"It allows you to help see yourself as not only beautiful but art as well.”

photo by jacob griego

Beaches. Flowers. Sunny City Days. Model Sterling Raine from San Diego, California captures this essence of the Southern California lifestyle perfectly on her Instagram (@sterlingraine). About to go into her first year of college, Sterling’s positive and ambitious outlook on life is reflected through her social media presence, showing both the beautiful scenery of the city with pictures of herself that give off a sense of determination. Although she has only gotten into modeling a little over a year ago, Sterling’s success thus far has been impressive, and her determination to continue to grow is undeniable.

Sterling’s experiences with modeling started fairly recently, yet she instantly felt a connection. “I met my current boyfriend then and he was getting more into photography and needed a model to practice on so he started taking pictures of me, and I fell absolutely in love with modeling. I’m inspired to continue modeling because of how it makes me feel. It’s been a huge source of self-confidence for me. It’s also given me a passion. Growing up I was never really that passionate about anything and had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. Even throughout high school, I was worried that I’d never find my passion, and then I stumbled upon modeling.”

photo by worry free photography

This lack of passion changed recently. Sterling’s interests are extensive and original. “Outside of modeling, I’m a tap dancer. I’ve loved dance since I was little and rediscovered tap dance during high school.I’m always on the hunt for new creative hobbies though and am always trying new things, currently, I’m trying out embroidery.”

Sterling’s passion for modeling is reflected through her ability to focus and set out to accomplish her goals. “Balancing modeling with work and school can be tough, especially since I’m still very young. Any free time I have I try to set up shoots, but sometimes I do end up having to take breaks. I mainly find photographers to work with through Instagram and networking with other photographers I’ve met.”

However, doing it all herself has not always been easy. “I’m not signed to an agency, and it’s been a struggle to get signed because of my height. Of course not being signed has affected the type of jobs I get, and if they’re paid or not. However, it hasn’t been a big concern for me since I’m still relatively new to modeling. My main goal up until recently has really just been to practice and get experience shooting in different environments with different photographers”

What Sterling talks about the most, however, are the lessons of self-love that she has learned thus far. “Modeling has boosted my confidence a lot. I feel much more comfortable in my own skin and more comfortable to experiment with things such as clothing and makeup, ways I can visually express myself. I’ve learned a lot about self-love and self-image. I’ve learned that loving yourself actually does take work and that you have to be kind to yourself. I’ve also learned that nothing comes easy. You aren’t gonna be good at everything, and even modeling takes lots of practice.”

photo by worry free photography

“Modeling is a very interesting process to go through,” she says. “At first it can be tough because it kind of displays all your flaws and puts them right in front of your face. But that actually can be so useful in becoming more confident and learning to love yourself. You see all of these things you don’t like about yourself and are forced to realize that they aren’t important. Modeling is also super helping because, at the end of really great projects, you get some really great photos, and when you see those photos all those little flaws don’t even matter, you just see this beautiful picture and can’t even believe that it’s you sometimes. It allows you to help see yourself as not only beautiful but art as well.”

Sterling has her hopes high in terms of her career and is ready to work hard, and hopes the same for others as well. “I’m absolutely interested in modeling professionally and know with a lot of hard work I’ll get there! For someone who expresses interest in modeling, I’d tell them that if they want it, never give up. Even I come at a disadvantage in the modeling industry for my height. But that doesn’t mean I’m gonna give up. Nothing comes easy and if you want something, it’ll be hard, but you have to keep trying.”

Sterling has the work ethic, determination, and optimism that will make her strong in whatever she sets out to do. With this kind of motivation, success of any form is inevitable.

photo by ben dulay

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

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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