don't even offer you water, snacks or food. If you feel uncomfortable they make you deal with it, I feel that the treatment is very old-fashioned. In LA or the US I feel that companies, productions or designers care more about the models. In Mexico I feel that not everyone is as interested in how you feel.

In the world of modeling there are pros and cons, what would be a red flag to not do a job or a photo shoot?

Don't do work with people who don't treat you like a human being. Basic things like water or food are things that should be provided to you without you having to ask for it. Now a red flag for not doing a shoot is if the photographer approached you and not your agency. If you've already told the person to talk to your agent and they don't want to, there's probably a reason. They don't want to pay, they don't want to hire you for work reasons, they want you to take photos without clothes. Another red flag is when the photographer tells you something that you “have” to pose without a bra or underwear, telling you things that you don't feel comfortable doing. Some say things like – “If you want a place in this industry you have to do what I tell you” – “I have all the contacts, I'm going to tell my colleagues that you are a difficult model” things like this are a red flag. If the photographer tells you that you have to go alone, and you don't feel comfortable because it's someone you don't know yet, it's also a red flag. In situations like these I would abandon the study, plus this person you are working with is not professional.

“Never work with someone who doesn't treat you like a human being. Value your work.”

—Ashley Taddei
What was it like when you saw your first work published?

My first published work was for a wedding magazine called Green Wedding Shoes. And seeing myself for the first time I remember was very exciting because it was with a high fashion photographer. I remember finding myself in a shop window and saying wow! This is the beginning of my career. Now after so much time you are no longer so excited to see yourself, you are more excited to get paid.

If your house caught fire, what would you save?

I think it would save more than one thing, first of all it would be my passport, my most valuable possession. Then it would be a USB where I have saved the songs that I have composed. Everything else can be bought again but my music and my passport are the most important things to me.

What inspires you apart from the world of fashion?

Apart from modeling, what inspires me is fashion design and music. I went to fashion design school, I also worked as a stylist so I have always liked everything that has to do with expressing myself. Music is also something that inspires me and I have been creating for the last 4 years. I think that the way you dress influences the music you listen to many times. What I wear is influenced by the music I like and listen to.

What is your favorite brand?

I think this is a difficult question for me because my favorite clothes don't depend on a brand. It depends on the creative director or the season of that collection. I can like only one piece from a collection and not the rest, so to answer this question I think that my favorite clothes would not even be a brand, but rather things that I find in thrift stores. From designers from the 60's, 70's, 80's that I never heard of but with incredible pieces with super cool fabrics and incredible quality. Anything from the past that is relevant today.

Is there any fashion from now or in the past that you don't like or haven't liked?

Yeah. And this would be in the early 2000s when people wore those hip-cut pants, like Paris Hilton wore, with the thong on the outside. The Juicy Couture on the back of the pants. But my least favorite are the UGGS boots, I feel that those boots look sloppy and I know that people wear them because they are warm and comfortable but they have no style at all. I think they make your feet look like you're a character from Family Guy.

How do you describe your style?

My style is timeless, somewhat classic, with a modern edge and a little darks.

What is your goal here in 5 years?

My goal would be to finish an album, with my solo project, an album with my group Bad Mitten. Work with my clothing brand and make it a successful name, that people like it and are interested in buying. Maybe but just maybe, have a baby, but definitely another dog.

Is there someone you love their style, look or work, whether they are a model or not?

Yes, I like it a lot Alexa ChungI really love the style it has. I feel like her look is effortless, she plays with lots of colors and makes everything look good. She is quite thin so everything looks very good on her. I also feel that he is not afraid to take risks and that is what I like about his style.

If you go on a trip, what do you pack in your hand luggage?

I always carry my iPad. Most of the music I produce I've made during flights and the reason I do that is because it gives me a little anxiety and when I'm making music or listening to it, it relaxes me. I focus on doing something that makes me feel better. I also carry my laptop and my hand cream in my carry-on luggage, I'm always putting cream on my hands. Also water.

What are the essentials to be a model?

A very high level of trust. You don't even have to be pretty/handsome, tall, if you are confident you have everything. Another thing you need is to not care if they reject you, it will happen many times more than they accept you. And you have to believe in yourself, because you can have all the confidence but you have to believe that you are going to achieve it. You can't let them walk all over you either, otherwise you will never be successful.

Tips for making good castings by model Ashley Taddei

Tips now in a pandemic, because the castings are different. I would tell them to get a ring light since good light will always be your best friend. If you don't have good light in your apartment or house, you immediately need a ring light with a tripod to record your castings more comfortably. You don't have to send it the first time either, doing the castings at home gives you the opportunity to try multiple times and choose your favorite. When you cast in person, you only get one chance, so take advantage now.

Now tell me a guilty pleasure that you have in your closet that you love, but never wear.

All. I think I have an obsession with shoes, I have too many here and at home there in California. So I think my guilty taste that I have too much of is vintage shoes that I always buy the most and never wear. I promise I'll use them one of these days.

The best purchase you have ever made (BARGAIN)

Okay, one of these would be the time I went to GoodWill in California and found a pretty interesting green vintage bag that cost $15 usd which was honestly expensive for me, I normally don't pay more than 7 dollars for a bag. I bought it because it was a Balenciaga bag and when I got home when I was cleaning the bag, I found a 14K ring with Rubies and diamonds. That was the best purchase I have ever made, I gave the ring to my mother. Another bargain I found was a Fender Telecaster guitar from the 90's, it was very cheap and beautiful. I repaired it and sold it for 3 times the price I bought it.

Tips for finding a good agency

First of all, check the agency very carefully first, who has worked for which brands, etc. Investigate their website, their Facebook and everything you can find about them. Furthermore, a good agency should never charge you to enter, they charge you your commission like any other when you have jobs, but never anything more. Anyone who wants to charge you extra is not a good agency but a scam. I recommend you check the page on Instagram shitmodelmagenagment There they always expose bad agencies, those that don't pay, bad photographers, around the world, etc. Agencies that are bad are blacklisted. Another tip would be to send your photos to as many agencies as you can, but also check their models and make sure there is no one who looks like you so as not to compete directly with an agency you are interested in being with.

How can we find your music?

At the moment it is available on the Spotify platform.

When can we find your clothing brand available?

In the next few weeks we will have good news about the launch of my clothing brand. I'm excited because it will be very soon.

You can follow Ashley on her Instagram and social networks to find out more news about when she will launch her clothing brand, there she also shares her work as a model and as a musician.

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