Jillian Ann (OMP Model #1874) has been a major force on the creative scene for the past 10 years, making her living solely from being a model as well as a musician. This is the first of three installments covering our exclusive interview with the artist.
OMP: How did you get your start as a model?
Jillian Ann: I modeled as a child, and then got scouted in Atlanta by one of the bigger print agencies. I worked with them for awhile doing the usual commercial work. It was great but not really that interesting to me. So as I got to know more and more people, I discovered that I liked working directly with photographers and clients who were doing cool, under-the-commercial-radar kind of work, and realized that most of them were online. So I started using the Internet to contact photographers and clients directly.
I found I was able to book more work quickly for myself than my agent was. Also, I was booking jobs nationally, not just in Atlanta. I subsequently discovered OneModelPlace.com, which made the task of finding new people to work with much easier. In the ensuing years, I learned how to live and work on photos, music and art anywhere there was an opportunity to do so. I continued to work with the agencies, but I was no longer dependent on them. As my reputation grew, I no longer had to go to castings. More agents wanted to work with me, which was ironic since they got to know me from jobs I had gotten on my own. To be fair, the agencies have gotten me many of my larger clients and high paying jobs, but they became interested in me because of the more creative work I was doing.
I worked very hard to learn all aspects of my craft and ended up knowing a lot about styling, makeup, graphics, and logistics. That, combined with a strong and up-to-date portfolio, has kept me working constantly. I am even called by artists to help style their shoots and cast talent for their projects. It has been quite an evolution.
OMP: How did you discover One Model Place?
Jillian Ann: Someone invited me to join OMP, then all of the sudden the light bulb went off in my head, and I thought, “I can use this to go anywhere and work anywhere!” I was always doing music — either performing or recording all over — but I worked it out so I could do the music and then model on the off days. Often times I would be in a city for a few days for a show or to record, and I would use OMP to contact clients and photographers to let them know I would be there and see if they wanted to shoot. OMP has always worked and continues to do so, and has been an amazing way to make new connections and friends all over the world.
OMP: How do you think OMP has helped your career?
Jillian Ann: OMP is the easiest site I have found for connecting to photographers and potential clients. Because of OMP’s search capacities, I could narrow down my search to exactly who I was looking for. The visibility and the connections that have come through the site have been life changing. Many of the people who have really helped me move ahead in my career I met on OneModelPlace.com or through someone I knew on here. OMP has greatly helped me and has given me hundreds, if not thousands, of doors all over the world through which I can walk.
OMP: How do you describe yourself as a model?
Jillian Ann: I am a artist who happens to model. I can shape-shift, and I’ve been told that I am a good muse. I love striving for a large range of emotions and characters, which makes me pretty diverse.
I have worked for a wide range of clients, from a typical commercial client like Canon to latex designers to being the girl in the sunglasses ad. Despite my height, I’ve done runway and I’m in images that hang in art galleries.
For me, it is about being the best I can be no matter what the job is, how much they pay or what they ask. When I do something, I commit to it 100%. I have been one of the ones out there trying to bend and break the old rules and dissolve concepts like “you can’t do this if you do that.” The only that matters is making great pictures. I was told by a photographer that I am the model with a thousand faces, and a thousand characters. I guess that’s true, but now I am looking for 1001.
OMP: What are some of your favorite shoots and credits?
Jillian Ann: I like to travel, so I love being taken on location. I have been taken to Paris and Prague. Currently I am in Australia shooting with Zoe Wiseman, which is amazing, and it is shaping up to be one of the best and most fun adventures ever. Shooting on location in Indonesia was amazing and really an adventure. I lived and worked in Milan and that was life changing. I love shooting for new designers and have gotten to work with so many it is hard to pick my favorite ones. I have to say being taken out to crazy locations all over the world always end up top in my list.
OMP: How do you prepare for a photo shoot?
Jillian Ann: My whole life is preparing for shows or shoots, it seems. So it has impacted my lifestyle totally. I always eat well, I drink lots of water, I take the best care of my skin and hair. Before shoots I sleep and relax as much as I can. I make sure I know what is expected. Often I get to art direct and/or style as well, so I usually make sure I have wardrobe, shoes, everything I may need and more.
I always carry a pretty big kit, just in case, as anytime I didn’t I ended up regretting it. The kit has makeup in case the artist doesn’t show, hair supplies for the same reason, clothing and everything to go with it, shoes, accessories and so on.
OMP: What do you concentrate on during a shoot?
Jillian Ann: Being fully present, being fully there — mind, body and soul. Connecting with my heart, mind, body and emotions. Then focusing on the camera. Sometimes I am asked to look like I am not there and then I will go into my mind and daydream, because that can look great as well. I visualize what they want and then try to connect to them while shooting and sync with them. To sync is really important and sometimes it’s harder, but if I can lock in, magic always happens.
It’s kinda like when you kiss — there is a moment when you really connect and nothing else matters. I try to get to that place whenever I am being creative. There is nothing else in that moment but that connection and the creation that comes out of it.
See more of Jillian Ann on her OMP Portfolio
Watch for the second and third installments of our exclusive interview with Jillian Ann later this week in the OMP Blog!