Stephanie Bardavid is a model, student, and social media influencer working in New York City with over 29,000 followers on Instagram. While her modeling career can be quite demanding, she loves what she does and maintains an impressive work/life balance and is even completing her last semester of college as of the time of this interview.
Stephanie kindly took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions.
Hi Stephanie, what’s your favorite part about modelling in New York?
I grew up in a small town in Long Island. When I got discovered as a model, I had the option to work across many states and countries and found that I loved New York the most! There’s something about the action in the city that I love so much. I love the running around, the busyness, the traffic, even the taxis!
I always felt like a city girl. I also always felt like New York was the city of opportunities and where dreams literally come true. Most people get bothered by how busy the city gets, but I guess I love the social life and I’m also a very big people watcher! There’s something so great about running around New York City from casting to casting and listening to music on my earphones.
How are you balancing student life with that of a model and influencer?
I have been modeling for five years now! The week I graduated high school is when I started with my first few photoshoots, my first castings, and even my first fashion week. I came across a few agencies that suggested the idea of leaving school and continuing to excel in my modeling career.
I’m the type of person who loves hustling. I had an even better idea to continue my schooling and to go to college to get a degree. I always believed in a backup plan. I am currently on my last semester of college studying psychotherapy! I have been balancing student life with my model life for five years, and it’s never been easy, although I do know the correct ways to balance them!
I revolve my model life and job around my school schedule! School twice a week, photoshoots the rest of the week. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it gets hard and more complicated than that! Sometimes I find myself taking my textbook to a photoshoot, or reciting speeches well my makeup is getting done! There are also some weeks that I cannot model at all where school life gets a little too busy to focus on anything else!
During finals week every semester are usually stay home and make sure that I’m studying for the right amount of time! My mom always taught me that school comes first, so if I ever see that modeling affects my grades or my classes, I do take a break from working!
Fashion week in September is usually during the first two weeks of the new semester. I would say that it’s the most exciting but stressful time ever as a student. I go to school with a backpack and a modeling bag. I attend classes for six hours, change in the bathroom at school, and rush to castings and shows that I booked to walk in! It’s always been fun for me because I feel like I’m living a double life – the Hannah Montana I’ve always wanted to be, ha! I am weeks away from finishing my degree, and I’m surprisingly going to miss the crazy student and model life!
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in your career both online and offline?
Modeling isn’t all glamour and fun all the time! There are certain challenges I face throughout the years, for sure. I went through having a lot of acne on my face since the age of 13. When I started modeling my acne got a lot worse, and I struggled with it for a few years. There are definitely some jobs I got denied because of it, and even some agencies told me to “heal” before I signed with them.
I always found myself subconsciously hiding my face when I did have pimples. I was always worried about the makeup artist having to spend the most time on my face because of it. It was my biggest insecurity throughout the years of modeling until last year.
The biggest decision of my life was probably to go on Accutane. Accutane is a serious drug that I was always scared of. It’s usually a dermatologists’ last resort. It affects every person differently but luckily for me, it worked. It’s not something I would recommend so easily to young girls or boys with acne, although from my experience, it changed my life.
I would say that the biggest challenge for me during all this time was confidence. A person in my life I look up to for teaching me the importance of confidence and building my self-esteem is my mom. I later realized that nobody is perfect, no one has perfect skin, and it might sound cheesy, but that’s literally what makes us humans so beautiful.
Luckily, I haven’t faced many challenges on social media. As the times changed and we experienced the global pandemic, a lot of castings moved online. This pretty much means that if you didn’t get the job, they email you a yes or a no to let you know. I simply miss the in-person communication, the crowds, and the action so much!
Who are some of your favorite brands/designers that you’ve worked with?
I have worked with tons of brands within these great five years that I’ve been modeling. One of my favorite brands would have to be Elie Tahari. I modeled for Elie Tahari’s show room for two years. I was the face of their sales book a few times, and it was an amazing experience. Showroom would have to be my favorite type of modeling because you actually get to see how the clothing is getting made. The designers and interns at Elie Tahari always love to hear my input and opinions about the clothing, and I love that so much.
I also worked with Chanel beauty during one of my first fashion weeks! It was one of the most amazing experiences working with such talented makeup artists and such a big brand.
I wish I could list every single company that I’ve worked for! Although then I wouldn’t stop talking and this interview would be too long, ha!
What future aspirations do you have for your modelling career?
I feel like every model is dying to be a VS angel. Yes, including me. OBVIOUSLY. Honestly, I’m thinking about opening up my own modeling agency one day. And technically this is the first time I’m saying that out loud!
I know the ins and outs of this industry and feel like it would be amazing to do something like that. Although as of right now, my biggest dream is to inspire young girls to be confident and follow their dreams. That sounds so funny, but it’s true! My biggest goal it’s to have all my tips and tricks, my lessons learned, and my experiences as a model written down somewhere for young girls to follow forever!
What’s your favorite perk of the model lifestyle?
There’s something so cool about seeing myself online or in stores. Sometimes I walk into Sephora, Target, Walmart, etc. and I see myself on the wall and giggle. My friends go shopping online and always send me a picture of my picture, and I always think it’s the coolest thing ever.
My favorite perk of the model lifestyle is definitely the fashion and the glam. Not everyone gets to have their make up done almost every day! It’s very fun! A model is technically a salesperson.
Another one of my favorite perks is that I’m actually helping every brand and designer sell their clothes in a way. My all-time favorite thing about modeling HAS to be New York fashion Week. As I mentioned before, there are some things so fun about running around the city with a bag filled with heels and snacks going from show to show.
It’s also an amazing experience to meet these famous high fashion models and gather advice from every experienced person I get to know! I truly get to meet so many amazingly talented and creative people in this industry.
How do you like to unwind when you’re not working?
This is my favorite question. I do live at home in Long Island. Family time is the best time. I spend time with my family almost every day, but when I’m not working, I love doing things with them. I love holidays, I love when the whole family gets together. I sing and blast music in the house, I hang out with my friends whatever chance I get, and the one person I probably see the most is my boyfriend Roey.
When I have free time, I absolutely love to explore new places either in the city or out of the city. I am the type of girl that loves running around, seeing new things! If we’re talking about truly unwinding, then I am obsessed with Netflix night. Grabbing my bowl of popcorn and just binge-watching a show is one of my favorite things to do!
What’s your #1 tip for young women who aspire to follow a career like yours?
I wish I could write a book about all that I learned and all that I’m still learning throughout my modeling career. I have so many tips, it’s very hard to choose just one. If I have to, it would be to never lose sight of who you truly are. Always remember where you came from, and don’t let anyone change who you are. Yes, that means physically and mentally! Stay true to yourself, feel free to experiment and explore, but always know at the end of the day that you have yourself, and that you feel confident and in love with who you are ALWAYS.
Thank you Stephanie for your time!
You can follow up with Stephanie Bardavid at IG here