In the series “5 Models Answer 5 Questions” different models share their experience and key advice when it comes to working in the fashion industry. Today, Mika Van Winkle brings a feminine perspective into the topic.
Having studied communications and nutrition, Mika Van Winkle never thought she would one day be one of the many models in New York City. Although modelling was never a career she wanted to pursue, it is now over a decade since she started in the fashion industry.
In this interview, we talk about her career, do’s and don’ts, and the importance of self-care.
The state of your mind is important – if you’re nervous, it will inevitably show in your body language. Try to work on staying calm and present in your own body.
First of all, could you please describe yourself briefly?
My name is Mika Van Winkle, and I’m a half-Japanese half-American model. I grew up first in Japan then the US, and am now based in New York. I’ve been in the modelling industry for over a decade, and over the course of my career I have lived and worked in the US, Asia, and Europe. I also completed my BA at NYU and graduate program at Tufts University in communications and nutrition. I’m passionate about health and well-being, and am a certified yoga trainer.
What were the key steps you took to become a professional model?
Modelling was not a career I ever meant to pursue, but I was “discovered” when I was fifteen in my hometown of Seattle. The owner of a local agency saw me walking with friends, and came up to me and asked, “How tall are you?” I thought he was crazy.
What are the main do’s and don’ts when showcasing yourself to an agency?
The main thing is to go as your most natural self. No hair extensions, crazy make-up, extravagant outfits, etc. They just want to see what you look like! Dress simply with minimal make-up, bring a pair of heels, and you’re good to go.
After you meet with them, they will let you know if they’re interested. If they’re not, do not be discouraged – just because one agency may not be the right fit for you does not mean that another will not be!
How do you master the art of posing?
I suppose like anything practice makes perfect. Use the mirror in the beginning so you can see how certain poses feel and look. The state of your mind is important – if you’re nervous, it will inevitably show in your body language. Try to work on staying calm and present in your own body.
When working as a professional model, what are some of the aspects attached that people do not always see?
While it may seem like all photoshoots and glamour, you must also educate yourself in understanding and negotiating contracts as well as managing finances. This is a business after all, and things can get complicated fast when you’re working with different agencies and clients all over the world.
What advice would you give to your younger self if you knew what you know today?
Put your health and well-being first and enjoy the process! I would tell myself to be present instead of focusing on whether I was and that it is okay to take time for self-care. I never imagined that I would be in the industry for so long, and at times it can be hard on the body and mind.
We would like to thank Mika for her time. To see more of her work, visit her Cherrydeck profile or her Instagram, here. For more models content, check out the previous interviews with Nicklas and Tristan or try out the model search. 🍒