After much deliberation, I’ve decided to retire from modeling. I’m going to focus my time and energy on cultivating my writing, photography, videography and marketing skills. I have had an incredible 7 years in the industry, but it’s time to lay it down.
This has been a very difficult decision. I’ve always known that I couldn’t model forever, but it’s hard to walk away from something I’ve dedicated myself to for so long. I’ve built an identity, a mini-empire, and now I feel like I’m starting all over from nothing. That’s not true of course, I know many of you will follow me on this new adventure, but it’s scary, you know? If I’m not “Zephi Suicide, Star Dust Sex Kitten”, who the fuck am I? The fact that I’m having a hard time answering that question right now is my first clue that it’s time to throw in the towel and become a singular human again. The fact that I’m worried people only enjoy my company because I’m “Internet Famous”, and that people are only proud of me because of my Instagram reach is depressing and terrifying. What will I be when I don’t have that anymore? I guess we’re about to find out.
I promised myself I would stop modeling when it ceased to serve me. When I started, it was through a desire to become more empowered; to see myself in a new light. I built friendships with other models. We had meetups, group chats, went to conventions together and shouted each other out when we had new photo sets released. It was an amazing bonding experience with other girls that were also dubbed “outsiders”. Eventually, it became a sort of social experiment for me, to see how people treat sex-workers, how they treat blondes vs brunettes, how they treat someone they only know nude if she has a significant other. With the resurgence of SuicideGirls and the popularization of “Tattooed Instagram Models”, what was once on the fringe became mainstream. Lately, it’s become more of an obligation to produce non-stop sexy content and attempt to keep up with every new face that shows up on the market. In the age of internet trolls spewing hate in the comments and every fresh 18 year old becoming an “Instagram Model”, the industry has lost the magic that drove me to it in the first place.
I can honestly say that I am retiring with no regrets. From the get-go, I have seized every possible chance to put myself out there, and I have been afforded opportunities I could have never dreamed of. Now I want to take the experience, knowledge, and relationships I gained through those opportunities and turn them into something bigger than myself. I want to create something more relatable and inspiring.
As many of you know, Kyle and I are in the planning process of buying a van and building it into a home so we can travel and create full time (more on that soon, I promise). Initially, we planned for my modeling to be a part of Fresh Air but we feel that I have so much more to offer as a writer and photographer. This is a big new step for me, but I intend to throw myself into it every bit as much as I did with modeling. I would love for you to follow my evolution as an artist and keep in touch.