Professional Runway Model Talks About the Power of Professionalism and Image in Any Industry
What do the hospitality industry and the cutting edge world of modeling have in common? Turns out a lot.
“Bing really stressed the importance of professionalism which correlates directly with hospitality,” said Lexington freshmen, Tyra Kemper (2017, Elgin, IL). It’s all about carrying yourself in a way so that you are respected. No matter what industry you are in.”
Bing Shen-Bourdage left her home in Toronto, Canada at age 19 with her sights set on the runway. She knew it was going to be a risk. Moving across the Atlantic to pursue and work on her dream was no small matter. “How am I going to meet people? Where am I going to live? How can I pack all my things in one suitcase?!” And most daunting, “What if I’m not successful?”
These same questions have run through the minds of our own Lexington College students and future hopefuls. Just as many young girls that age are uprooted from the comforts of home and transplanting themselves to college to pursue a career, Bing knew that in order to stay focused she had some important decisions to make. While there were many unanswered questions during this period of time, the most significant question had a clear answer. “What is most valuable to me during this pursuit of my dream?” She realized that remaining loyal to her values and ethics system could carry her further than any job and that the professionals in the modeling industry would recognize this as something to set her apart. She made sure to act with professionalism and dignity on and off the runway. And this took her far. Because of her reliability, there were numerous occasions where top designers called her in to model for a runway show last minute replacing a “not-so-reliable” model. The image one projects sends a message to the observer. Bing challenged our students to ask themselves, “What message are you sending to the world or your future employer with your current image?”
Bing talked about how to create your own opportunities for success. It wasn’t that she was hired for every client she interviewed with. There were many times where she was received a “no” instead of a “yes.” Instead, she was able to use the rejection as motivation to continue to work hard and stay focused. In a way, receiving many “no’s” causes you to value the “yes” that could be the game changer.
It was the skills she acquired during her modeling opportunities abroad that allowed her to achieve success in any job. Eventually, she was uprooted once more. This time FORD Modeling Agency wanted to represent her in Chicago. Again she found herself asking the same questions – but this time she knew the recipe to success. Dedication to your values, professionalism and hard work was the secret. With this formula, Bing started out as a runner/clerk for a brokerage company and self-proprietor traders on the trading floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Eventually, she worked her way up to be an electronic day trader. All while maintaining her modeling career. Her work ethic made quite a few impressions upon business industry leaders and soon she was offered an opportunity to work for a commercial real estate developer building retail shopping centers.
What is the message that Bing most hopes students will retain? That a well-developed skill set of professionalism is invaluable and can transcend any career in any industry. Success comes from staying dedicated to a certain set of values. Bing emphasized that “success does not come to you, it comes from within you. Believe in yourself and your dreams will come true!”
Following Bing’s presentation, students were led through a makeup demonstration and personal application class. Once students were “camera ready” Bing directed a photo shoot of our very own in the West Loop. Stay tuned to the website for updates and photos!