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Model Citizen
Model Citizen

Buffalo, NY is filled with talented models on the rise to making their mark in the fashion industry and let’s not forget supermodels and Buffalo natives Jessica White and Beverly Johnson.

Building a modeling career is highly sought after and breaking into the business is all about having the right pictures, networking in the right markets, having the right agency and/or agent and finding the right jobs.  America's Next Top Model casting team came to Buffalo this past weekend in search for models for ANTM cycle 19: The College Edition.

Hundreds of women between the ages of 18-27 came out to the Boulevard Mall to show off their modeling skills in hopes of fulfilling their lifelong dream of becoming one the contestants. Recently Tara Banks received her MBA from Harvard school of business and since there will no longer be airing anymore traditional ANTM cycles she wanted to give co-ed's a chance to show the world you can have beauty and brains.

The ANTM College Edition will be airing on CW this fall 2012. Join facebook Model Citizen group to get insider info, to learn the business and to network! ANTM will be holding auditions across the country for more casting info go to http://www.cwtv.com/thecw/topmodel-cycle19-Casting

Submissions by region:

East Coast: castingantm@gmail.com

Midwest: mikeantmcasting@gmail.com

South: dpcasting@gmail.com

West Coast: antmcastingLA@gmail.com

 I recently got a chance to catch up with one of WNY top models Shannon Lee who recently walked the catwalk during the NY fashion week 2012 Code Purple event for designer Lawrence Pizzi.

Tammy Beckman: ”You are working with a model school and recently took part in the CW America next top model casting in Buffalo NY how was that and what did you do?

Shannon Lee: Yes! I enjoyed it and meeting new people. I was there to answer advice questions from aspiring models about what to do and what not to do. I walked around and talked with all the girls. It was an honor to attend the event and be approached. It is extremely exciting when your looked up to as a model and people actually know who you are and trust your judgment. I actually just got an amazing opportunity to be the "poster child" for one of Mercedes Benz of Buffalo fashion weeks founders Lauren Byrd's new modeling school EMMA (Emerging models marketing agency). I will be instructing newer models on how to get started in the industry, pose, speak, walk the runway, go on castings, and much more. Everyone can find out more about this school at models@fashionweekbuffalo.com

Tammy Beckman: As a rising model from WNY you’re everywhere these days not only just locally and you’ve walked the runways of some top fashion designers how did you get your break in Modeling?

Shannon Lee: I can honestly say that I did take a little break from modeling after I had my daughter in 2008 because as a single mother I didn't know if I was going to be able to juggle being a mom, a full time job, and modeling. I continued with photo shoots and updating my portfolio and then in July 2011. I thought I would try out for Mercedes Benz of Buffalo fashion week. I ended up getting into almost every show for the week, which gave me tons of publicity. After fashion week my modeling career just skyrocketed and I was getting calls from all kinds of industry people to model for them.

Tammy Beckman: At what point did you consider that a career in professional modeling was for you?

Shannon Lee: When I was 16 years old and I was the awkward "too tall, too skinny" blonde girl, I considered modeling and after my first Photo shoot I became addicted. I ate, breathed, and slept modeling and knew this is what I wanted to be someday.

Tammy Beckman: The modeling industry, as we know, is highly competitive and there is always a younger, fresher more beautiful girl around the next corner. How do you deal with girls coming onto the scene that may be all of these more than you?

Shannon Lee: I'm more of a "go with the flow type girl" rather than competitive like a lot of the people in the industry. If a different girl gets the gig that I tried out for then that gives me more of a drive to go bigger, better, and try harder next time.

Tammy Beckman: What are some of the highlight of your modeling career? What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?

Shannon Lee: I set goals for myself and in the past year, I accomplished everything I set out to do. A couple highlights have been getting in to magazines in Buffalo and New York city, walking the runway between Buffalo, Rochester, and New York city, and getting myself known and established as a professional model. That has all been accomplished. A lesson that I have learned is "If you want something bad enough then go get it. Never let anyone tell you that you can't or won't".

Tammy Beckman: I believe the biggest shortfall is the lack of organization of the industry, lack of support for each other and refusal to follow the rules of the world’s fashion industry. How hard is it for models in WNY to break in the business? Any Advice?

Shannon Lee:  I have seen a lot of cattiness and competition from girls trying to break into the business but go about it the wrong way. Being a professional is all about teamwork. Help each other and work together especially at fashion shows. Give advice to other girls that need it. Coming from Buffalo, it was hard work to break into the business, but again if you want it bad enough, you will work for it.

Tammy Beckman Who is your favorite young designer these days?

Shannon Lee: My all time favorite designer is Betsey Johnson. I am in love with all her fashion line.

Tammy Beckman: What are some of the struggles about being a parent and a model? How do you organize?

Shannon Lee: Being a single mother and a model is extremely difficult. There has been unfortunate Mom and daughter time lost between all the photo shoots and gigs, but luckily I am blessed with an amazing family to help out and support me. My three year old tells me all the time how proud she is of me and that she "wants to be a model just like mommy someday". She has gone to a few photo shoots with me, and has done a few herself (loll). I know that it will all pay off in the end and I can give my little girl an amazing life.

Tammy Beckman Tell me something about yourself that would shock people who don’t know you?

Shannon Lee: Something most people in the industry don't know about me is that I am a New York state emergency medical technician and worked on an ambulance for the past 8 years until recently. For some reason people can't see past the glitz and glam and see me wearing a baggy uniform while working .

Tammy Beckman: What are your goals going forward?

Shannon Lee: My goals going forward in the modeling industry are basically to keep going and striving to the top. I eventually want to end up in a Victoria Secret fashion show, walk the runway for Betsey Johnson, be on the cover of a magazine, and eventually live in New York city, maybe even open my own modeling agency someday. My dreams have already come true. So maybe I will make some more come true for both my child and I.

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