Sayre, our first model of the month of 2014, is a bit of a traveler as well. She met with me to grab a drink by Atocha Station to talk about her experience and some of her plans for the future.
What brought you to Madrid?
I graduated this past May from Vasser College in the state of New York. I was looking for a way to travel some more so I applied for a position teaching English with the Spanish Ministry of Education. I would like to be a teacher and I have worked with ESL students in the past. When I got accepted, I thought this would be a good way to try out teaching and also get some traveling in.
So you said you wanted to travel more, where have you been so far?
I haven't been to many places yet. I have traveled a little bit in Latin America. I also did a study abroad program in Greece. After that, I really wanted to go back to Europe. Most recently, I've been trying to visit parts of Spain.
Did you find it difficult to leave the United States and start a new life in Madrid?
I knew it would be difficult as I come from a big family. I have my parents, my two sisters, my brother and we also foster children. We are very close and we have a lot of fun together.
How did your family get involved with fostering children?
I think my mom was ready for more kids and my dad wasn't. I think it was a happy compromise. My mom was familiar with fostering because she used to be social worker. When I was 12 years old, we started taking in babies. Our first foster child, Joey, we ended up adopting. My brother was special. We had him for two years and there was no way he was going anywhere.
How many children has your family fostered?
Since then, we have had thirty-nine more. We usually have babies, but we have had a few older kids. We often get them right out of the hospital and then have them for four to nine months. Some we've had for over a year. We see them grow up. We see them learn to walk and talk. Then they go on to a different family.
How does your family cope with that?
It's very difficult, especially for my mom since she spends most of the time with them. The good thing is that most of them have gone on to good homes. We keep in touch with some of the families. Some update us every so often, and some of the children we get to see every once in a while.
So you probably never have a quiet moment at home?
Yes, it can get a bit chaotic. As I said earlier, it's a fun family.
How did you get involved in the La Modelo del Mes?
I saw a post on a Facebook forum for my program. Ever since I've come to Madrid, I've been wanting to try new things. I live in a different country, I have met so many new people, and I am taking a painting class in Spanish. So far there have been a lot of new experiences. So when I saw a post stating they were looking for women to participate, I thought that this might be interesting. To have someone dress you up and to become a model. After some thought, I wrote Shimada.
When did you find out your were selected to participate in the La Modelo del Mes?
It was mid January, Shimada emailed me and told me to call him. I met with him the next day. Talking with him made me feel a lot more comfortable about the project. Honestly, I was a little nervous as I have never done anything like this before.
Did you know the plans for his February La Modelo del Mes?
He was still working on the idea when we talked. He explained to me generally what he would do that day. First, he would start with makeup and hair and eventually do shoots of two different styles. It wasn't until the day of the shoot did I have a better idea of what he was going to do. I kind of liked that it was a surprise.
Was there anything you found difficult the day of the shoot?
Not really, I can't think of any major difficulties. Although it was very cold that day though, that was the only thing. Shimada asked me multiple times if I wanted a jacket between takes, but I told him I could handle it. It was a little odd when people walked by and wondered what was going on. They were staring, at me nonetheless.
What were you thinking during the shoot?
I was just trying to have a good time. I was a little nervous when we started, but I got more comfortable as we went along. I was just listening and doing what he told me to do. It was nice because Zuz, last year's September model, was helping us out.
How was it having a previous model there with you?
It was really nice, she told me about her experience and made sure that I had eaten before we started. I had read the interviews so I woke up early and had a good bowl of oatmeal. She was also helping Shimada with some of the lighting and video. There were even a few times Shimada told me to look directly at her. I think it helped having a focal point. She was overall very supportive.
How long did it take to do each look?
It took a while, probably three hours to get everything ready. I did not expect it to take that long. I usually don't wear makeup so this was very new for me. It was nice to have my makeup done by someone who knows what they are doing. I felt different and I looked different, but yet it was still me. The second look took less time, he was able to get it done pretty quickly.
What did Shimada have you wear?
The first look, I was wearing my hair down and I was all in black. For the second, he put my hair up and he had a shirt custom-made for me.
Were there any last-minute changes?
We did try to these tattoos. They looked really cool but they ended up really dark and didn't match the rest of the makeup. He's thinking about using them on another model.
Where did you shoot?
We shot around Anton Martin, around the corner from his salon. We went to café for a bit and asked if we could shoot some photos in there. They seemed a little confused. but they said it was fine. They were closing so there were only a few people in there.
How did he direct you during the shoot?
He just told me where to look and told me to make subtle changes between photos. He was always very encouraging, sometimes telling me to make a few changes. He was very relaxed about it. If a position wasn't comfortable he told me to change it. He did tell me suck in my cheeks for a photo. I thought that was funny because I've seen that on modeling shows. It made the experience a little surreal.
Have you seen the pictures yet?
I saw a few during the shoot, but I am waiting for the final photos. My mom keeps asking me when she is going to see them.
Have you told many people you were modeling?
I told my family and a few friends. There were actually a few people in Madrid who were asking me how they could get involved in this project. My sister back home was really jealous. She's always wanted to do something like this.
So what do you think this experience brought out in you?
It was an overall good experience for me. I was just happy the entire time. It was really nice having him do my hair and my makeup in a way I could never do. My hair was big and curly which its I can never get my hair to that volume
Have fun! This for me was a very unique experience. It will be something I will remember about my experience living in Madrid.
Once you finish this position, what is the next step for you?
I want to do some more traveling before I go home. I may stay here for another year. I am still considering teaching back home, or maybe I'll do something that will let me travel. I am in no rush!
What about modeling?
This experience was awesome, but I don't think modeling is in the cards for me.
Any last thoughts?
I wanted to thank Shimada. It was interesting talking with him, hearing is stories about how he arrived in Madrid, and getting to work with him as the February Model. You can see that he is really passionate about his work and I am glad I got to be a part of it.