She has modeled for the past 11 years, originally getting her start as a teenager in Chicago. “When I was 14, I had an agent who was helping me establish my career with photo shoots and acting demo reels. But when I graduated high school I decided it was more important for me to get my education, so I enlisted in the military.”
Toward the last year of her military enlistment, she realized that she wanted to give modeling another try. “I became serious about modeling as a career. I signed with an agency in St. Louis — Toni’s International Models — and very soon found myself having to take leave days (I only got 30 days a year) to do paying modeling assignments.”
She discovered One Model Place through her good photographer friend Reginald. “He got me re-interested in modeling after he told me about One Model Place. Since then, OMP has helped me career in so many ways… It’s a place where I can showcase all of my work without worry about people judging my style. I’ve got great jobs castings, signed with multiple agencies, and it’s introduced me to outstanding photographers and models. If it wasn’t for OMP, I never would have received the job casting that led me to work for a great casino in Mississippi where I met my fiance Ian Nathaniel (OMP Member #36124). This site has done more for me then just help my career — it’s brought me the man I’ve been waiting for and my own personal live-in photographer!”
Some of Ashley’s favorite experiences have been modeling for fine art nude figure classes at local colleges. “I can’t remember how I originally was recommended for the booking. But it’s helped me tremendously as an artist, by teaching me to concentrate on the 360-view concept of posing in the round, since the modeling platform is usually in the middle of the classroom and you are surrounded by students.
Even though she had done nude shoots in the past, Ashley remembers being nervous her first day because she had never been naked in front of that many people at one time. “Once that first class began and I dropped my robe, the students started working with their paint brushes and pencils, and all that nervousness just faded away. On the class break, I would walk around the room and look at all the students’ work. It was very interesting to me to see how each student had a different perspective of my body and how the angle of my body/pose had translated onto paper. Doing this taught me many new poses and new ways to get emotions across.” Just re-hired for another semester, Ashley highly recommends that every model tries posing for an art class at least once in their career.
She recalls some of her other favorite shoots. “I had a great time shooting my first print campaign and billboard for ‘Rent & Roll.’ I honestly had no idea that I was going to have a billboard for this job. The day I found out was when I drove into St. Louis for a meeting with a client. I was driving on the highway past the Cardinals stadium and BAM! there I was. I almost crashed my car. I was still in the military when this happened, and it was really cool.”
Ashley lists some of the other rewards and challenges of modeling. “The rewards would be seeing myself grow as a model over the years that I have been doing this. It’s helped me more with my confidence as a woman, and taught me that no one can promote you better then yourself. The friends I’ve made along the way have been some of the best. Challenges for me have included the ups and downs when it comes to castings that I was very excited about but never got picked for, and dealing with photographers that tried to take advantage of me when I was first starting out .”
Nude modeling for the camera also has its specific benefits and drawbacks. “I never really did much nude modeling on camera until I met my fiance. I had only done a few test shoots and, out of those images, very few are in my portfolio today. As we started working together Ian nurtured something inside of me that made me completely uninhibited as an artist. I have learned so much from him as his muse, not just in modeling but in all aspects of photography since I started shooting photos last May. The connection we have on camera is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced or thought possible. Nude modeling has helped me love all of my body and push my limits.
“One of the biggest challenges in nude modeling for me is actually finding places to shoot where I don’t have to worry or be distracted about people interfering or causing disruption to my shoots. It’s sad that we were all born naked in this world, but when people see a woman naked in public they automatically want to judge that person and make them feel like they’re doing something wrong. I wish I could shoot anywhere, anytime I wanted to, naked.”
Ashley has the following advice for models just starting out. “Find good quality photographers that take the time to edit your pictures and really concentrate on getting good headshots. Don’t be afraid to limit yourself to one style of modeling based upon what the industry says you should do or be. Remember that for every ten no’s to a job there is a yes, and keep faith in yourself if this is what you really want to do. Network like you breath air — the more genuine people you meet, the more chances you have of being successful.
“I also suggest that you shared copyrights on any shoots that you do that are TFP, and with that being said don’t be pushed into shooting any type of shots you are not comfortable with. Practice poses by picking up magazines and make yourself go through each pose in front of a mirror dressed first , and then naked. Learn how your body looks from all angles, and see what works and doesn’t work for you. In the end, find the best support you can and be true to those people. You never know when you may need votes for contests, a last-minute makeup artist, or even an image to send to magazines on a two-day deadline.”
In addition to Ashley’s OMP portfolio, you can visit her website at http://ashleysalazar.net or her blog at http://ashley-salazar.blogspot.com. She is also featured on the website of her first major feature film — www.farmthemovie.com. If you are at the newsstand, watch for Ashley as is going to be published in the May 2010 issue of WWE Magazine.