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Aside from being a model, I am also a beauty queen. This year, with my new title as Ms Earth UK, I jetted off to the Amazonian forest and Tanzania to promote environmental awareness in two continents. While in Tanzania, I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro and got engaged to my boyfriend at the summit! Being a beauty queen to me also means giving something back to the community; I am a keen fundraiser, having modelled in a charity fashion show in London and won Miss Charity in the 2017 Miss Galaxy England pageant, raising over Â£1,200 to charity. I also previously raised over Â£2,000 to reach Mt Everest base camp.
Cera, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Model?
My ambition is to become a model coach for aspiring models. I am someone who has little time to sit and contemplate on the What Ifs, so when there is something I want to do, I either do it, or I try it “ this is perhaps how I got into modelling. Many people in the past had thought I was too â€œthis and thatâ€ for modelling, and that it was a waste of time. Initially, as a young girl I almost had my soul crushed by these comments, but as time went on I took these comments as challenges, and after a few years I have worked hard enough to not only prove people wrong but to also prove my doubts wrong. I have to admit that there is still room for improvements, but that's where the opportunities lie, and as a model coach I want to tell other models the same thing!
Who is your inspiration in life Cera? How do you keep inspired?
I adore Adriana Lima as a model, but I also look up to many other girls I have met personally in pageants and model competitions. Many of them have had their stories, and sometimes unpleasant ones when they grew up. It makes me think that we are all in similar boats, that none of us is perfect, and that we got to make the best of what we have.
We all make mistakes Cera; we wish we could take back. Please tell us about time being a Model; you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
I guess a regret that I have is when one time I was talking with a girl who wanted to be a model and was too afraid to do so, I think I had only given words of encouragement rather than any practical help. After that, I learned that, although everyone wants to be called beautiful, in modelling you will need the skills and the confidence to succeed. I should have given her guidance on practical skills and confidence-building tutorials so that she can at least take these tools on board. This is perhaps what prompted me to want to become a model coach!
Cera, when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Model, how do you go about prioritising your clients’ needs?
As a model, I always prepare myself prior to any shoots and get enough to eat, drink and sleep. Exercise and a good diet are in my daily routine. Regarding shoots, I make sure that I arrive early and have the clothes ready so that the shoot will take less time than necessary. If there is an MUA I would arrive without any makeup on and clean un-styled hair so that they can work on me straight away - these are little things that I'd do to make my clients and customers work better. Regarding attitude, I treat everyone as a customer; from the photographers and the bookers to the photograph assistants. I like to display a can-do attitude while also being flexible and warm to people so that the shoot is not only professional but fun as well! Regarding shoot arrangements, I work with my clients according to their needs and deadlines, and how flexible they can be with the time. If there are two contrasting shoots back-to-back, I will work with them so that one flows after the other without much time wasted. After shoots I will take all the rest I can have to make sure I don't burn out.
Please tell us, Cera, about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities as a Model?
I had some back-to-back shoots one day after another for two weeks and on top of that a beauty pageant at the weekend. I had to be strategic with my preparation work and in training so to risk not burning out. For this, I had paced myself and started training two months before the first shoot to go on a low-carb diet and to train for an hour in the gym every day. While training, I was also preparing for the pageant (i.e. buying dresses, charity work and appearances). Every day I ate smaller portions and trained longer in the gym. After the two months, I lost 3kg, and my body-fat percentage was 20%. As my body was in very good condition, it was also perfect timing for my first shoot. In preparing for the back-to-back shoots and the pageant, I had packed everything I needed for each shoot and arrived early for each shoot. Before the shoots I also did quick â€œwarm upsâ€ for myself, so to get into the zone of the shoot, and after each shoot, I â€œcool downâ€ by putting myself in a hot bath, plenty of water to drink and plenty of sleep. After all the shoots and the pageants were done, I think I slept for 14 hours!
Cera, please give us an example of a time when you were able to persuade someone to see things your way at work successfully.
Working with different photographers have been very interesting and fun at different times because we get to share different ideas to make things work. When I first started out in modelling, I did a lot of bikini/glamour stylish shots, but as time went on, I really wanted to get into editorial/high fashion styles rather than sticking just to glamour. At first, I wasnâ€™t getting much approval from others of me switching genres, but I insisted on doing an â€œfunâ€ fashion shoot on a TF basis with one photographer. I think after that shoot and my fashion photos going widespread on social media, more and more photographers approached me and wanted to do fashion and editorial styles with me, and I also won myself the first place in Editorial Photographic Award in this yearâ€™s Face of the World International Modelling Competition.
Cera, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Model. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you want to share with everyone. What is it and why?
My proudest moment was finding out that I had won first place in Editorial Photography and second place in Runway at 2017's Face of the World International Modelling Competition. When I started out modelling (or even before I started out) I would never have dreamed of me being successful in either of those categories, because I had always been told that Editorial and Runway are only suitable for tall models 5 8 or above, which I am not! That moment was my proudest as I competed against 20 other girls - it was a dream come true for me!
Cera, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
I was working with RPR Photography on creating a Miss Earth promotional video for my title as Ms Earth UK. I got to be creative as I was leading on the project, and I was directing and working with Robert, the photographer, on how to create the best scenes and use the best audio for the work. It was very exciting times as it was my first time directing an entire video, but also challenging as it was my first time! However, I do believe we got some good shots, and I think we have achieved the desired outcome of the video!
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Model?
I'd say to them: Whatever others out there say about you, take it as an opinion. What matters is what you think about yourself, and how tenacious you are in learning and practising the skills.
Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state below what type of collaboration you are looking for?
Yes, I am looking for collaboration with brands and creatives “ I would love to be involved in commercial works (e.g. clothing brand), magazines, and exhibits, but flexible and open to any other kinds!
Cover photo 1: James Jenkins Cover photo 2: Jay Chamberlain Photography @jaychamberlainphotography Photo 1: Jay Chamberlain Photography @jaychamberlainphotography Photo 2: Allan Burness Photography @allanburnessphotography Photo 3: RPR Photography Photo 4: RPR Photography Photo 5: Andrew Wells Lbipp Photo 6: Chris Kot Photo 7: Luca Venturini @lucven Photo 8: James Jenkins Photo 9: Jay Chamberlain Chamberlain @jaychamberlainphotography Photo 10: Martin J Patterson