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Unlike most little girls, junior Maddie Jones did not want to be a princess when she grew up, nor did she have any intention of “showing off her body” when she got older.
But dreams can change.
Participating in local pageants like Miss Missouri was as far as Jones’ career reached as a five-year-old, and modeling didn’t reenter her life until she began high school as a freshman. The rest is history in the making.
“I did pageants when I was little. I was little Miss Columbia but never more than that,” Jones said. “Back in freshman year I did a blind audition for a tele-agency in St Louis. I acted and modeled for them, and so they signed me on for both. I have done it ever since, and it has just grown.”
Recently she had an interview with Ford in Chicago where they offered her a contract. This past weekend she went up there for a photo shoot and she hopes to move there over the summer to further her career.
Jones found that modeling isn’t just about the glitz and glam given to the profession. She spends many weekends traveling across the state to practice for auditions that may be months in advance.
“My talent agency in St. Louis hosts classes. I go to different classes about learning monologues and how to interpret things, what is the right pose to do while on camera opposed to just pictures,” Jones said. “It is fun to drive up there for the weekend and do all of them with all of my friends, who also signed up there; it is a good way to learn. But my mom also helps me a lot.”
In order to be fully ready before each tryout, Jones spends weeks, and sometimes months, working on completing her package. Besides preparing the way she looks, countless hours go into mentally preparing herself to insure she presents herself in the best possible way to the judges.
“You have to practice your walk, pick what shoes you are going to wear and then wear those constantly,” Jones said. “You have to plan outfits so you don’t stress the day of and eat healthier before you get up there. It is all about keeping good energy.”
Besides staying focused on the task at hand, Jones looks outside of herself to keep up her energy. Her closest friends and family support her every move and offer encouragement before big events.
“My mom goes with me everywhere; my dad knows what he needs to know and just goes along with it,” Jones said. “My friends are supportive, but I really just tell my close friends because it isn’t something that comes up. But they all know if I’m getting nervous for an audition, and they will wish me good luck.”
Not only has she gained insight about herself through her newfound passion, her modeling career has brought her closer to her mother, Robin Jones. The two travel to every audition and class together, allowing for a lot of mother-daughter bonding time.
“It all started when she was presented with the shadowing assignment back in ninth grade. She absolutely knew what she wanted to do but didn’t know how to get there. So, as her mom, I tried to find some opportunities for her, and one thing led to the next after that,” mother Robin Jones said. “Our time together traveling has brought us much closer.”
Since the beginning of her modeling career as a freshman Maddie Jones has invested countless hours each week in hopes of making a career for herself out of modeling. She has learned over the years that it isn’t as easy as people on the outside view the profession.
“Staying focused is the most difficult,” Maddie Jones said. “If you are going to do this, you have to give your all; you can’t just half do it or not give your best potential, so while I know I have this opportunity, I have to remind myself I need to be fully focused.”
Her hard work has paid off as she has gotten to experience the industry from a first-hand perspective and all that it has to offer. She understands the amount of work it takes to make a career out of modeling.
“I have done three bridal runway shows for different bridal shops. I was in a Dillard’s runway show; I was flown up to New York for the Real Housewives of New Jersey fashion show, which was crazy,” Jones said. “I went to this convention in California called iPOP where thousands of kids of different ages audition for both modeling and acting, and I placed first in catalog modeling. That was big, and I placed also in swimwear and runway, and that is how other agencies recognize me.”
By Jackie Nichols