I had the pleasure of meeting and working with fitness talent Holly Bricken as she took a road trip to move herself from Texas to San Diego, CA. The shoot was a stellar success and since then I’ve had the opportunity to have several conversations with Holly about her work in the industry, lessons learned and some of her insights. Here is our latest such conversation.
James Patrick: Let’s start the interview off with your brand. How would you define your brand and how do you make sure it remains consistent?
Holly Bricken: When I decided to make my leap into the fitness industry, I wanted my brand, Holly Bricken Fitness, to drive others toward living a healthy, fit lifestyle rather than just looking for extreme measures for losing weight. Although I tend to stay extremely busy (I work a full-time job in addition to my fitness life), I try to stay connected with both friends and fans, answering questions and offering advice when possible. Being approachable is something I continue to consider a high priority, as the openness of other top fitness professionals helped me with my entry into the industry when I was first getting started.
JP: You have been very vocal about how to choose the right photographers for a portfolio. Tell us a little about your process for that.
HB: Choosing photographers who are in-line with your style makes all the difference between getting “good” photos and getting “great” photos. I’m constantly looking through photographers’ portfolios and taking recommendations from fellow models and athletes. For me, it’s become super easy to catch a photography style that speaks to me by browsing through a portfolio of work. The most important thing for people who are just starting out is to remember that just because someone owns a camera and claims to be a photographer doesn’t mean they are highly trained or have the experience to shoot fitness specific images.
JP: We’ve also talked a lot about how talents should protect themselves from those who don’t have their best interests at heart. Can you share with us some of your insights on how talents can protect themselves in the industry.
HB: Protecting yourself should be top priority to anyone walking into a shoot. Be sure to carefully read any model release put in front of you. Most times, photographers own your images, even if you have paid for the shoot, and can do what they please with them. If you sign away all your rights to your images however, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment down the road. Also, all too often models pose for photos without thinking about the future impact these images could potentially have. When an image is uploaded to the web, it is there FOREVER whether you like it or not – there is no going back. Be mindful of this when shooting.
JP: You have been featured in a variety of publications including Natural Muscle, Status, and Muscle & Fitness. You also have a few other large features coming out soon. What can you share with us about how you’ve marketed yourself to the print media?
HB: For any model whose goal is to be featured in print media, marketing yourself is key. I can’t even begin to tell you how much time I’ve spent researching contacts, how many emails and photos I’ve sent, and how many phone calls I’ve made to connect with the amazing people I’ve worked with. Anyone can send bulk emails out to the masses, but being able to show your personality and actually carry on a conversation with a publisher, editor, creative team, and photographers is what will get you noticed.
JP: You and I have talked a lot about goal setting in the past. What is your process for setting goals, how do you monitor your goals, and what do you do to reach and surpass the goals you set, etc?
HB: Goal setting has become a huge part of my life in the past three years and I feel it has contributed to my success in the fitness industry. After working with a life and goal coach (Janine Goulet of J9 Vision) and learning how to successfully separate my goals, set time frames for these goals, and make a plan of action, my dreams started to become a reality. As life changes, so do goals, so modifying and adding new goals is something I do weekly. There is nothing like looking at your goal list and seeing check marks next to all the things you’ve set out for yourself.
JP: You are signed with Optimum Nutrition and have worked with them for a while. Can you share some of your insights on what the process of being sponsored was like and how other talents can approach that side of the industry?
HB: Being sponsored by the leading supplement company in the industry is a dream come true (it was actually on my original vision board and goal list!). Since I had been using ON’s products from the onset of getting into fitness and changing my diet, I knew this was the only company I wanted to work with. I submitted my info to their Athlete Manager and 8 months later the other athletes of TEAM ON were welcoming me to the ON family!
My best advice for anyone looking for a sponsor is to find a company whose products you use and stand behind. Being passionate about a product will show and most importantly, it will make any work you do for your sponsor enjoyable.
JP: Lastly, you recently moved out to California from Texas. What new goals have you set for yourself and your work out there?
HB: My number one goal since moving to California is to take some time to truly enjoy my new surroundings. Being outdoors and active is something I love and having the incredible southern California weather makes being outdoors almost mandatory. It seems like there’s always an event going on here in San Diego, so I’m jumping at the opportunity to be more involved in running events, races, and fundraising events.
Special thanks to Holly Bricken for participating in this interview!