Female Model/Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist/Wardrobe Stylist: Abi Grigsby @DonBella model agency @abigrigsby
Photographer: Peter Foster @peterfosterphoto
Photographer: Paolo Ungab @paoloungab_photographer
Photographer/Retoucher: David Reinhard @david.reinhard
Photographer: Dieter @nokturnlau
Wardrobe Stylist/Photographer: Peter Tyrell @talldarkandart
Wardrobe Stylist/Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist/Retoucher: Felicity Northeast @felicitynortheastmilliner
Wardrobe Stylist/Photographer: Lachlan Fox @lachlanfox
Abi is a 21 year old Filipino/Australian part time model residing in Victoria, Australia.
Abi is definitely someone who knows what she wants from life, and has a realistic way of achieving it, despite the doubts and criticism she faces from those around her. Growing up in a small country town, sheltered with the comfort of her close friends and family, it was almost odd for a girl like her to have the dreams that she has. Despite her being so shy and withdrawn, and growing up as someone who was never really popular in school, she was still able to find a way to work her way in the industry, and make a name for herself in the world of modelling and beauty pageants.
It all began for Abi when she was just 17, and made a decision to enter a Philippine beauty pageant in Melbourne. Placing as second runner up in her first ever beauty pageant, she knew that this was only the beginning of a no doubt tough, but incredibly fulfilling journey for her. This pageant ultimately led her to compete in more high profile and high class pageants over the years, and at one point led her to compete on a Philippine stage in one of the Philippines most prestigious beauty pageants.
Following her success in pageants, Abi continued to pursue modelling in the city of Melbourne, despite living in her scenic location in the countryside of Victoria. She currently resides with her family, and also works at her local general store, just down the street from where she lives.
During the tough times that we live in with Covid - 19 and her city still being in a lockdown, Abi has taken comfort in her friends as well as the locals in her community, providing she is not able to venture out too far with the tough restrictions being implemented. However, she is certain that soon enough she will be right back into frequent photoshoots and will continue to build her platform in time as we slowly ease back into normality.
Abi is hoping that all her success so far in modelling and beauty pageants will one day lead her to the Miss Universe stage, and from there on continue to be heavily presence in the industry as a successful actress.
Determined: Whenever I set a goal for myself, or find myself wanting to achieve something new, I always give more than 100% to make it happen. I am always driven to making my dreams come true, and won’t stop at anything until I achieve what I want in life.
Adventurous: I am definitely someone who loves to try new things and to get myself out there as much as I can. I love meeting new people and doing new activities, as I like to push myself and to get myself out of my comfort zone. I am not someone who can stay in the one spot and do the same thing for a prolonged period of time.
Caring: Despite my busy schedule, I don’t ever stop thinking about those around me, whether it be my family, friends, co workers or anyone else around me, no matter how close/distance our relationship may be. I have no issue putting other people’s needs before my own, and often I’ll drop my personal needs and care to help those who need my help more than myself.
Tell us something about you. Maybe your life, profession, habit, dream.
I come from a small country town, but despite my closed in environment, I have always had big dreams. Ever since I was a kid I always knew that one day I wanted to make it big in the show biz world, whether it be acting, singing, or performing. But as I grew up I took a real interest in modelling, and when I was 15 I decided that I was going to make it happen. I was always fascinated by the images of the women on magazine covers and told myself that one day I would be just like them.
What makes you choose this profession?
I chose this particular profession more for a confidence boost and to prove to myself and others that I could make my dreams come true. Coming from a small town where I’m from, you don’t hear of many girls who model, or go very far in modelling. So this opened up a lot of mixed opinions and doubts from those around me, but I never took it to heart and continued on to prove that I could make this work for me.
Could you share how you expand your vision of art, fashion?
Social media has really helped me build my platform and show my creativity to those around me and to help me make a name for myself. It also opened up the opportunity for me to get myself even further in the industry, as the current Covid situation has put a halt on any further projects for me until at least the end of this year.
In your daily routine, what resources do you like to learn new things about art, fashion?
In my daily routine I often use/apply makeup, so that’s something that has really helped me learn a little more about the other creatives out there who also enjoy using/applying makeup on clients or on themselves. It has also helped me in terms of my modelling / pageants, as I am able to do my own makeup for my photoshoots and events, and am able to play with different looks for different shoots.
Is art, fashion important in your life? Why?
Yes, art and fashion both play a crucial role in terms of defining myself and who I grew to be as a person. I always enjoyed keeping up with current fashion trends, while also keeping a little bit of my own identity in whatever I wear, whether it be a piece of clothing or accessories such as jewellery.
If you have a superpower or talent, which one do you wish to have? Why?
Ever since I was a kid, I always told myself if I were to ever have a superpower of any sort, it would be to fly. As a kid I always wanted to fly and to see the world from an aerial point of view, and to overlook all the scenery and nature from afar.
Do you have any problems with your profession? How did you solve it?
I have been modelling for just over 4 years now, and one of the main problems I have encountered would be the constant lack of support that has shadowed over me from those around me, sometimes from even the closest people around me. Often I’ve had people criticise me for putting so much effort into what I am doing, and I have had people try to persuade me to focus my energy on other things.
I overcome this by surrounding myself with people who support me and who I know want the best for me, and who want to see me happy in my endeavours. Often their kind and uplifting words are all I need to overcome any insecurities and doubts that other impose on me.
Who do people impact most in your profession? What do you learn from them?
As cliche as it may sound, the person that has impacted my profession the most would have to be myself. It wasn’t easy for me to get my foot in the door of this industry, and I started as young as 17. I knew no one in the industry, and nobody around me had any sort of connection to anyone who may have been able to give me a hand. Living so far from the closest city that had any sort of opportunities for modelling and pageants also served as a barrier, as it was hard for me to even get to the location of where I would be able to even begin my modelling endeavours.
What do you think about your work? Is it what you like, or simply saying a dream?
I think I have done an amazing job with all that I have achieved in the span of 4 years. I still remember being 15 and wanting to model, with no clue where to begin. Sometimes before I head to a shoot I stop and think about how hopeless it all felt for me all those years ago, and then fast forward to now. I feel such a sense of accomplishment and although I still have a long way to go, I am still so satisfied with how it has all turned out for me thus far.
In modern society, lots of people want to be famous, influential. What do you think about it?
I personally feel that a lot of people seem to think that being famous and/or influential will solve all their problems. Although I myself am not famous or influential, I don’t believe that it will solve all your problems. I feel that everyone should work on themselves and look within themselves to find what it is that makes them happy and what makes them feel validated, rather than depending on other people to make you feel validated. Before we seek the approval and acceptance from others, I think we should all begin with working on ourselves.
To become famous, what kind of qualities do you think the person should have?
I believe that for someone to become famous, they need to be driven, determined, motivated and inspired. It’s not an easy path into fame, so I strongly believe that as long as you stay committed and show all those necessary driving factors, then you will definitely achieve fame one day. I feel nowadays it’s not just about the looks or the money, or even the connections you may have, but just how willing you are to make it far that will lead to your success.
What will be the suggestions to new photographers?
My suggestion to new photographers would be to be patient with yourself. I feel some photographers are in the same boat as models when it comes to breaking into the industry. Often it can be difficult to get your name out there, but the trick is to remain consistent and to remain hopeful. I believe that they should also be patient with new models, as some new models in the industry may struggle with how to pose, what outfits to bring, what accessories will look good on camera, ect. So the key is to always be patient with yourself and with those around you.
What is your favorite camera? Why?
I don’t have a particular favourite camera, as most of the photographers I work with all shoot with different types of cameras. I also haven’t done much photography myself, so I never became fixated on any specific camera of any type.
How do you prepare your new shoot?
Before photoshoots I do a fair bit of preparation. As soon as I know what style of shoot it is going to be, I start planning my outfits and accessories. I go through my wardrobe and begin to pick and match outfits that I believe will best suit the shoot, and in some cases I will message the photographer I am working with for approval.
I then pick out what Jewellery and accessories I think would best go with the shoot. Depending on how many outfits I have, I will pack a different pair of earrings/necklaces to swap along with each outfit. I also pack lots of rings and bracelets, and often bring hair accessories as well.
The night before a shoot I always make sure I have all the items listed above packed and ready to go in my bag. I always make sure I shower, shave and moisturise before bed, as well as applying a face mask of sorts, and then hop into bed at an early time, to ensure I am well rested.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration came from Pia Wurtzbach, who was Miss Universe in 2015, and who hails from the Philippines. Being of Philippine heritage myself, I was always fascinated by her and admired her determination to win Miss Universe. She won Miss Universe Philippines on her 3rd attempt, and while others at one point tried to discourage her and tell her it wasn’t meant for her, she still continued on until she made it. Whenever I start to doubt myself, I always think of her.
What are the most difficulties during your shoots?
The only difficulties I have faced during my shoots would have to be getting to shoot locations to begin with. This is an issue for me only because I live in a small country town, and the closest city that has anything related to modelling is more than an hour away from where I live. So often when I have a photoshoot, I always ensure I have the whole day free to allow myself enough time for transport, allowing for delays or any other sort of issue that may occur. This will ensure that I can still make it to my photoshoot on time if some issue were to arise.
How often do you create new works?
Before Covid - 19 struck and I was made to isolate, I had photoshoots happening for me quite consistently. I was shooting at least once every 2 weeks, despite my then hectic schedule of juggling 3 jobs. Modelling had really started to pick up for me back in October 2019, and that was when I found myself finally having a lot of work in modelling, and I had already had photoshoots booked for January through to March, with at least 4-5 shoots a month.
However since the covid lockdowns took place, I have been made to put all new content on hold, and will resume working again as soon as it is safe to do so.
What is the most important thing for creating new work?
I feel the most important thing for creating new work is to do something different with each photoshoot. It’s always ideal to finish a photoshoot with images that don’t look too similar to any of your previous photos from past photoshoots. It’s always good to have some variety with your work, as it keeps things interesting and will likely engage your audience even more.
Do you have that feeling? When you have a look at the work you created 1 or 2 years ago, you still think it is in fashion.
Looking back at the modelling I did 2 years ago, I certainly see a lot of improvement in my work, and realise just how big of a connection I have formed in the Melbourne area.
2 years ago I only knew a couple of photographers who I could work with to build my portfolio, and now I know so many that I can collaborate with for new content, for both myself and the photographer. Building a strong connection in the industry really helps to give you more variety in your work, because every shoot will always have a different style than the last, so it’s beneficial to both the model and the photographer to have a wide range of people to work with.
Will you still create new works when you are old?
Yes, I strongly believe that even when I am at an age where I am no longer able to continue with modelling and beauty pageants, I would still like to have myself heavily present in the industry. I am hoping to be an accomplished actress one day when my modelling days and pageant competing is all behind me.
Later down the track, I would also like to work closely with young models who are trying to break into the industry. I would like to see myself working as a talent scout for an agency, scouting fresh faces for the industry. I also still want to be in the pageant scene helping aspiring beauty queens, and the local pageant organisers by judging pageants, as well as mentoring the girls competing, such as providing them with tips on how to win, along with catwalk training.