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The Inside: My Experience With Imposter Syndrome

“I don’t know how I got this job - there are so many people better than me. One day someone will turn up and realise I am not good enough, and I will be exposed as an imposter.” This quote comes from The Book of Angst by Gwendoline Smith. I think it is the perfect way to describe what imposter syndrome feels like. Imposter syndrome is the persistent belief that you are undeserving of the success you have, and that it was not gained based on your skills or talents. It can cripple you with doubt and make you feel extremely insecure. I’m going to be super honest with you right now, this is not a rare experience for anyone in this world. Not only models or artists feel this sense of imposter syndrome, and it is a very easy trap for anyone to fall into. In an industry as competitive as modelling, the feeling of rejection and failure can easily make you feel like you don’t deserve what you have. It is an industry built on rejection, to receive one big campaign, you may have been rejected by 20 others. Agencies, castings, fittings, all of these things don’t quickly lead to a supermodel career, if they ever do, but they do often lead to a lot of rejection. Modelling is hard, and you have to find it within yourself to be strong enough to push through.

I have struggled with imposter syndrome for over a year, and it is very easy to fall into these thoughts that I am not good enough, and that someone else deserves this more than me. I ask what I did to deserve this, what makes me stand out? I see other models working big campaigns, being really busy, and believe I’m never going to reach that level. Especially when moving from one contract to the next, the comfort and knowledge you have in one place is gone and you have to start all over. There are thousands of girls just like me all over the world, what makes me different? Sometimes I think I got lucky to be here, and someday someone is going to realise that I’m nothing special, and send me back home. Of course, you’re probably reading this thinking I sound absolutely insane, which is fair. I’ve been to 5 countries on contract, worked for some cool brands, and gained quite a lot of experience. All of these things would point towards feeling successful and confident, but it is much harder to be objective when you’re looking at yourself.

So, Sammie, how do you avoid this? Great question, but unfortunately I’m not sure there is a simple answer. Imposter syndrome can consume you very quickly, and it is hard to fight, but I’ve found a few things that help me work through those thoughts when I have them. The best thing for me is having a good support system. My family and friends are always there for me when I’m feeling down, and they are great at reminding me that I deserve everything I’ve worked very hard for. Remind yourself that people believe in you, and you should believe in yourself. Every scout, agent, and booker you’ve worked with believed in you, otherwise you wouldn't be where you are now. A support system is good, and very helpful, but be sure to draw the line between relying on other people’s validation, and seeking support, because if that validation someday disappears for whatever reason, you’re going to begin to question yourself again, and it’s a vicious cycle. Try not to compare yourself to others. Everyone is on their own individual journeys, and I guarantee you none of them are feeling as confident as you may perceive them to be. Everyone is struggling, and it is what makes us better people and models. Rejection is part of this industry, so don’t take things too personally. Every client and agency is looking for something different, and it may just not be the right time for you. But you WILL find your place when the time is right. Look at everything you’ve already achieved, that didn’t come from nowhere. At the end of the day, the most important thing is believing that you deserve everything you want, and that with hard work and dedication, everything will work out for you.

I do not claim to have anything figured out, I am working through this everyday, and some days are better than others. I take it day by day, and work on being grateful for everything that I have already achieved. Sure, I would love to be working everyday and making tons of money, I don’t claim to like being free all the time, but I try to remember that it won’t last forever, and the memories I can make with friends in an amazing city will someday be invaluable. Down days are normal, and you’re allowed to feel your feelings. So, give yourself some grace, and find things you enjoy to fill up your days, and remember you are worthy of everything good this world has to offer you. Keep working hard, try not to sit alone with your negative thoughts for too long, and everything will be alright. Until next time,

Sammie Taylor

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1 Comment

So good. I can relate to all of this in business. And I’m old.

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