FM42: At what age did you begin to think about becoming a fashion model and who or what inspired you?
Was there a moment in your life that you could pinpoint as the first time you thought about what it would be like to be a model?
There wasn’t a specific age where I thought about becoming a fashion model. It was just something throughout my childhood when I thought I was super stylish. I would wear colored hair extensions with princess dresses and strut around my house, showing off how good I looked…or how good I thought I looked. Realistically, I became more aware of the fashion industry in high school because of the prevalence of social media. Like most students, I did a photo-shoot for the yearbook in my senior year and was able to experience a casual modeling photo-shoot. I loved doing this shoot and it really inspired me more to start modeling.

FM42: Bring us inside your first fashion shoot… were you feeling comfortable, nervous or self-conscious?
The truth is – all of the above. To begin with, I was so ecstatic to finally jumpstart my modeling career. But, there were so many thoughts running through my mind. I was nervous, afraid I would do something wrong or not do a great enough job. But, once I got behind the camera, I completely forgot about my nervousness and focused on the shoot. My stylist, Victor Navarro, was tremendous in assisting me with the poses. At first, the positions did not feel natural, but I trusted that Victor knew what he was doing… and he sure did! Within 10 minutes, I was able to loosen up in front of the camera, and I knew that modeling was definitely something I wanted to pursue.

FM42: What have you learned from modeling – specific to modeling – and how it might apply to real life?
This photo-shoot was intense. I felt that I really got an education on what goes on behind the scenes in a professional shoot. Victor and Juan were incredible mentors when it came to projecting expression, feeling and emotion as seen through the lens of the camera. They really helped me to understand the difference in perspective from being someone who is viewing a photo versus being the person who is in the photo. As with everything they taught me that day, they explained why they made each choice which would ultimately result in these beautiful photos. Through my experience in this shoot, I realized that stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something that I wasn’t exactly used to doing, can have a big psychological pay-off. I learned that being nervous is temporary, and that it will only hold me back from being successful.

FM42: In your photos, you project a lot of confidence in front of the camera. Does this come natural or is this something that you have to mentally prepare?
Prior to the photo-shoot, I was mentally preparing myself for anything that could be thrown at me. I had never experienced a photo-shoot at this level and I wanted to be able to fulfill Juan and Victor’s expectations. However, once I met them, they immediately helped me feel at ease. Within minutes I felt very comfortable working with them and that comes across in the film. Their welcoming attitudes made it so much easier to feel good about myself, which carried into my work in front of the camera.

FM42: You’ve posted pictures on social media, posing with various groups and friends. How would you distinguish posing for a professional photo shoot from posing with your friends on Instagram?
There are some things that I would say are common between professional shoots and posing for Instagram… and there are differences. Instagram is a very casual way of displaying yourself, usually things you do on a daily basis, or a fun event you attended. A professional photo-shoot requires a more intense focus on an objective or vision that someone has created. That creative vision has to be expressed through photographs. Additionally, Instagram poses or expressions are mostly geared towards satisfying your followers and gain “likes” for your page. A photo-shoot is a production with a directive of having the viewer feel specific emotions that are portrayed through the model’s expressions and poses. In most cases photo-shoots are made for promoting a product. In my recent shoot, it was Natalia Acosta’s beautiful gowns that we were marketing.

FM42: Ah, you said marketing; I saw on your social media that you are majoring in that subject at Duquesne University. How do you think modeling will benefit you in a marketing career?
Every photo-shoot helps immensely in developing my marketing perception. Usually, when I encounter marketing techniques, I am the customer or viewer. By doing photo-shoots, I gain experience in marketing from the promotional side. From this side of the lens, I’ve learned ways to emphasize certain aspects of the product. I’ve also learned ways to create a well rounded vision that will achieve the best results for the product.

FM42: Who would you say is your biggest role model and why?
To be honest, I really don’t have a role model… not in a fashion sense anyways. With that said however, I have always admired Adriana Lima. While I appreciate the work she has done for Victoria’s Secret, I mainly admire her honesty in the industry. She always reminds us that everything in the fashion industry is not glamorous. I feel that models deserve a lot more credit than what they are given. People think that just because a woman is beautiful, that it’s easy to smile for the camera. Adriana does a great job showing viewers the more realistic and hardworking aspects of the modeling world.

FM42: Being from the United States, how do you feel about the prospect of traveling internationally, seeing new places and experiencing new cultures?
I grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh is a beautiful city, not very big, but known for its friendly people. Fortunately, my parents felt that we needed to experience other countries and cultures. Even though I have already experienced cultures different than my own, I never tire of trying new things and am always eager to travel.

FM42: How have your friends and family reacted to you pursuing a modeling career?
My friends and family have been so encouraging and supportive of my decision to model. Just attempting to get a start in this industry can be pretty intimidating, especially since it is mostly subjective. But, having my friends and family to support me has made my whole experience a lot more rewarding and worthwhile. I really value their thoughts and opinions, so them encouraging me to continue to progress my ambitions means a lot to me.

FM42: Was there a role in television or film that inspired your tastes in beauty and fashion?
I don’t really watch TV or go to the movies. Life has too much to offer and I don’t want to waste it in front of a TV.

FM42: Tell us about your childhood growing up… what was it like being a young Natalie Rascati?
Aside from dressing up in costumes, I was actually pretty much a tomboy. I spent way more time running around outside than playing with dolls like most of my girl friends. There were more boys than girls in my neighborhood, so I spent most of my days outside climbing trees, playing roller hockey or flag football. I was always pretty athletic so it was easy to keep up with the boys. I started playing tennis at the age of 3, and still love to play to this day. My rough and tumble childhood was far from glamorous, but now that I am older, I have a greater appreciation for glam and fashion.

Editorial Credits:

Photography & General Production: Juan loza

Model: Nathalie Rascati

Make Up: Beauty By Sarvi

Designer: Natalia Acosta

Hair & Fashion Director: Victor Navarro