Before the influx of influencers and Instagram models, there was Lana Elyse. There are women that will constantly stick out in your mind, even if you’ve seen their image a thousand times. You might recall seeing Lana represent Playboy as a Playmate, or you’ve most definitely come across some of her photography work because she just so happens to not only be a model, but she also does her own photo shoots. She’s as humble as they come, and she’s sexy from head to toe. After reading this interview, you’ll be “all in” on Lana Elyse.
Since you started to model, how have you evolved and how do you think the industry has evolved through the years?
Lana Elyse: I think the industry has shifted heavily into social media vs traditional modeling agencies. I remember when I was first getting started, my biggest goal was to get into an agency; this is before Instagram was even a thing. You weren’t taken very seriously if you weren’t agency signed. Now, social media has taken over and models are able to find jobs directly and even agencies pay attention to a model’s social media presence! I’ve evolved to trying to grow my social media fan base vs trying to find the next casting call to go to, and I’ve gotten most of my magazine features and paid jobs via Instagram!
What have you learned from your experience as a model?
Lana Elyse: I have learned that you will experience a ton of rejection, and it sucks, but it’s okay! You just weren’t right for that particular project, or maybe it wasn’t the right time. Just move on to the next. Pave your own way.
What’s been the most difficult aspect of modeling that you’ve encountered?
Lana Elyse: The most difficult has been getting into more of the larger features; more versions of Playboy, Maxim or FHM. There are publishing fees to these, and they’re not cheap. Not anyone with extra cash can appear in these though, your look must be approved first; but if you don’t have thousands of dollars to play with, it’s difficult to reach those. It’s just the industry now.
What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?(Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)
Lana Elyse: Purchasing my Nikon D800 and learning photography and Photoshop. Learning photography changed the game for me because I’m now able to be my own photographer and I’m running my own separate photography business now! Not only does it pay me back, but it brings more eyes my way as both a model and photographer. I’ve scored collaborations as a model for brands and shot the photos myself! It’s great cross marketing! Without a doubt the best investment I’ve made.
In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
Lana Elyse: Not competing with others and just simply showing up! I’ve known girls who have modeled in the past and quit because there’s “so much competition out there.” Sure there is! The market is saturated with girls wanting to model! You can’t let that stop you though; just focus on yourself and your goals!
And just show up! Made plans to shoot, but don’t feel like it anymore? Just go. I’ve accepted bookings that were out of my comfort zone and had the urge to back out at the last minute and I told myself “just go.” And I’d show up, have the best time and would make connections that have led to friendships and ongoing business to this day. Step outside of your comfort zone sometimes, and just show up.
What are you the most proud of in your modeling career and why?
Lana Elyse: I’m proud that I’m 32 and still going! I remember when 25 was considered “old” in modeling, but some of the most popular models you see today are in their late twenties and even mid 40’s! I’m proud that I’ve stuck it out this long to see myself get Playmate when I thought it’d never happen, and get magazine covers when I wouldn’t get responses for simple features. Yet here I am, and I’ve made my own lil mark!
Is there anything that you would change or regret doing during your modeling career?
Lana Elyse: Maybe being more outgoing… believe it or not I’m an introvert, and sometimes I wish I’d put myself out there even more.
What advice would you give to someone that wants to be a model? What advice should they ignore?
Lana Elyse: I tell girls who want to get into modeling to have a purpose for your photos. You do need to build your content and gain some experience, but when you have some solid content, don’t just throw it on Facebook or IG to just sit there and then only do that from then on; submit your photos to a magazine, email the editor, get yourself out there! And ignore negativity!
You’ve consistently put out great content, and have adapted as the modeling industry changes. How have you been able to to stand out and separate yourself from other models?
Lana Elyse: Just being myself! I like to be interactive on social media and respond to everyone and I like to be candid, friendly and witty! It’s not always about being super sexy, just be yourself! I like people to see the real me, not just a girl in lingerie or a swimsuit all the time. I’m a normal woman in Stockton, CA and I don’t pretend to be something I’m not. You see me editing at home, you’ve seen me in my small photography studio and in my Real Estate Broker’s office. It’s not all glitz and glamour, and I’m not traveling the world (I would LOVE to though). I think I relate to pretty much everyone, but I’m also a legit Glamour model.
If you could get a message out to millions of people, what would your message be about and why?
Lana Elyse: Don’t let others distract you from your goals, stay positive and always be yourself! There’s plenty of people out there trying to accomplish the same things as you, but there’s only one you.
What can people expect to see from you in the future?
Lana Elyse: More modeling features, and more of my photography! I’ve been shooting a lot of people lately and have been getting some aspiring models/actors featured with magazines, so when you see Glam Brand Photography anywhere, that’s me!
Keep up with Lana Elyse