"Anyone can be a model; not many can be a role model. My goal is to be a role model for those who look up to me. Think about it... many girls and boys who are exposed to your social media, advertisements and work could eventually see you as someone they look up to. I know this sounds quite odd coming from someone in the fashion industry but, looks aren't everything. I believe inner beauty is more important. If you are beautiful on the inside, it will show on the outside. This is why I do work for the Fred Hollows Foundation, the RUOK? Organisation and why I decided to publish my book. This keeps me grounded and reminds me how fortunate I am, which makes me want to help others more. I do believe you need to be the change you want to see in the world."
Teenager, Natalia Siam has been the face of Forever 21 in Australia. This remarkable girl has opened up to the world about -the savage bullying she faced at school and in the cut-throat fashion industry.
When Natalia was in sixth grade, at just 16 years old, bullies jealous of her role on a TV pilot pushed her over, breaking her leg and forcing her into a wheelchair for six months.
Fashion magazine photographers have told her she is too 'chunky' or 'fluffy', that her eyes are too close together or face too round.
But we, and most others think she is just perfect.
She contacted us, and she filled out the form online for the interview. She already built her name, but she remained grounded. We love her, and we wish her every success. Please read our interview with this beautiful, brave and generous young lady.
Hi, guys, I'm Natalia! I am 17, a model with IMG and author of the children's book, Bully Ben. When I was ten years old, I experienced a bullying incident which left me in a wheelchair for six months. During my recovery, I wrote the book and just recently publish it.
The goals of this book are:
1. to explain that you have a voice. Speak out! Tell your parents or any other authoritative figure what's going on.
2. Bullies are bullies for a reason. They are NOT bad people. Everyone has a chance to begin again and make things right.
3. To teach children empathy, kindness and understanding.
When I was 14, I was in the ELITE MODEL LOOK competition in Dubai and went through to the finals. I realised I enjoyed making friends on set, being in front of the camera and walking on the catwalk. So, I decided to give modelling a try as a career path.
How important is modelling education: Have you attended modelling courses? What related courses or studies have you taken?
I have never attended any modelling courses. Personally, I do not think it is necessary as most of the time agencies tend to send you on test shoots "development shoots" without cost. You don't need a certificate or diploma in modelling to be a good model. If you want to go to a course, by all means- go ahead! Do whatever you want to. :)
What do you think makes someone “fit” to be a model?
There're so many types of modelling, and that's great about this industry. The industry is expanding and as it expands the understanding of different body types and skin colours come with it. I think it's great to see diversity after all none of us look the same and we should all be proud of that. I believe anyone who puts their mind to it can be a model. Have a go and see if you like it- you never know!
What are your goals as a model? How do you see yourself progressing in this field?
Anyone can be a model; not many can be a role model. My goal is to be a role model for those who look up to me. Think about it... many girls and boys who are exposed to your social media, advertisements and work could eventually see you as someone they look up to. I know this sounds quite odd coming from someone in the fashion industry but, looks aren't everything. I believe inner beauty is more important. If you are beautiful on the inside, it will show on the outside. This is why I do work for the Fred Hollows Foundation, the RUOK? Organisation and why I decided to publish my book. This keeps me grounded and reminds me how fortunate I am, which makes me want to help others more. I do believe you need to be the change you want to see in the world.
What do you know about the advertisement industry, advertising psychology and photography?
As I continue to model, I continue to learn about everything around me. Hopefully, as I continue to learn, I will continue to understand more about these topics :).
How do you communicate with people? Are you patient? Are you friendly? How open are you to clients’ requirements?
With any job you do, If you are happy, kind and patient you will be a joy to work with. QUICK TIP: It is always appreciated when you bring little gifts on to the set or into the office. (e.g. cookies, coffee). I think communicating with the team is critical. But don't worry, this will get better with time and as confidence grows. Usually, I am quite happy to give everything a try, but I do have my personal limits, and I think no one should be afraid to say they have them as well. If you don't want to cut your hair, don't, if you don't want to do swimsuit modelling, don't. It's okay to have personal preferences, and agencies do respect that. Never let anyone tell you what to do if you are not comfortable doing it.
Do you eat nutritiously? How often do you exercise or go to the gym?
Having a balanced, healthy diet is critical. I write about this all the time. It's a misconception that you need to 'starve' yourself to be 'skinny'. I am a strong believer that starving won't get you anywhere except the emergency room. In fact, starving yourself can lead to some negative implications including weight gain (i wrote about this in more detail on my Instagram). Agencies adore great hair and beautiful skin, If you don't have a nutritious diet, this is not possible. Exercise is great for the body and soul. Personally, I do aerial yoga three times a week. My advice is to try out as many types of exercise as you can until you find something that works for you and stick to it.
What is your dream role as a model?
My dreams are to succeed in whatever I do and to be the best role model I can to people who look up to me.
Do you have any limitations? How do you define your boundaries when choosing to accept a modelling request?
As a model, it is always good to be open-minded. But, I think it's also good to have limitations regarding what you are comfortable with. I get questions on this all the time. Please don't think that you have to do things that you don't want to. A good agency will understand and respect your decisions about whether you want to take a job or decline it. Please don't think it's rude to pick and choose when it comes to your personal beliefs and values. For example, I know several successful models who decline nude shoots just because they don't feel comfortable doing them, and that's totally fine. Your body, Your choice.
State your availability: Would you travel? Work full-time, part time? Any hours?
Right now I am focusing on my last ten weeks of school to get the best grades I can. After that, I will be available to travel and work full time :)
Follow Natalia on Instagram: @natalia_siam
PLOT SUMMARY Ben is a mean boy. He is so mean to other children at school that everyone is calling him Bully Ben. One day Bully Ben pushes Little Girl out of his way just to look cool in front of other bullies. But the next day at school, when faced with Little Girl in a wheelchair, Bully Ben is terrified. He did not think that a little push could hurt Little Girl so badly. What will Bully Ben do? Lie to get out of trouble and still be the scariest bully in school or change his ways? *Parental guidance and tips *Free Activity ideas *Free to print Coloring page from www.facebook.com/nataliasiam and Instagram @Natalia_Siam THE AUTHOR Natalia Siam, a vibrant 16 year old currently studying in Sydney, Australia shares her terrifying encounter with a bully and explains how to deal with bullying at school. Natalia wrote Bully Ben at the age of eleven, whilst in a wheelchair recovering from her bullying experience in Dubai. “Bullying is a big problem in schools” Natalia says.“It can make kids feel hurt, sick, lonely, embarrassed, sad and scared to go back to school the next day. Bullies might hit, kick, push, call you names, threaten, tease or intimidate. A bully might say mean things about someone, grab your stuff, make fun of you or leave you out of the group on purpose. Some bullies force kids to do things they don't want to do. I hope Bully Ben will inspire parents and kids to put an end to bullying in schools.”