By now, most of us Instagrammers have seen a handful of striking “model” pictures pop up on our newsfeeds. One might think that those picture-perfect snaps and expressive poses are unattainable and only meant for the professionals. However, it is not the case, as self-taught model and pose instructor, Keashlan Dewrance has demonstrated by establishing a successful modelling career.
From a fashion enthusiast, commercial model and now, freelance slay queen, she has proved that you can do it on your own! I recently caught up with this ethereal beauty to find out how she created a successful freelance career using social media and of course, some tips on achieving those fire poses for your own Insta feed.
How did you establish a career in the fashion industry? Was it something you always gravitated towards?
My love for fashion started at a young age, being intrigued by television shows such as America’s Next Top Model, Life of Kimora and pretty much anything airing on Fashion TV. With time, I had become more and more intuitive with expressing myself through style.
In grade 12, I was invited via Instagram to a modelling boot camp. With little funds available, I somehow managed to accumulate the entry fee and attended the camp, which only affirmed that my passion was indeed fashion and I had to do something about it. We were advised to join an agency, which is the most convenient way to get into the industry, so I did. I joined as a commercial model and for the longest time it was casting after casting, maybe over 20 castings, all of which bombed out.
After some time, I decided to freelance by getting my photographs taken for free by up and coming photographers or friends. For about 2-3 years, it was unpaid shoot after unpaid shoot for me but I loved it regardless. I eventually started getting gigs with brands via Instagram. I have my hard work and determination to thank for that.
What has to experience in the industry been like? Any valuable lessons learnt?
I’ve been modelling for over 5 years now, 2 of those years being represented by an agency as commercial model and with that being said there wasn’t much out there for a picky amateur model like myself. I decided to take matters into my own hands and shape my career the way I saw fit, building a modelling portfolio via Instagram. It took a lot effort, money and sleepless nights and dealing with nay-sayers trying to demotivate me from using the social media platform to establish my career. There was a time where I thought of giving up, no lie, I grew very despondent. I was hoping to get scouted via Instagram to New York or some place. That didn’t happen. Fingers are still crossed regardless. Unapologetically ambitious much?
Once I started my Instagram feed, I treated it like a virtual portfolio and it seemed to work. I was approached by an agency in Cape Town, stating “I love your look, but it is impossible to manage someone all the way from Joburg, keep up the great work” is what they had told me. Agencies from Johannesburg also showed an interest in representing me but to be honest, it was the upper echelon of agencies that I was after.
I started applying again, and the responses were,” we not looking for your type”, “you do not meet our criteria,” some of them don’t even get back to you which obviously means you didn’t make the cut. Rejection is part of the game the sooner you realize that, the better. You just have to have enough grit, suck it up and continue making moves.
I persevered and applied for casting and gigs on my own, boosting my profile with my own photoshoots. After a few big breaks, I am now honored to be a brand ambassador for Nikki Hair SA, as well as Transcon Global. I also work alongside international model, Neetasha Singh, as a pose instructor at Model Camp SA, even landing a TV insert on SABC 2 RSVP: Dare to change. The future is exciting, I am flying higher and higher closer to my dreams.
Just by looking at your flaming photos, posing seems to come naturally to you. What are your secrets?
First and foremost, confidence is key! If you are still working on your confidence, fake it till you make it babe. I always tell people to think of themselves as a canvas. As they pose, they are painting their OWN beautiful picture. There is no wrong and right when it comes to art, SOOO be daring!
My top 3 posing tips which I always incorporate into my editorial shoots are:
Effortless Elegence– Show off your hands in a graceful manner, maneuver them as if you are a ballerina, light and effortless, even though they may feel like they are cramping on the inside. A model never shows strain during a shoot. You can start off with an easy pose such as caressing your face and looking straight at the camera or something more seductive such as closing your eyes, showing your side profile and using your hands to frame your body in the shot.
T for TOUCH – One of my go-to poses is to look natural and realistic by connecting parts of my body through pose. This involves using your limbs to make contact with each other in an effortless way. For example, the classic pose of hands crossed, leaning forward with your chin supported on the fist of your hand, a real power-pose. You can use this principle to sit down, lay on the ground or stand up, varying your posture, hand and leg placements as you go along.
Floating on cloud nine– Don’t panic! It is really just an artsy squat. Simply squat down and find your balance, perhaps extending ne of your legs to extend your profile or tipping over your shades with your fingers for a more streetstyle edge. It is quite the exercise so getting in a good stretch before attempting this will go a long way. The trick is to just be creative with it.
Well, most of our readers may not be pros just yet, how can they achieve some scintillating shots at home?
Angles and lighting are your most important tools, and they are free!
I do believe in knowing your good side, know your angles and how to frame your face in a picture. This can only be done through experimenting with different poses, angles and properly profiling your body according to the purpose of your photo.
To the people behind the lens, we not asking you to be a professional photographer. No, we are just asking for you to take your time getting that good angle and finding the right lighting in the surroundings we are taking the pictures in. Good lighting enhancing all the best features of the setting, the person and of course, their outfits. Find the balance between the right amount of exposure and shadows, snapping pics in a few different places, until you find your sweet spot.
The best time to have your pictures taken is around 2 pm, ever heard of golden hour? Take advantage of the best light this world has to offer and it is free of charge. Sunlight is rated E for EVERYONE. Be sure to use a professional camera or a smartphone that takes good quality photographs. if you don’t own one, ask a friend. Taking photographs is really similar to preparing the perfect dish. what you put in is what you get out.
Wow, one certainly learns something new every day! Speaking of which, what advice do you have for aspiring models out there?
You have got to know and decide in your heart that this is the path is for you and no matter what, you will persevere. There are countless instances where you may be overlooked as a model, in my case, I am not tall enough. Sometimes agencies and brands just aren’t looking for someone with your features, but the right opportunity will come by. If it doesn’t, go out and create your own path.
At the end of the day, if you think you have what it takes, cease the day and take that leap of faith. If it doesn’t work out, you know you have tried and maybe you will find the right path along the way. However, sometimes, you need to fail and falter, before you find your own and then the stars are the limit. What you sow is what you will reap!
Certainly one to watch, Keashlan has made the world her oyster and used tools like social media and golden hour sunlight, to successful launch her own modeling career. To keep up with this powerhouse, follow her on Instagram @keashdewrance.
– The Nifty Attache