Talent Diaries
October 20, 2023

Talent Diarist #6: Scouted at just 14, Follow Emily's Epic Journey as a Model & Content Creator - Know Your Worth to Thrive in the Industry

Name: Emily Kate Armato

Occupation: Model + Content Creator 

How long have you been with TRF for: 7 Years

Meet Emily Kate Armato, a remarkable talent whose journey in the world of modeling and content creation has been nothing short of epic. In this exclusive feature, we delve into Emily's extraordinary career, tracing her path from being scouted at just 14 to becoming a renowned Model and Content Creator. Discover her invaluable insights on knowing one's worth in a dynamic industry that thrives on authenticity and adaptability.

1. What inspired you to become a model, content creator and how did you get started in the industry?

In high school, theater was my passion; the thrill of slipping into various characters and diving deep into their universes was exhilarating. I reveled in communicating their stories, no matter how dark, and interactions with the world around them. At 14, a stylist from Chadwick Models in Perth scouted me. Given my penchant for embracing diverse roles, the transition to modeling felt like a seamless next chapter.

Content creation, however, was a whole new realm. My journey began during the nascent days of Twitter, even before Instagram’s launch in late 2010. Brands flooded my Twitter with products to showcase, and an epiphany struck: why not monetize this exposure? And so, I ventured into the world of what we now call "influencing". Today, with platforms spanning Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and more, maintaining a dynamic presence can indeed be demanding, but the challenge only adds to the excitement!

2. Can you walk us through a typical day in your life as a model, content creator?

My typical day is usually a mix of modeling commitments and content creation strategies. I kickstart my day around 5:00 am,(depending on if I was an insomniac that night), with a strengthening workout or ballet class, followed by a nutritious, plant-based breakfast rich in protein and complex carbs to fuel me for the day.

At 6:30 am, I engage in Bible reading and meditation to center my mind and heart. Spending time with my cats adds a joyful touch to my morning routine. By 7:00 am, I'm diving into my schedule and emails, which could involve casting calls, fittings, photoshoots, or brand meetings. Preparation is key, whether it's packing my model essentials or researching a brand's ethos for potential collaborations.

Lunch is often on-the-go, typically a pre-packed gluten-free sandwich with nuts. On shoot days with early 5 am call times that can extend into the evening, good preparation is crucial. I always carry a blanket (and sometimes a heater – studios can get chilly) and plenty of healthy snacks to keep myself and the team energized.

On non-modeling days, I dedicate time to content planning. I brainstorm ideas, scout shoot locations, and meet deadlines for content requests. In the evening, I'm frequently editing photos, engaging with my followers through comments and messages, and jotting down future content ideas. Maintaining a genuine connection with my audience is essential.

To wrap up the day, I cherish downtime with my husband and our two rescue cats. It's a precious opportunity to recharge and reflect, ensuring I stay grounded amidst the whirlwind of my daily routine.

3. How do you manage your finances as a model, content creator and what strategies have you found to be most effective?

Managing my finances as a content creator and model requires a multifaceted approach to navigate the industry's inherent volatility. I employ several key strategies, including diligent budgeting with QuickBooks, comprehensive financial planning via tools like Evernote, and diversification of income through monetizing multiple platforms, merchandise sales, premium content, and real estate investments. I maintain an emergency fund to weather industry downturns, allocate a portion of income for taxes with support from a knowledgeable accountant, and prioritize clear contractual terms before projects. Skill enhancement remains vital through continuous education, while prudent spending aligns purchases with financial objectives. Lastly, working with my amazing lawyer Alyssa Malchiodi ensures fair negotiations and protection from exploitation by brands. This approach not only fuels my passion but also strengthens my financial standing, offering stability in the dynamic world of content creation and modeling.

4. What types of brand partnerships have you worked on in the past, and how do you decide which collaborations to take on?

I’ve worked with Moët & Chandon, Aveda, Swarovski, BMW, American Express, Seafolly, OSEA, Strivectin, Drunk Elephant, Sunday Riley, Sportscraft, Italian Tourism Board, My Fitness Pal, Ninja Kitchen etc etc. 

Navigating brand collaborations is a thoughtful process for me. Firstly, authenticity is paramount; I must genuinely resonate with a brand or its products. Before considering a  partnership, I thoroughly research the brand's values, mission, and practices. It's vital that they align with my personal beliefs and the interests of my audience. 

Moreover, I emphasize the importance of quality over quantity. Instead of overloading my content with numerous partnerships, I prioritize those that bring value to my audience. This ensures that when I introduce a product or service, it's something I truly believe in and think will benefit my community.

Furthermore, I evaluate the flexibility and creative freedom a brand offers. Collaborations are most successful when there's mutual respect for each other's expertise. I'm more inclined towards brands that trust my understanding of my audience and give me leeway to present their product in a manner that feels genuine and not overly scripted.

Lastly, I consider the long-term potential of a partnership. Building long-lasting relationships with brands allows for more cohesive and authentic storytelling, benefiting both parties. If I foresee potential for growth and mutual success, I'm more likely to engage in collaboration.

Every collaboration I take on is a reflection of my brand and a recommendation to my audience, so I approach each with care, ensuring it's a good fit for all involved.

5. Can you share any tips for negotiating rates with brands, and how you determine your own value as a model, content creator?

Sure! When it comes to negotiating rates with brands and determining your value as a model or content creator, it's essential to start by recognizing your worth. Unfortunately I see models and creators lowball themselves, thinking they won’t be hired if they charge too high, but if you have years of experience, skills acquired in photography, editing, and videography, teamed with a killer portfolio, you are worth those rates. This is also crucial to understanding industry standards based upon your experience, knowledge, portfolio, and past bookings. Look at rates for comparable models in your region and niche, which The Right Fit is amazing at providing. Also take into consideration:

  • Get Everything in Writing: Particularly crucial for models. Ensure details like shoot duration, location, wardrobe changes, breaks, and image rights are clearly outlined in the contract.
  • Exclusivity Clauses: Especially relevant for models, where brands might want you not to work with competitors. This should command a higher rate.
  • Be Open to Counteroffers: If a brand can’t meet your rate, they might offer other perks. Models might get benefits like professional photographs for their portfolio or exposure in prominent campaigns.
  • Consider Long-Term Relationships: Especially beneficial for models, as consistent work with a brand can lead to more prominent roles, ambassadorships, or even becoming the face of a campaign.
  • Modeling Specifics: Understand if the job is editorial, e-com, commercial, swimwear, runway, or another type. Rates can vary significantly between these categories. Plus, know the usage rights—will the images be used locally, nationally, or internationally? Will they be used on tv, billboards, bus stops? This can also affect your rate.

Remember, whether you’re a model or a content creator, the key is to continuously evolve, stay updated with industry trends, and never undervalue your unique contributions. As your reputation and experience grows, so should your rates.

6. How do you stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and best practices, and what resources do you rely on for education and inspiration?

I stay current with industry trends and best practices by exploring a variety of resources. I regularly read renowned fashion and content creation magazines like Vogue, Ellle, Harper’s Bazaar, and RUSSH to gain insights into prevailing and upcoming trends. Social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest serve as immediate windows into what's trending, allowing me to follow leading influencers and brands. I also take advantage of various software such as ‘Ask the Public’ where it will tell you the top current google searches based upon the topic of choice. I also take advantage of online courses from platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and MasterClass, covering topics like photography, videography, editing, writing, and modeling. I actively network with industry peers, follow dedicated bloggers, designers, photographers, stylists and other creatives to exchange ideas and build a team of friends for inspiration.

Engaging with my audience helps me refine my approach, and I maintain a close relationship with my agency to stay aligned with market needs. Additionally, traveling to experience global fashion scenes and seeking mentorship from industry veterans further enriches my understanding. My commitment to proactive learning and interaction with various industry channels ensures that I consistently bring an updated and informed perspective to my work

7. Have you experienced any challenges or setbacks in your career as a model, content creator and how have you overcome them? 

During my career as a model, I encountered a fair amount of bullying. One that probably was the most distressing experience was when I was working under contract with an overseas agency and the booker was incredibly cruel to me (which sadly isn't all too uncommon in the industry). I was put on rations of string beans and one protein bar each day while she would measure me each week and announce to the whole agency her disgust that my waist and hips were 24” and 35”. While it was a difficult experience, it ultimately taught me the importance of standing up for my rights and emotional and physical well-being as a model. Shortly thereafter I switched agencies to one that showed me respect and a duty of care as one of their models. Although the initial experience was traumatic, it reinforced the value of setting boundaries of what I will, and will not stand for. Fortunately, I have not encountered such circumstances since, but this experience has left an indelible mark on my awareness regarding agency conduct. It serves as a reminder to remain vigilant and swiftly address any signs of misconduct within the industry.

8. How do you manage balance in your life between work and personal life?

Balancing work with personal life, especially in my roles as a model and content creator, demands conscious effort. I achieve this by setting clear boundaries, maintaining an organized schedule, periodically re-evaluating it as needed, and closely monitoring physical and emotional well-being, all while cherishing time spent with friends and family. By making a continuous effort and prioritizing these strategies, I’ve found a rhythm that allows me to nurture both my professional aspirations and the personal relationships I deeply cherish.

9. What advice would you give to aspiring model, content creators who are just starting out and looking to build a successful career in the industry?

The journey to becoming a successful model and content creator is exciting, yet filled with challenges. Here’s my advice for those who are just embarking on this path:

  • Passion, Resilience and Persistence: Your journey will be filled with rejections and setbacks. Stay passionate about your craft, and persist through the tough times.
  • Stay Organized: Maintain a clear schedule, manage your finances responsibly, and ensure you meet all your commitments timely.
  • Network: Build relationships with other professionals. Attend industry events, engage on social media, and don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth.
  • Diversify Your Portfolio: Showcase a wide range of looks and styles to appeal to various brands and audiences.
  • Engage With Your Audience: Respond to comments, ask for feedback, and build a community around your brand.
  • Know Your Worth: When negotiating with brands or agencies, know your value and be prepared to advocate for fair compensation.
  • Take Care of Your Mental and Physical Health: The industry can be demanding. Prioritize self-care, seek support when needed, and set boundaries to ensure you remain at your best.
  • Stay Adaptable: The industry is constantly evolving, and flexibility can set you apart. Whether it’s adapting to new platforms, styles, or feedback, staying adaptable will serve you well.

Remember, success doesn’t come overnight. Celebrate small victories, keep refining your craft, and, most importantly, enjoy the journey. The world of modeling and content creation is as rewarding as it is challenging, and with dedication and the right approach, you can certainly leave a lasting mark.

10. How do you see the industry evolving in the next 5-10 years, and what changes do you anticipate?

Forecasting the evolution of the modeling and content creation industry can be tricky as it involves a blend of current trends and anticipated technological and societal shifts which are ever changing. But they can be predicted with a level of trust based upon the many variables in predicted data. Here’s a broad overview of how I envision the landscape changing in the next 5-10 years:

  • Increased Focus on Authenticity: As audiences become more discerning and seek genuine connections, there will be an even greater emphasis on authenticity, both in terms of modeling and content creation. Brands will prioritize collaborations with those who have an authentic voice and genuine engagement.
  • Virtual & Augmented Reality: The rise of virtual and augmented reality platforms will revolutionize content creation. Models might not just pose for photos but also for virtual experiences. Brands might integrate AR and VR into campaigns for more immersive experiences.
  • Rise of AI and Deepfakes: While this technology can be incredibly innovative, it can also be used for unsavory means which brings challenges in terms of authenticity and credibility. Models and creators will need to be aware of the implications and potential misuses.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: The industry will continue its shift towards greater inclusivity, embracing a broader range of body types, ethnicities, genders, and ages.
  • Sustainability: With growing concerns about the environment, there will be a greater emphasis on sustainable practices, both in the fashion world and in content creation.
  • Decentralization of Platforms: With the rise of blockchain and decentralized platforms, creators may move towards platforms where they have greater control over their content and monetization, potentially bypassing traditional middlemen.
  • Shift in Monetization Models: Subscriptions, fan donations, and direct sales might become more popular as creators seek more control over their revenue streams.
  • Increased Regulation: As influencer marketing grows, there may be stricter regulations around disclosures, advertising standards, and data privacy.
  • Holistic Well-being Focus: Mental health and well-being will become central topics, with models and creators using their platforms to discuss these issues and promote holistic health.
  • Rapid Platform Evolution: Just as TikTok emerged rapidly as a dominant platform, new platforms will rise, requiring creators to adapt quickly and diversify their presence.

While these are educated predictions, the dynamic nature of technology and society means surprises are inevitable. Staying adaptable, informed, and open-minded will be crucial for anyone in the industry.

11. Can you share any upcoming projects or partnerships that you're excited about, and how do you plan to continue growing your brand as a model, content creator?

Absolutely! I have two exciting magazine editorials coming out soon, but I must exercise discretion until they officially debut. On the partnership front, I’m elated to be collaborating with Nama Well and their Cold Pressed Juicer — a product that’s been instrumental in my personal health journey. Eighteen months ago, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, an illness unknown to me at the time. To my surprise, it affects approximately 10-12% of the global population, primarily women. This revelation spurred my journey of self-education and healing. Through my platforms, I aim to empower numerous women to manage this condition by addressing its root cause and nourishing their bodies. Regarding my growth strategy, it revolves around forming value-aligned collaborations, deeply engaging with my community, continuously learning to improve as a model, and ensuring that all my professional endeavors and content genuinely serve others and reflect my core values.—----

Are you intrigued by Emily’s story? At theright.fit, we're committed to empowering exceptional talents like Emily and connecting them with brands and opportunities that align with their vision. Whether you're a talent ready to embark on your journey or a brand searching for the perfect model, content creator, or influencer, we invite you to become a part of our vibrant community

Emily's inspiring journey, marked by her unwavering passion for her craft, showcases the power of resilience and determination in the modeling and content creation world. Her story serves as a beacon of encouragement for aspiring talents, reminding them to value their unique skills and embrace the challenges that come their way. You can follow Emily’s journey through her social platforms & blog listed below:

  • IG: @GLOWINGPLANTS
  • IG - @EMILYKATE.NYC
  • TIKTOK - @EMILYKATEARMATO
  • www.emilykatearmato.com

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