Get Busy Living, Or Get Busy Dying
Lately, this motivational quote has been running through my mind. This year I have lost my great grandmother, an auntie, and just last month my final grandmother. While sitting next to her weak, frail body in the hospital, recalling her words just days prior, “How am I suppose to feel knowing I will never return to my home?” I yearn for the courage to take the life lesson unraveling before me – Life is short. My sweet grandma pushed me every holiday, every visit, every phone call to continue with my art, although in all fairness, she DID mean drawing and painting, but this short visit back home refocused my efforts on my true passion of expression – modeling. My modeling start was brutal. I was turned down from over 50 agencies as a young spud. I felt defeated before I even began. I was told to either gain weight to become a plus size model or lose 20lbs, off of a 118 lb. frame. Once I was 18, I was taken advantage of and tricked into paying for photo shoot where the tripod holding the back-light could be found in every frame, the images were out-of-focus, and the photographer had no credits to his name. The fake agency’s website was up one week and down the next, everything gone - along with my savings. But that was the past. Today, I am a motivated woman and my urge to spite this idea of taking advantage of someone’s dream worked plentiful in my favor. I have 10+ billboards, and enough publications to the point where I have lost count and stopped investing the time to track down the tear sheets, along with multiple T.V. appearances, commercials, and music videos. I feel I am semi-successful in a field where I was told I was too short, too heavy, and too commercial to be considered seriously as a model. Well HERE I AM! What is my end game? Will there be a moment when I feel I finally accomplished my dream and became that model I was told I was never going to be? The answer; Sports Illustrated! If I were the cover of Sports Illustrated, it would leave me with undeniable proof that I have hit the successful high of a modeling career. Lots of girls can do runway, lots of people can be in a magazine, but to have a platform that embodies health, fitness, and beauty is a whole different ball of wax. I have no idea how to accomplish this, seeing as every Tom-Dick-and Harry wants to be involved with this company – let alone every model. To stand out in a sea of beautiful people, surrounded by an enormous barricaded wall is a daunting task, but I can’t sit by and watch life through the windows of a sterile room like my grandma ended up, thinking – what if? I’ve got to get busy living, and take a page from The Shawskank Redemption. I’m going to try to reach out, if I can’t find a mailing address, then email; if I can’t find email, then video, and if I forever go unnoticed it will be out there that I put as much effort forth as possible. So to YOU, my ghost reader for Sports Illustrated, gamble on this Canadian cutie who has been put through the wringer trying to live up to the American dream! Don’t make me list all the developing countries I’ve had to live in. Let me be your first Average- Joe model, your first discovered through YouTube model, or your newest body-positive role model! Find me on Youtube coaching others on the ins-and-outs of the industry, providing photographers posing videos for their clients, and occasionally just being the silly quirky girl you get to see behind the scenes. Give me the platform that I wanted to achieve with wrestling, that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Not just, thin or plus size – but that happy medium in between. Not petite, not tall, a true grey area in the industry that is untouched. At 5’6, with hips at 37 inches, and a shoe size of 8, I am every Canadian/ American’s statistic of average. I am Average Jill. Hello!
Jill Billingsley – Attempt 1.