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Life & Work with Rebecca Colon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rebecca Colon.

Hi Rebecca, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
In 2016, as a fresh high school graduate, I wanted to take pictures to commemorate my huge achievement and was introduced to a new passion: modeling and content creation. I found a photographer looking to shoot models for free because I couldn’t afford to have pictures taken or couldn’t bear to ask my single mom. I was a little nervous to take the leap and try something new but thank God, I did. I was good at it.

Also, thankfully, he ended up being one of the kindest and most talented photographers I’ve ever met. But this day and those photos were the start of my love for content creation and sparked a passion in me to pursue professional acting beyond my elementary, middle, and high school theatre productions, learning for the first time how to take this field and career seriously. As a child, you’d find me either with a costume on or pen in my hand eagerly asking questions to everyone in the room, ready to show of my newest prepared monologue. Working as a fashion, commercial, and bridal model has introduced a tremendous amount of opportunity, adventure, and excitement into my life. I’ve worked for some of the most well-respected fashion and bridal designers in the country. It has always been hard to find balance while in school and working but I was passionate about what I was doing, and when I got signed to a national talent agency, that’s when things got more serious for me and my family. I would go to a shoot or casting, go to work, go home and do homework, and go to school. Repeat. I did that for a long time.

The pandemic has forced me to focus on building my virtual community working on learning photography, editing, and styling skills and taking the things I have been learning throughout my schooling and practices to the next level as a fashion, lifestyle, and beauty influencer. During this time, I realized the community I built has real value and that I wanted to use my social platforms as not only a place to share the things I love but, tell my story and encourage someone my age to get up and create what you have been thinking about because there are real opportunities out there as a digital creator, you just have to work for them. I started having partnership opportunities with brands I loved and looked up too. I seriously couldn’t believe it and still have a hard time wrapping my head around some of the amazing experiences I’ve had shooting content and the relationships I’ve built with these brands and the faces behind them. I had to learn how to quickly navigate being a full-time student, working, and trying to be a full-time daughter and friend to the people I love in my life. For me the best part of working in social media is being able to connect with so many kind and creative minds. Getting to meet so many people I would have otherwise never crossed paths with is amazing, and I am blown away everyday by the amount of talent that exists out there. That’s what’s so exciting about this industry- there is always something new you can create. Instantly being able to connect with someone new is what drew me to Instagram and pre-COVID I loved traveling and getting to work with people I discovered through these platforms.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
As a child, I was very ashamed of my height and body. I would have labeled myself as insecure and obsessive with my body image. I hated being in my own skin. I was a 5’11 tall young girl who sprouted at an extremely young age. I had that youthful chub and didn’t feel confident in my skin. I would seek out the shoes with the lowest heels to appear shorter. Even going to lengths of shaving the bottom of my shoes. I actually did that in middle school. I’d walk with a hunch that I’m pretty sure put me at a predisposition to scoliosis because I was so insecure of how tall I was around all the other young girls and boys in my school. I felt like I towered over every girl and boy and that I couldn’t help from being noticed even though I wanted to hide. As you are thrown into the modeling, you can no longer hide. All of you, as you are, is on display and you learn to own it, but it can definitely be hard. You are measured, analyzed, and the image is equated to a number and value.

The first time I wore heels was so empowering. I was 16, I think. I never wanted to wear them until that day because, the goal was always for me to stay as close to the ground as humanly possible to appear shorter. But in theatre and chorus, we had to wear these horrendous character shoes and I loved the way I felt in them. But I never owned another pair until my first modeling meeting. I love wearing heels now. I’m okay with being the tallest one in the room because I know that is not what my femineity belongs too. Performing showed me how to not carry that same weight of insecurity that once was all too familiar. This year has been one of the most challenging for me as far as my schedule, but I’ve still managed to find some sort of balance amidst everything. (More or less) I’m the type of person who is always overcommitting, but it can be hard not to. I love creating but sometimes it can be hard to have boundaries and not get too excited with the idea of making something new.

I am so excited for what’s next for my content and I thank God every day for being in the position I am in but being a full-time student, working, and launching my own business has been quite the experience, but this is my passion, and this is what truly brings me happiness. I love sharing the images I create but I know so many young women right now are battling with their self-image and I have to admit that I have been one of them. Especially loving photography, I have learned to really analyze a photo or advertisement and I can be incredibly difficult on myself over things I can’t control. I find myself doing that and sort of have that slap on the wrist moment with myself. There are so many demands for women on what we should look like, wear, represent, talk, believe. I want to be authentically myself on my platform while shining light on the fact that there is and always be a buffer between what we see both online and off. I struggle with confidence, like most people. But I am proud of who I am, and I want to show up every day and remind others they should be too.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m a 22-year-old aspiring writer, model, actress, and influencer from Orlando. Through my journey in the Orlando entertainment industry, I have acquired a presence on social media, and I have a community of 5,000+ amazing followers that I share my life, photographs, outfits, and everything in between with on Instagram. I will be graduating this Fall with my Advertising and Public Relations (B.A) from the University of Central Florida, where I’ve studied the strategies behind successful communication practices and had firsthand experiences via collaborations, internships, and partnerships. I do work in influencer marketing and PR. I love trying to help a brand figure out the best way for them to connect with their audience and build that relationship with their customers and clients. When I discovered the photography community, I fell completely in love with being able to transform yourself in a different way outside of the theatre. Experimenting with photography and modeling styles, meeting new people at meet-ups, and being taught by leading professionals contributed a lot to my background in content creation.

This year has been incredibly transformative for me navigating in the influencer space both as a facilitator and influencer. I am passionate about creating that community and being able to connect with others on a larger scale. In my free time you’ll find me experimenting with new photography styles and editing, finding new music, and face-timing my friends at the moment. I am so encouraged to keep created and sharing my life by the community that I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by. I seriously have not only such an amazing support system, but I get to be surrounded by some of the most talented artists, photographers, stylists, models, and for any creative, that’s a dream. I think what sets me apart is that I am someone who is very young and has discovered something I am truly and authentically passionate about. I film and share my life when I feel like it. I share the things I love, the places I love, and I am just working towards being more vulnerable with telling my story.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
At this moment, the influencer marketing industry is undervalued but I can see a major transition coming. If any brand is wanting to take their digital media efforts to the next level, and they aren’t willing to allocate a budget for influencer-related marketing, that will become a problem. I believe the influencer marketing industry will become more universally respected as we see technology bloom, and these new social media platforms continue to develop and evolve.

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