When did you decide that you wanted to step in front of the camera?
The first time I truly stepped in the front of the camera was after my very first fitness competition in 2007. I was motivated by a friend to push my fitness limits and compete in the fitness model division of Model America in Las Vegas. With 4 months of prep I stepped on stage not knowing what I was doing and got 11th place (6th in bikini) out of 40 girls. Because I didn’t get top ten, I set my eyes on the next competition to do even better. The competition was America’s Fittest Model the very next April. I had to submit photos of myself in order to compete and so embarked on my first photo shoot. It was fun, but I was stiff and uncomfortable in front of the camera. I trained myself for the competition but also how to be more comfortable shooting since there was a photography round in this competition. I ended up taking first place overall and in the photo shoot round. After that experience I found a new passion.
Early on, what did you do to differentiate yourself from other talents?
In order to differentiate yourself in this industry I believe you need to make your best qualities shine and find that “something” within you that people can relate to and expound on it. One person may have strong sex appeal, while another has a nurturing mother persona and another may be a hardcore athlete with gold metals around her neck. I think we all at the core of our beings are very different people, so the work of “differentiating” is more of figuring out who you really are vs. making yourself something that you think to be marketable.
I have approached the fitness industry wanting to represent fitness at its purest state. I want people to understand the need to take a full lifestyle approach when it comes to their health. I gravitate towards a holistic and natural way of fitness and nutrition. The reason I model is to be a role model and inspiration to other women and I want that inspiration to be that you can be strong, fit and beautiful without being overly “sexy” or provocative. I like to think of it as “the fit girl next door”.
What have been some successful things you have done in efforts of marketing what you do?
The best form of marketing is relationship marketing. I maintain my relationships with others whether it is the marketing director of a company I have modeled for or a personal training client that I haven’t seen in a while. It is important to stay in the minds of those you want to work with, and in their mind for a good reason. Keep in personal contact beyond mass forms of communication, write thank you letters, even pick up the phone to talk to them or better yet meet face to face for lunch. Maintain the relationships and the business will continue to come through them and or through their referrals. Word of mouth is the most powerful tool you have.
What is your strategy for targeting and approaching potential clients?
I have a vision board and I write down all of my goals. Visualizing what I want to achieve helps me stay focused. I approach each potential client with confidence and the mindset that I truly am the best fit for the position; whether as their trainer or as a model for their product. Having a confidence that doesn’t cross the line of arrogance is key. I work towards companies that will further strengthen my brand and with clients who I can truly help within my scope of practice.
How have you revised or modified your marketing efforts as your career has grown?
As I have grown my brand as a personal trainer and fitness model, I have learned the immense importance of brand consistency. I have a degree in marketing and so I understood this concept well, but had never thought of myself as a brand before. I have learned that having an image people can remember and relate to creates so much strength and credibility to a person or business. I have become better at making sure my brand is consistent from my photos to my business cards to my boot camp brochures and even my Facebook Page. All of this has helped to create a stronger position for myself in the industry.
What sort of prep work do you do prior to a photo shoot?
Just as in marketing a product, you want the best image or representation of what you are selling to shine through. In this case I am marketing my image; whether to motivate people to train with me or to land the modeling gig. I have to be at my best both physically and mentally for the day of the shoot. Preparation includes everything from getting my nails done, having natural spray tans, facials, getting my hair cut and colored, making sure my nutrition is tight and focused as well as my workouts. I make sure to get plenty of rest and keep my body hydrated. All the things we should be doing on a daily basis to keep ourselves healthy and beautiful are just heightened a bit before a shoot.
If I am in control of the shoot I make sure I know exactly what I want to get out of it. Depending on whether I am shooting for my portfolio, a cover attempt, or my personal training business I will prepare the perfect location, outfit and jewelry and use the color scheme and “feeling” that will best sell the image for its intended purpose. Pictures are pretty, but if you don’t have a purpose for them, they are only that.
What has been an accomplishment in your career that you are most proud of?
I have won a fitness title, been in national commercials, have sponsorships, etc. but I honestly have to say that what I am most proud of are the accomplishments I get with my clients from being a personal trainer. When I see an elderly client of mine get out of a wheel chair and walk for the first time in over a year, or have a breakthrough with a client who has struggled with an eating disorder, or help a man in his late 50’s have a harder body than he did in his 20’s… that is what makes me proud. It is because of these people and these accomplishments that I ultimately market myself through fitness modeling. The modeling creates a platform for me to inspire, touch and ultimately enhance the lives of others through the power of health and fitness.
What are some of the most important lessons you have learned in establishing yourself?
No one wants it more than you do. You cannot wait around expecting to be catapulted into the position you desire. You must work hard to get where to want to be in life, whatever that may be. Be hungry for it and keep working towards it. I have also learned that it is a consistent pursuit and not a destination. Once you have established yourself, keep reinventing, improving and evolving because a cover only lasts so long, a commercial only lasts so long, a client only trains for so long… continue to learn and you will continue to grow.
What advice would you give to others looking to establish themselves as a talent in the health and fitness industry?
My advice would be to figure out what your true motivation is for being a fitness model. Figure out what you bring the table that can enhance the industry and what your game plan is to make it happen. We are in the fitness industry, yet so many people that are supposed to represent the “healthy” are anything but. Don’t go through unhealthy ways of getting lean, gaining muscle and appearing to be fit. Get your body and mind healthy and your physique will shine through. Last but not least, enjoy it. If you have fun modeling and you have passion for it, go for it.
See more of Lauren McBride and her work on her official website www.laurenmcbride.com