Updated: Sep 8, 2019

"Stay true to who you are and own it while you can."

photo by francois berthier

As we grow older, it seems to become a matter of life to choose a focus and pursue it. Whether this is by choice or necessity, many of us find something to put all of our energy into. Or several things, like model GiGi Ansley from Palm Springs, California. Aside from being a signed model to League Models Agency, GiGi plays four sports, plays piano, acts and sings, along with traveling for basketball. How does she do it? A lot of passion and some serious time management.

Despite only in her sophomore year of High School, GiGi is no novice to the modeling industry. “I was scouted when I was 12 years old at school by my agent,” she says. “She saw me at school a couple of times and thought I was a very cute girl that stood out in the crowd. She then realized who I was and that she had a yoga class with my mom. Later through the years we took digitals, and would do little things through the process! Finally, I am old enough to start getting developed as a new face and I am learning about the industry.”

photo by debora barnaba

GiGi’s early entry into the modeling industry allowed for her to be in the right place at the right time, but the real work only just started. GiGi gave some insight into the methodology of the industry, explaining what it means to get started so young. “Well, in the modeling industry they get stricter and stricter on the age every year, so since I started out at such a young age it became a waiting game,” she says, yet she has high hopes. “But, since I am almost 16, I have had so much development this year, which was such a different experience, because instead of hearing about these development trips and experiences through my younger years, I was actually doing them and learning on my own. From working with different photographers to finally signing with agencies around the world, I keep on learning as I go.”

As she continues to take steps into the future with a career in modeling, she also just finished her first year of high school, with a packed schedule filled with extracurriculars. She hasn’t let her budding career stop her, though, expressing some serious artistic and athletic abilities. “I am very athletic and I have balanced many things through the years…. I do Varsity cross country, varsity basketball and varsity track, also I did volleyball. I also have been doing piano for 8 years. I play travel basketball too! And I love to act and sing also.”

With an undeniably packed schedule like hers, GiGi gives credit to the help of her parents. "Well, I have a big family so with all of our activities going on we try the best we can to manage all of our activities. My parents help a lot when I am trying to go to practices after school and they are always ready to help me reach a goal.” Her parents also are her motivation when it comes to her health, which is something that can be easily overlooked with a schedule that busy. “My parents are into health and fitness so they help me by making sure I eat the right nutrition and they help me train for all my different sports. They also remind me of time management and have taught me how to use my time wisely.”

Her inspiration to continue results from her motivation to do what she loves and to continue to grow. As she juggles so many different activities at once, her passion for modeling results from an ambitious and wide-eyed outlook on the world. “I am very competitive so I love to be great at what I do,” she says. “I love being dolled up and being very confident in what I do in front of the camera it is such a blast...I have always had a love for fashion so I love learning about it every opportunity I get.”

photo by laura wasilenkoff

In this discussion about everything she has done and what she is looking forward to, I take a moment to ask about what she has learned thus far. “I learned from the industry that it is very important to stay humble and to have a great personality. To stay true to who you are and to own it while you can.”

“Staying true to who you are and owning it while you can” stood out to me. Her confidence was clear through the previous questions, but this gave some further explanation of her thinking. “For staying true to myself I have learned what is right or wrong, how to use my voice,” she says. She also expresses a clear understanding of the value of maintaining her own identity, saying “I don’t change the way I act or my attitude because that would make this industry hard if I’m working all day yet I’m acting like a different person. And if people bring me down I go back to my basic morals keeping my head up high and smile. My favorite quote that I go back to is from Cinderella ‘have courage and be kind’. My mom has reminded all of my siblings this quote and it has become one of my favorites. Especially when people want to bring you down on trying to reach your goals.”

photo by debora barnaba

GiGi’s confident approach within her own lifestyle is what got her where she is and is what she wants others to do as well. “I would probably tell someone that if they wanted to get started they need to get themselves out there, to contact agencies, send development photos, and the key is to practice practice practice!” she says. “Also I would ask them if they really want it because it is a commitment to make. You are working all day and you have to stay wide awake and ready for action!”

GiGi’s pronounced sense of self is inspiring. From the work she puts into the things she cares about, to her desire to learn and grow, I have no doubt about her bright future in anything she pursues.

photo by nicole robertson

You can check out more of Gigi's work here:

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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