Cue the lights, focus the camera, and get ready for action. For some, the idea of being in the limelight is intimidating. However, the hustle, bustle and high-profile world of the fashion industry is thrilling to some, including Tullahoma’s Elizabeth Abernathy.
The 19-year-old has been modeling for approximately four years, after falling in love with the camera after her first photo shoot.
“Modeling was never something I had thought about,” said Abernathy. “I’ve never really been the girly-girl type. My mom’s friend is a photographer and suggested that I just try it. After it was over, I realized that I had a lot of fun and maybe it was something that I wanted to pursue.”
Abernathy began to work hard on her dream to become a professional model. She decided to apply to John Casablancas Center and began her modeling journey in early 2016.
John Casablancas Center is a school that helps aspiring models and actors learn the profession and how to succeed. The school is located in Brentwood, and it has additional locations throughout the United States.
Abernathy was determined to make it big in the modeling industry. Throughout high school, she spent her Saturdays at modeling school instead of hanging out with friends. Within a few years, she found herself booking more and more photoshoots.
Through John Casablancas, Abernathy was able to meet and work with Sebastian Smith, an award-winning photographer whose work has been featured in renowned publications such as Vogue magazine. Abernathy was also able to do promotions for such big-name brands as Macy’s, Affliction and Anna Sui.
While John Casablancas helped her navigate bookings, she found herself booking more and more photoshoots by herself. Soon, Abernathy found herself traveling to do what she loved. One photoshoot landed her in Las Vegas, for experience she said she’ll never forget.
“In Las Vegas we went to a dry lake bed for a photoshoot, and it was ridiculously windy,” she said. “Our hair was not staying in place, and we had to come out of our heels because the wind was pushing us around. It was very dusty, but overall it was a lot of fun because it was something I had never done before. We also went to see Red Rock Canyon which was absolutely breathtaking! The scenery was something that you see in the movies.”
While in Las Vegas, Abernathy also found herself exploring a little farther than she had initially anticipated.
“I got lost while I was there,” Abernathy added. “I had been exploring the city, and when I was ready to go back to the hotel, I had apparently gotten on the wrong bus. It took me about 30 minutes out of town. I had to call the photographer to come get me in the middle of the night.”
Being only 18 at the time, Abernathy had as much fun as she could while in Vegas. Soaking in the city scenes, taking photos in the desert atmosphere and gaining modeling experience was a perfect way for Abernathy to become exposed to life as a professional model.
As Abernathy continued to book photo shoots, she decided that she wanted to take her career to the next level. The International Model and Talent Association (IMTA) was coming to Nashville to audition aspiring models and actors.
According to its website, the IMTA is the place where the world’s top model and talent agents, managers and casting directors come to find new faces. The IMTA offers unique performance and educational opportunities for aspiring models, actors, singers, dancers and songwriters to showcase their skills and learn from the industry professionals who can get their careers started.
The IMTA was searching for new faces to add to its team and came in Nashville in January. Abernathy was nervous as she knew the stakes were high. The IMTA would only be taking on 1,000 new clients from all over the world.
In Nashville, Abernathy did an audition of a cold reading, runway modeling and she had to present headshots to be considered for a spot on the IMTA team. Approximately 235 aspiring models and actors auditioned that day.
“I was really nervous,” Abernathy said. “I just remember thinking that there was no way I was going to be picked out of over 200 people. I remember they told us the date and time that we would receive an email letting us know if we had made it back or not. I thought my email would never come.”
However, the email came for Abernathy just a few minutes before time was up and she had been one of the 26 individuals from Tennessee who got a call back.
Getting a call back from IMTA means that Abernathy will be put in front of top agents in the industry in New York in July. If she does well in front of these agents, her professional modeling career is likely to succeed as she could be signed to work for big names in the fashion industry.
As Abernathy continues to work hard at her dream, she said she hopes to use her rising profile as a vehicle to give back to her community.
“For people in small towns, we have to travel so far to pursue our dreams,” Abernathy said. “I was driving to Nashville several times a week, and I think this industry should be more assessable to those in our area who share the same passion I do. I want to open an agency here and be the first one to bring that type of business to Tullahoma.”
Abernathy believes that introducing more of a fashion forward industry to the area will be a great way to attract new people, bring new business and benefit the economy. She also hopes that it will inspire other aspiring models and actors to pursue their dreams, too.
“I know it sounds cliché, but don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something,” added Abernathy. “If you really want something, you can make it happen. Everything works out. Finances have been a struggle for me, but I keep pushing forward because I know this is what I want. It’ll all pay off one day.”
To follow Abernathy on her journey or to help her get to New York, visit her Facebook page at Lizzy Car Modeling, or follow her on Instagram @itslizziecar.
Faith Few can be reached by email at email@example.com.