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I am currently an internationally signed fashion model but was previously a professional basketball player. I attended the university of Pittsburgh after which I was selected for the WNBA draft. Following the draft, I played in Madrid, Spain for two years. My career ended when I suffered a serious knee injury. It was at that point that I decided to hang up my shoes and hit the runway. Being born and raised in New Jersey, I always wondered what would happen if I ever just hopped on the train to NY and hit the model circuit. As it turns out that action was the catalyst to everything Cole Woods, the model, is today. I got my start in NY Couture Fashion Week walking for international designers and haven't looked back since. At this point in my career, I am beginning to find my passion in creative/fashion directing and mentorship. Ultimately I want to be able to give back to aspiring models and young female athletes and share all that I've learned. I am currently setting up that very opportunity. Although it is still in the works, I hope to grow it into a very serious platform for which aspiring models can get their start while having someone experienced there to mentor them.
Our readers would love to get to know you more Cole. Tell us about yourself, what is unique about you?
I am a 6'2 former professional basketball player turned fashion model. I used to be able to dunk!
Cole, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Model?
My aspiration in life is to give back by helping others who are aspiring to do what I've done or more. I started as a model just by hopping on the train to NY and hitting as many runway castings as I could. I got thrown right into NYFW and things snowballed from there.
Who is your inspiration in life Cole? How do you keep inspired?
My inspiration has been the strong women I grew up around. My mother, grandmother, aunts, and cousins. All very unapologetically strong women. I keep inspired just knowing and believing that there's nothing I cannot do.
We all make mistakes Cole; 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.
Cole , 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 prioritizing your clients’ needs?
I just always focus on the task at hand. You can only do one job at a time. No matter how bionic or invincible we tend to feel it's important to remember that you are still human.
Please tell us, Cole, about a time you had to be very strategic to meet all your top priorities as a Model?
Every opportunity is not a good one. As a model or just in the industry itself that is very important to remember. You always have to think past the opportunity in front of you. Sometimes you may have to turn down jobs that seem good at the time but don't benefit you in the long run.
Cole, please give us an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
When working with photographers in a collaborative effort, you have to be receptive to each other's vision if you want to create something beautiful. As a model, once you've gotten to know yourself in photos better you start to learn what angles work for you. It's not easy to shoot a model that is 6'2, so I'm often teaching photographers how to best capture my length.
Cole, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Model. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you just want to share with everyone. What is it and why?
My proudest moment as a model was when I signed my international agency contract with Twenty Model Management in Cape Town, South Africa. This was a proud moment for me because I took a huge step in a very untraditional way. People often try to tell me what I need to do to be successful because that is the way someone else did it but I made it MY way.
Cole, 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'm often able to get very creative with my work as it is my passion to fully produce my shoots. It's always very exciting to bring my visions to fruition but also very difficult to do all the things that would usually require a team. Because of that it usually takes me a little longer to get a full idea together but once I do it is always gratifying to see the work.
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Model?
Don't ever let anyone tell you what you can't do or how you're "supposed" to operate to be successful. There is no one formula for success.
Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state below what type of collaboration you are looking for?
I am always open to collaborating with brands and creatives, specifically, designers, makeup/hair artists, stylists, and photographers. I love the variety and being able to wow people with an image they never thought to expect. It creates a lot of opportunities to be free and have fun.
Now for the best part Cole! Please upload 5-10 photos so we can get to see your work.
John Burrill @jburrillphoto
Aaron Lacey @aaronlacey
James Ketan @jk_fotografi
Marie B @mariebphotos
Dalia Dias @shotbydaliadias
Xavier Albert @_xavieralbert