Every year around this time I get very nostalgic of my start in the modeling world. I'm incredibly grateful for my start and I like to reflect and appreciate how it all began. Recently, I was watching America's Next Top Model with Ashley Graham and Khrystyana. It just amazes me how far the plus size / fashion industry has come. I posted on my Instagram Story that I had gotten discovered by Tyra Banks herself and it was so surprising on how many of you didn't know that! As my 8th modeling anniversary approaches this year, I'd like to pay an extra special homage to my beginning. I apologize for the low quality images in this post, they're all from 2010! It's also amazing to see how far photo quality has come!
Posted on a whim:
Flash back to January of 2010, I was a senior in high school accepted on early decision to Clarkson University. My mom had suggested that I go online and apply for scholarships, since the price of private school tuition was not cheap. Instead, I found myself wandering the internet, stumbling upon The Tyra Show's website. Back in 2010, Tyra Banks had a daytime talk show and she had just announced that she was hosting a "Fiercely Real Teen Model Search." Instead of calling it "plus size" she was calling it "fiercely real." If you were a teenager (13-19), above a size 12 and taller than 5"9 you were eligible to enter. My friend and I saw the contest and kind of laughed about it, daring me to enter. I had always been comfortable in front of a camera, thanks to my dad's love for taking pictures but I never thought of modeling as an option. I submitted my senior portraits on a whim. People were posting their submissions on the forum so quickly, my photos went from page 1 to page 25 by the time I refreshed. So to be honest, I kind of forgot about it.
Busted (for good reason):
A few days later, I got an email from a producer named Michael Carandang. He thanked me for my submission but asked me to follow the directions and submit the photos that they were requesting: typical model digitals including full body, 3/4 shot, side profile and an up close face shot. I was a little taken back that they emailed me but I didn't think much of it, to be honest. However, that night at the dinner table included a conversation something like this: "Mom, I did something I shouldn't have... Instead of looking up scholarships, I posted my pictures on Tyra Banks' website and just got an email from a producer asking for more images."
One of the very few times not listening to my mother paid off. We googled the producer's name to make sure he was legitimate, he was, so we proceeded to respond back to him. My aunt came over the next day and helped me take my very first digitals! Things continued to move very fast, once we submitted the proper images, I was notified that I had been selected to be in the top 100. Next day: top 50, next day: top 25, top 20, top 15, then it dwindled down to the top 10. I was interviewed on the phone a few times and then I was notified that my image was going to be shown to Tyra, who then was going to select the top 6 to be in the contest. Apparently, Tyra was laying in the dentist's chair when she was selecting these images. I was selected to appear in the top six, flying to New York with my mom. Before we were allowed to get on the plane, we had to record a video promoting Tyra's BIO Campaign: Beauty Inside Out. From the time I posted my pictures, to the time that we got on the plane was just about a week. It was a whirlwind.
Off to NY:
But the whirlwind had only begun. The contest had a very similar format to ANTM except that we were all underage, they couldn't house us together alone. We were put up in a hotel for a little less than a week. We were told to report to the lobby at 8:00AM every morning, without our mothers. My mother of course came down in a separate elevator and hid in the lobby bushes just to make sure we were in good hands. We were, the producers were incredibly kind to us and made us feel comfortable.
We filmed for three days. The first two days were themed photo shoots in a studio: a fitness shoot sponsored by Nike, a shoot sponsored by Torrid and a celebrity themed shoot (I was Fergie). See my final photos below:
The last day we were filming in The Tyra Show studio, where the top 6 filmed two episodes of the show, where we were dwindled down to find the winner based off of the shoots and challenges that we did the previous days.
The judges included Tyra Banks, Jon Illani (former Wilhelmina agent), Whitney Thompson (first plus size ANTM winner, cycle 10) and Ann Shoket (former editor of Seventeen Magazine). Just as the models are judged on ANTM, each of us were called to the judges stand to be critiqued on our photos. I'm pretty sure this shot below is when Whitney told me I had a snooty nose, something that still makes me giggle!
I am completely cringing at my outfit choices, by the way. 2010 was not a great time for fashion in my life.
And the results are in:
The judges gave me great feedback, seemed to like me and somehow I made it through four rounds, ending up in the top TWO with fellow contestant, Sheridan Watson. All in all, I ended up being the runner up in the competition.
Although I had lost, I was incredibly grateful for the experience and here Tyra said that she wanted me to pursue a career in modeling. She told me to stick around, that she wanted to connect me with with an agency.
As soon as I got backstage, I was immediately stripped of my microphone & borrowed clothing and told to leave. I was confused because Tyra just told me to stick around because she wanted to connect me with an agency. 17 year old me had my first dose of reality television, 25 year old me is still waiting for that call from Tyra!
After about a month of sulking that I lost, I quickly snapped out of it and realized that if I made it this far I should pursue it- can't hurt, right? Luckily, I had grabbed the business cards of the judges and decided to make those connections on my own. At seventeen years old, I was negotiating my own rates and flying myself to NYC to shoot for Seventeen Magazine. Once the show aired, a lady named Madeline Jones from Plus Model Magazine was sitting on her couch watching and decided to track me down. She really believed in me and helped me sign with a few agencies, leading to me signing with my current agency, Dorothy Combs Models in 2012. Since then, I've gone on to work for major clients such as Forever 21, Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, Macy's, Sydney's Closet, Deb Shops, Venus, Elomi, Dia & Co, Fashion To Figure, Dillard's, and many more! I am also incredibly proud to say I graduated from Clarkson University in May 2014 as the Senior Class President with a dual bachelor's degree in Innovation & Entrepreneurship (business) and Psychology. I am incredibly grateful to my family at Clarkson who believed in me and allowed me to go to school and travel for modeling jobs.
Although this post is long, it's really only the tip of the iceburg when it comes to my beginning in the modeling industry and how things really happened after. Just picture this as a moment of time that catapulted a series of other events. I learned a lot from this experience and I will forever be grateful for my start in the industry! This is a prime example of going for it, you never know how it can change your life forever. I can still vividly remember my time and experiences this year, a time that forever changed my life. I'm happy to answer any questions about my experiences, so feel free to leave them below!
If you'd like to read a more in depth feature of the shows: be sure to check them out on Judgement of Paris' site for episode 1 here and episode 2 here! All of the screen shots from the show are from his site, so thank you Judgement of Paris.
Here are a few more photos from the show that I will cherish forever :)
Hello, beauties! I've recently received a good amount of feedback asking for my "go-to" makeup look. It's quite funny to me because I don't really think that my "natural/everyday" makeup is anything special because I am so used to getting glam for my job! However, this year I've really learned the importance of "less is more." And now, more than ever, I've noticed that makeup artists have been focusing on the beauty of skin and applying fewer products. My friend & fellow model Rosa Barney taught me some life-changing techniques that have totally transformed my "natural" beauty routine as well!
Here are the products that I use every day– whether I am going for a more natural look or going for a more dramatic look, I ALWAYS start with these products. I will be featuring some of these products and how I use them on my Instagram Story so please head on over to @CaralynMirand to see those. I will save them on my profile for a week! Full disclosure: I am NOT a professionally trained makeup artist, I just sit in the makeup chair and LOVE all things makeup. I like to think that I have an "insider's scoop" into what the professionals are using but I am definitely not a professional! I just have a passion for the industry and sharing with you! :)
The font in bold and all images are clickable- so you can shop the products by clicking either one of those!
Step 1 // Prime & Prep
With cleansed and moisturized skin, I first apply a primer. Let's talk about primers for a minute: I was incredibly skeptical about primers- whether they really work or not. Let me tell you, after many trials, I've discover that primers actually do WORK! Especially if you are going for long wear, you'll want to be sure that you're applying an even base to your skin before applying more makeup. This Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer is the one primer that I've seen makeup artists use over and over again. It is worth every penny because it makes your skin feel velvety smooth and one bottle will last you a good amount of time.
Step 2 // Apply Your Base
BB creams and CC creams or Beauty Balm creams and Color Correcting creams are NOT all created equal. I've had the opportunity to try over a dozen of these products and these are my two favorites. BB/CC creams are great alternatives to foundations because they are buildable- which means that you can apply your desired amount for either light to full coverage.
This Beauty Balm Instant Solutions® SPF 35 by Trish McEvoy has changed my skin. It's an all-in-one skin perfector that instantly primes, brightens, evens, hydrates, controls oil, rejuvenates and protects skin. It's a little pricey but it is truly magic- it works great alone without primer (as it has one build in) or underneath foundation for a full coverage look that will last you ALL DAY LONG!
If you're looking for a less expensive option, this Your Skin But Better™ CC+™ Cream with SPF 50+ by IT Cosmetics is my second choice. It applies a little thicker since it was designed to have fuller coverage. This color-correcting cream provides full, flawless coverage and protects skin with SPF 50+ UVA/UVB broad-spectrum physical sunscreen. It is clinically shown to increase hydration, smooth texture, and enhance brightness. The breakthrough formula never creases or cracks and instantly camouflages skin imperfections including dark spots. I like to wear this more during the summer months or on vacation, since I like having a higher SPF on my fave while I'm in the sun!
Step 3 // Conceal
Sometimes foundation or BB/CC cream just doesn't cover everything that it needs to! Cue the holy grail of makeup– concealer. I'm not sure what I'd do without it! Sometimes when I'm feeling REALLY lazy, I'll just apply concealer and curl my lashes. These two concealers have been my longtime favorites, I keep going back to them. One has a creamier consistency and the other is more matte- depending on what look you're trying to achieve.
Step 4 // Set The Wet
I didn't realize how important it was to SET YOUR FACE! This means you need to set your bb creams, foundation, concealer with a translucent powder. Think of it like this: not using a setting powder is like not using hairspray after doing your hair. Anytime you apply anything wet to your face, you want to make sure you are setting it. Translucent powder locks in makeup for long-lasting wear, without adding weight or texture. You can use a loose powder or a pressed powder- depending on your preference. For travel, I like a pressed one but I keep a loose powder at home too.
Step 5 // All About The Eyes & Brows
This step really depends on how motivated you are. At the absolute least, I will curl my lashes with my SHISEIDO Eyelash Curler and apply Trish McEvoy Instant Eye Lift underneath my eyes for a bare (but still awake) look. Next, I apply Trish McEvoy Eye Base Essentials Brighting Eyeshadow Primer. This work really well underneath eyeshadows, to keep them in place all day OR alone just as a nude base for your lids. From there, I will add in this Intense Gel Eyeliner Pencil in the upper lids underneath my lashes, if that makes sense. I could seriously do a whole blog post on this liner- it has changed my life. Instead of swiping in a line like you normally would, you dot it. Check out my Insta Story for a better visual on how to do this!
Now onto mascara- I recently discovered this lash curling mascara, and to be honest with you I've never gotten so many compliments on my lashes. It is UNBELIEVABLE. Its a better-than-waterproof tubular curling mascara formula that comes off with warm water. It wraps, amplifies and curls each and every lash while resisting moisture so that it keeps its just-applied look until it's intentionally removed. When you're ready to wash it off, the mascara slides off your lashes with only warm water. You have to try it- I cannot go back to regular mascara after that!
Step 6 // Glow & Bronze
If the winter blues have got you feeling pale and sad- look no further, these two products are my go-to's year round. The Milk Matte Bronzer Stick for the face and body provides instant hydration and a glowing look- all in one. It's so easy to apply and rub in with fingers or a brush. Now, if you're looking for a glow-y palette that DOES IT ALL- look no further. I was extremely skeptical of the BECCA X Chrissy Teigen Glow Face Palette but it is really amazing. It has a bronzer, blush and two pressed highlighters for you to mix and match with. You can literally apply it anywhere on your face, depending on what kind of look you're going for. I often use the highlighter as an eyeshadow if I'm feeling fancy!
Step 7 // Add A Lip
I almost always forget this step, especially if I'm in a rush because I am typically just a Blistex Lip Medex kinda girl. I usually apply my lip in the car when I look in the mirror and realize I have a full face of makeup on and a pale lip. These lip products below are a few of my favorites that I have bouncing around in my purse at all times so that I can apply on the go!
And that is my seven step easy-peasy natural face! Very curious to know what you think about this! Would you be interested in more of these? Please leave a comment below!
I had the privilege of attending Glamour Magazine's Women Of The Year Summit. This invitation-only full-day summit, created by the editors of Glamour put me in the room with the most amazing female trailblazers and newsmakers—the women breaking down barriers and making headlines all across the world.
The day was filled with compelling conversations, moving dialogue, action plans, and breakout sessions covering the issues that matter most to women, which is why I wanted to share the day with you all! The event took place at Brooklyn Museum for an epic day chock-full of inspiring, hilarious, thought-provoking, community-building content and awesome immersive experiences.
It is my mission to inspire my audience! I want to support and show you all that I know about boss women. In case you missed my Snapchat (@caralynm) or Instagram Story (@CaralynMirand), here are my top five favorite moments from the day:
Cameron Russell Speaking Out About Sexual Harassment in the Modeling Industry.
Model, writer, and activist Cameron Russell gave an incredible speech about the sexual harassment experiences she's dealt with through the years. "At its best, modeling is a creative partnership," she says. But at its worst, the industry allows for opportunities where gatekeepers can abuse their power. "I didn't consent to any of this," she explains. "I think the correct word is tolerate...without tolerating these things, I couldn't have worked as a model."
Ashley Graham and Mattel presenting the first Hijab-Wearing Barbie for US Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad
Ashely was the perfect person to present this because she received her very own custom Barbie last year with NO thigh gap! As a young girl, Ibtihaj used to sew tiny hijabs onto her dolls. Now, she hopes this will inspire little girls across the country to embrace what makes themselves unique. "This is such a big moment for little girls everywhere," she says.
SURPRISE GUEST Dr. Jill Biden and Joe Biden talking about finding purpose in work, relationships and each other.
These two surprised EVERYONE when they were announced by Glamour Editor-In-Chief Cynthia Leive. They discussed the former Vice President's new memoir about their late son, Beau that passed. The conversation flowed freely from everything to their relationship with the Obama's to sexual assault. Joe says that his father always told him, "The greatest sin a person can commit is the abuse of power." It's time to change the culture, he says. "Women hold up half the sky, and it's time this ends," he continues. "Don't let this slow up. This is the time to fundamentally change the culture of how women are treated in American society."
The Biden's also discussed their admirable relationship. "Everybody knows I love her more than she loves me," Joe jokes. They have built a marriage based on respect and kindness. Jill similtaniously made the audience go "aww" when she described that she was having a rough day, and she discovered a bouquet of yellow flowers in her car that Joe had left for her. "He knew how I was feeling," she says. "I thought that was so kind." #GOALS.
Lunch with DVF (casual)
At a power lunch hosted by PepsiCo, Ruchi Bhowmik, senior vice president of public policy and government affairs for North America at PepsiCo, introduced a conversation between artist and poet Cleo Wade and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. The women started the discussion by talking about beauty. "Beauty is perfect in it’s imperfection," Diane says. "If you have a big nose, that actually may be your biggest asset. It’s all about the character. When I work with models, I always tell them, 'Don’t be a model, be a woman. Just focus on being on the woman you want to be, and then own it.'"
Epic speech from Naomi Campbell about getting what you want
Model, actress, and activist Naomi Campbell gave an incredible monologue on how to stand up for yourself. "I always encourage people to ask for what you want," she says. "When you’re told no, you should ask for feedback so you can get better." She shared how she worked hard to get her first cover of French Vogue, after initially being told no. That experience then gave her the confidence to try for the American Vogue cover. For her, it was more than getting a cover. "Those pictures weren’t just victories for me," she says. "They were victories for women of color around the world."
Overall it was an incredible day that left me feeling so inspired and motivated to continue on with my own journey. I left the day with a huge smile on my face. In addition to an incredible swag bag, I felt that I was leaving with SO much stuff to think about. There was so much girl power in one room- it left me wanting to join the women on that stage one day.
Descriptions of the event credit to Glamour Magazine Blog.
To view the full schedule and streaming from the day, check it out here!
Major thank you to Glamour Magazine for the invitation, I hope to be included in this powerful day next year!
This week on my Instagram Story, I asked what kinds of things you wanted to see on the blog and you all voted for me to write another "Let's Get Caught Up" post! I've been having so much fun with these Instagram Polls- it's been so interesting to see what you all have been thinking. More often than not, your answers are very surprising to me! They've been super helpful though when it comes to creating content that you want to see. The first "Let's Get Caught Up" did so well, so here we go again!
Some things I've been up to lately:
- Joined a new gym! Every now and then I need to switch things up to keep myself motivated and excited about working out. I've found when things get monotonous, I put less effort in. The new gym I joined is offered to only women- which I have been loving!
- Had the honor of joining my friend and fellow bride-to-be Kristin during her dress shopping journey. We didn't end up finding anything, but we had a fun day! We don't get to see each other often, so anytime we get together is a good time. It's been so fun to go through this wedding planning process with her.
- Worked New York City's lingerie Market Week for one of my favorite clients! It's five days of meetings when companies / retailers come visit lingerie brands to see what new styles they want to buy for the coming year. My job as a model is to fit the bras perfectly and show the buyers how the garments fit on a real body! So basically it’s live modeling, standing in a board room in my undies. 😂👙 Sounds weird, but I've gotten used to it!
- Traveled to Miami for a three day work trip for another one of my clients! It was so nice to feel the sunshine and see palm trees- even though I was inside working most of the time. It really makes me excited for my Thanksgiving/birthday vacation down in Florida!
- Lastly, I have been working on a REALLY exciting project for about six weeks now. I've had to keep it a secret, but I will finally be able to announce it on Monday! I cannot wait! Please stay tuned on my Instagram around midday for the special announcement. 😍 In the meantime, I'll be taking a little social media break over this weekend to focus on family time and to decompress. I'll be back on Monday with my special news!
Some things I'm loving lately:
- I've been fully embracing the mule / slides trend this year - it's borderline addition status. That's why I was SO EXCITED to find a pair that were only $40! Check them here!
- Ollie dog food- well, I haven't been enjoying it but my dog Walter sure has! It's wholesome, human-grade, and full of fruits and veggies—nothing artificial ever. It has customized portions based on your dog's activity level, age, and more. I am currently working on getting a special discount code from them for you! Stay tuned for that! 🐾
- Anyone looking for a digital camera, I just bought this Sony one and my life is changed forever! It's the best digital camera out there right now and it's SO easy to use.
- One of my all time favorite bloggers @MalloryErvin just posted her pregnancy announcement and it made me shed a lil tear- so stinking cute!
- SOUP! I love trying all different kinds of soups during the fall- sometimes to a fault (I'm bad at eating leftovers). However this Skinnytaste southwestern inspired soup is a winner!
Sometimes it’s important for me to really relax, unwind and be away from social media. I often get so caught up in it and distracted that I need to make a conscious choice to take a break. What do you do to relax and unwind? I can't wait to read what you do in the comment section below!
In order to be a successful model, you must 'test' or shoot with different photographers to keep your portfolio fresh. From Ashley Graham to Heidi Klum, all models do this! These shoots are typically paid for by the model- unless you're incredibly sought after. However, when you're starting out most models have to pay. Think of them as an investment in yourselves, these pictures are an opportunity for agencies & clients to see you in a new way. In order to have a successful test, there a few different factors that you need to consider:
- Choose your photographer wisely. Make sure that you have done your research on desired photographer; checking out their website, Instagram or have talked to other models about working with them. It's important that their photography style aligns with the look that you are going for.
- Know what you're getting. Be sure to ask the photographer what is included in their rates. Some photographers have different packages to select from. It's important to know how many different looks/outfits are you shooting, if hair and makeup is included, how long they take to get the pictures back to you and how many final retouched images you get back from them.
- Styling matters! In most cases, models are expected to style their own shoots. This means you are required to bring your own clothes, shoes and jewelry. It is always helpful for me to go on to Pinterest and search ideas that I have to get inspiration. This way, the photographer and hair/makeup artist know what your vision is. If you don't feel comfortable styling your own shoot, hire a clothing stylist. Jenesee Utley, Heather Dinneen and Maxey Greene are a few of my favorites. I have hired them all for my test shoots and highly recommend all of them!
- Hair and makeup matters! This can make or break the shoot. In my experience, it's always best to start with light and simple hair and makeup for the first couple of looks for the shoot. Clients want to see what you really look like! From there, you can add a little more dramatic makeup to enhance your beauty, not distract from it.
- Know what you want. Test shoots are an opportunity for the model to express herself in a new way that hasn't been seen before. It's important to have a good grasp on the art direction that you'd like to go in. You are in charge of where things go- it's extra helpful to have pictures of inspiration to show the hair and makeup direction.
- Be a part of the selection process. You are your best advocate in the modeling industry! AND you are paying for these! Therefore, you need to be a part of selecting your final images to be retouched. Once I make my first round of selects, I pass the images off to my agency to look through and pick their favorites. If you don't have an agency yet, work with the photographer to select the images that make you seem the most marketable.
- Use your images wisely. Once you have your final images, now it's time to share them! Your agency should update their website and create a new comp card for you to market your new pictures to new clients! Hopefully with these new images, you will gain some new clients. Also, feel free to share your new photos on your social media platforms! Just be sure not to post them all at once! Use them as an opportunity to show your followers what you've been up to!
- Do it all again. I try to test every 4-6 months, averaging to 2-3 times a year. This is to keep my portfolio updated and looking fresh! You never know what picture will make a client say "I want to book her!" Testing frequently is also great way to have content to post on social media.
I hope this helps you! I've been testing with different photographers for about eight years now, not every shoot has been a success. Don't get discouraged. It's important to keep trying new things to see what works! You never know until you try. Nonetheless, test shoots are excellent practice for aspiring or younger models. After all, it is our job to be comfortable in front of the camera!
One of the best parts about being a model is that I have access to some of the top hair and makeup artists in the industry. Every time I sit in their chair, I learn new techniques and about new skincare and beauty products. With that said, I am often asked about my favorite products so I've decided to compile a list to share with you! These are actual products that I use every day and this post is NOT sponsored. I just wanted to share the love! I could seriously write a novel about how many products I love, so I've decided to categorize these into three different posts. These products are all included in my every day skincare routine. Stay tuned for part two/ three: my favorite makeup and hair products! Click on the titles to purchase.
One could say that I have a pretty high maintenance beauty routine. It takes me a good 10 minutes to get ready for bed. I truly believe in taking care of your skin and making sure you're washing off the makeup & dirt! Here's what I have been using every day:
ORIGINS Checks and Balances™ Frothy Face Wash, $23
Why I love it: it gently yet efficiently cleans my skin without making it feel overly dry.
Why I love it: I use this with a cotton round to get off any extra bit of dirt/ grime from the day, makes my skin feel refreshed. The alcohol free formula prevents it from feeling dry.
For days when there's a lot of makeup, I use:
NEUTROGENA Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes, $6
Why I love it: There are some days when I have so much makeup on, I need all hands on deck to get it off. These gentle wipes get EVERYTHING off. They leave my skin feeling refreshed, never dry.
SKIN / FACE:
TRISH McEVOY Beauty Balm Instant Solutions® SPF 35, $86
Why I love it: Yes, this is makeup. However, technically it is skincare. It does INCREDIBLE things to your skin. I never believed in BB / CC creams until I found this. It has buildable coverage- you can wear a little or a lot. I also receive compliments whenever I wear it. Does good and feels good- how can you not?
There are many different opportunities that I’ve been able to experience as a model. Working lingerie / swim market week is definitely one of my favorite ones. It’s a nice change of pace from my typical work in front of a camera. I also have the opportunity to work at trade shows in convention centers. When I work market weeks and trade shows, I am hired as a showroom model. The swimwear/ lingerie brand has the opportunity to meet with their vendors/buyers and pitch their new styles for the upcoming year. Basically, I am giving the buyers an opportunity to see the product on a real body, as opposed to a mannequin or hanger. I like to think of it as “live modeling.” I quickly learned that my presence/job is extremely important when it comes to driving sales. If I look great, happy and confident- there is a much higher chance of the product selling to the buyer. If I walk into the room slumped, with no energy or excitement, it is not very enticing to the buyer. I'm incredibly grateful to work with Eveden brands, I've learned so much about how to properly fit a bra. Speaking of which, blog post on that coming soon!
Here are some of my favorite looks from this season’s curve shows, coming soon! Which is your favorite look? I'd love to hear!
Morgan bra, Elomi
Matilda in hot pink, Elomi
Incredibly grateful to work with other models! Wearing Elomi Swim & Freya Swim.
From left to right: Jihan Amher @jihanamer, Meaghan McCarthy @meaghanmccarth, Caralyn Mirand @caralynmirand
From left to right: Meaghan McCarthy @meaghanmccarth, Caralyn Mirand @caralynmirand, Jihan Amher @jihanamer