A Q&A with Model Shannon Rusbuldt of Yonkers.
How did you get into modeling?
I was in Richmond, Virginia, in my first year of college when I went to an open call for possible models. They sent me to meet some agents at a convention and, of the approximately four hundred girls there, one other girl and I had the most callbacks.
What kind of work do you do and for whom?
I do print, runway, and TV commercial work for clients like Pantene, Matrix, Tommy Hilfiger, Armani, Tory Burch, Cosmopolitan, and Vogue.
What’s your main responsibility as a model?
To show clothes in a manner that’s going to make people want to buy them. It’s a little bit like being an actress without words.
Are celebrities taking over models’ jobs?
Absolutely. Models used to be on the covers of all the magazines and in all the ad campaigns. Now, most feature celebrities—actors, actresses, or reality stars.
How are you compensated?
I’ve made anywhere from two hundred dollars a day to thirty-five thousand dollars a day.
What about perks?
Sometimes you get free clothes and hair and makeup products, and your travel and expenses are paid for. Many times I don’t have to pay to get into nightclubs or for drinks and dinner.
What are some common misconceptions about models?
That they’re snobby and that they don’t eat. We don’t all live on cigarettes and coffee.
Do people assume you’re stupid when they learn you’re a model?
Sometimes I feel like the more intelligent you make yourself sound, the less desirable you are as a model. People want models to be seen and not heard; you’re there to look a certain way and not to think.
Do men not take you seriously because your work is so much about your looks?
Some men make assumptions that every model wants to be with a rich man or a rock star.
Did you ever go through any awkward phases when you were growing up?
I don’t think there was a time that wasn’t awkward. I was always taller than all the boys and really skinny and not curvy.
Just how tall are you and what do you weigh?
I’m five feet, ten-and-a-half inches tall and weigh one-hundred twenty pounds. I wear a size two or four.
Do you exercise?
I really don’t do anything, and people hate me for it.
Do you watch America’s Next Top Model?
Once in a while. The concept of winning a show and getting a contract with a modeling agency and a job for Cover Girl is not very realistic.
When do you think you’ll stop modeling?
I’ve seen women eighty years old shooting catalogues for housecoats.