I am a second generation Hmong American. Meaning, my parents are Southeast Asian refugees that immigrated to the United States and had me in their first year of adjusting to life here in California. Growing up, I didn't have a Hmong model to look up to. Even now there are barely any successful Hmong models. I believe it's just not viewed as a serious profession in my community. It's because of this that I want to break the mould and show the world of how Hmong people can also contribute to the fashion, creative, and modelling industry.
Nancy, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Model?
My passion and aspiration in life are to create art that resonates with others, to help those who can't speak up for themselves, and to inspire those younger than me to never give up on their dreams.I started as a model as a challenge to myself. At the time, I was overflowing with insecurities I wanted to overcome. Being a model built the confidence I have today. Since then it has evolved into a creative outlet for me to express myself. I love the networking aspect of modelling and thrive when I work alongside a team of creators.
Who is your inspiration in life Nancy? How do you keep inspired?
My family and friends are at the top of the list as they are the people who inspire me the most to keep pushing forward in all aspects of my life. I stay inspired by always viewing and learning from the work of my role models in the industry. Models such as Cindy Crawford, Tyra Banks, Giselle Bundchen (to name a few).
We all make mistakes Nancy; 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.
When I first began modelling, I didn't understand that I had a voice as a model. There were times when photographers would order me to do things I did not want to do (such as; kneel in mud, work for 4+ hours for no pay, or pose more suggestively). Though I disagreed with it, I still did what was told of me. If I had the chance to handle those situations better, I would've spoken up for myself.
Nancy, 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?
I make it a point to keep my communication with others clear and concise. Organization and planning are key. As a model and model manager, I've gotten used to multi-tasking while also keeping my priorities straight.
Please tell us, Nancy, about a time you had to be very strategic to meet all your top priorities as a Model?
There was a time when I worked my day job six days a week and only had Sundays off. To make the most out of my free days, I would always plan for photoshoots. I aimed to book more than one shoot a day so that I could completely utilise all of my free time to practice and add to my portfolio. If I booked a shoot out of town, I would try to find as many opportunities to fill up that one day so to make the 3-5 hour drive worth it. I always ended my photoshoot days physically and mentally exhausted. However, I believe to succeed; you can't allow yourself to develop laziness. It's important for me to follow through with all of my appointments, big or small.
Nancy, please give us an example of a time when you were able to persuade someone to see things your way at work successfully.
I run into conflict with the models I manage all the time. There was a time a model of mine went behind my back and broke a term in our agreement. I confronted her about it and was met with a quick, defensive attitude. To resolve the situation, I broke it down into parts for her to understand:1.)What she did wrong 2.)How I found out about it 3.)Which term it broke 4.)The consequences of her actionsI kept it professional and withdrew my emotions from the situation. It was because of my approach that the model decided to see it from my point of view. She apologised, and we worked on how to fix it.
Nancy, 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?
I would have to say my proudest accomplishment as a model (so far) was being chosen as the featured model in a professional photography workshop. It's my proudest because it was the first time a paid opportunity fell into my hands. Before this, I was working so hard day and night to gain some recognition. At the workshop, I felt extremely respected and valued.
Nancy, 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 have creative input in all of my trade (TF) photoshoots. Either I come up with the concept/idea or, I make and gather the materials for it. It's all fun and exciting work for me. The difficulty lies in financing and travel, not in creating.
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Model?
Work hard/HustleGive credit where credit is due to Have a positive attitudeStay professional
A.re you are looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state what type of collaboration you are looking for?
Yes! I am always open to all kinds of creative collaborations.
Cover photo, photo #1, #2, #3: photographer- Houa Vang @houavangphotographyPhoto #4, #5, #6:photographer- Adam Allen @adamallenthepersonPhoto #7:photographer- Jose Rangel @559_whipsPhoto #8, #9:photographer- Carlos Guzman @fresnofotomanPhoto #10:photographer- Kazoua Yang @kazouayangphotography