In this series of engaging and inspiring interviews with world class artists, creatives and entrepreneurs, Rayna Campbell of Flow Artists asks Model and Luxury Travel and Lifestyle writer, Rachel Ritfeld a series of questions about art, creativity and Mindset.
1. Hello Rachel, can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to be an artist/creative?
My name is Rachel Ritfeld and I started modelling at 15 years old and went full time after I graduated university at 20.
At 15 I was discovered on the streets of Belgium where I was living at the time. My first job there was for L’Oréal and I enjoyed it a lot.
After University I didn’t want to get a “proper job” I wanted to travel the world and immediately after graduating I had a booking in Jamaica and then one in Antigua which helped me to realise that this is the best way to travel. I haven’t looked back since.
I have modelled all over the world, some highlights were seeing myself in a US billboard for a brand called Akademics (that was my first billboard), featuring in a 50 cent and Justin Timberlake video, numerous catwalk shows all over the world, countless TV commercials and TV shows
2. What projects are you working on at the moment?
Currently my career is twofold: I focus on commercial modelling while I am in London and I am expanding my business as a luxury travel and lifestyle writer which allows me to travel a lot to some of the most beautiful parts of the world and write beautiful stories about it.
I am enjoying this balance at present and am open to additional opportunities that come my way.
3. What do you do to stay at the top of your game as an artist/creative?
I love how the question specified on top of MY game as opposed to THE game. My idea of success and being on top of my game is achieving a healthy balance of meeting and exceeding my responsibilities and the goals I set for myself without compromising family life, general happiness and emotional health.
So staying on top of my game is all about balance and discipline for me. Because I work sporadic hours, I have to set working hours for myself to achieve a healthy balance. Additionally I love working with other creatives such as directors and photographers so I’m often looking for collaborations as it keeps the portfolio fresh and allows me to delve into new creative fields.
4. How do you deal with rejection?
I don’t deal with rejection. It’s not a real “thing” until you make it a problem. I accept that not all jobs are meant for me and I embrace the ones that are and forget the ones that aren’t. I go to every meeting or audition with the same energy and determination and if it’s a match that’s great. Just as the brands / clients know what they are looking for I also know my worth and what I am looking for so I just put one foot in front of the other and keep it moving.
5. We do a lot of mindset work in Flow, how important is it to have a healthy mindset as an artist and how do you keep yours healthy and positive?
Mindset it the most important thing. It can draw people and opportunities to you or push them away.I am grateful for every single opportunity that comes my way, I believe gratitude without expectation or pressure is the single most important characteristic to having a successful life. Your idea of success is individual to you. You can have all the money in the world and not be happy and others have very little material wealth and are always smiling.
Why is that?
Because their mindset is positive and seeing the good in everything rather than dwell on the negatives.
6. You work a lot as a model. What do you think are the most important elements/traits to have in order to be a successful and consistent working artist?
Firstly it is important to know and understand your market. At different stages of my career I have looked different and adapted my career accordingly.So whereas when I was a fashion model in my early 20s and size was a big element, it’s less of an element nowadays for the commercial work I do but also as you get older grace and elegance become a more important factor, knowing those little things helps to tailor the jobs you go for. So all meetings and jobs I go for are catered to me.
7. How do you approach castings? And what advice can you give to other models about how to mentally prepare for them - before the meeting and after it (while waiting to hear if they have been successful)?
Always look well put together, polished and natural. The more simple you dress and look the better. They want to be able to imagine their brand on a blank canvas and at times being too fashionable with distracting clothing and nails can work against you unless that’s specifically what they are after. Most of the time you won’t know what they will ask you when you enter the casting so don’t worry about it too much just be in a great mood and be charming. Never say “I don’t know” to any question, make something up if you have to but always have something to say. The more informed you are about the brand the better but often I go to castings and I actually don’t know what the job is for, I only know the shoot dates so I know that I am available and not wasting anyone’s time.But I trust my agents so if they want me to go for a casting I just go and trust that everything will be ok. But I understand that this confidence comes with years of experience, when you are starting try to get information from your agent so you feel confident.
I never really focus too much attention on “waiting to hear” if I got a job or not, I go to the castings, at times I go to many in a day and I will hear about it when I get booked. So I always keep it moving and looking ahead.
8. How do you deal with competitiveness and jealousy in the industry?
I don’t deal with jealousy. This also comes with years of experience to have the confidence to know that the industry is big enough for all of us to work and make a living. So show up, be nice to everyone and if a “competitor” looks nice, I will just tell her she looks nice. Jealousy isn’t in me so I give it no energy. And if someone expresses some jealousy towards me I also give it no energy other than perhaps to say something nice to break the ice.
9. Knowing what you know now, if you could go back to a time when you were just starting out as an artist/creative/model and maybe struggling for work and a healthy income, what advice would you give to yourself?
Never rely solely on your agent or sit back and wait for the call. Be proactive, shoot more, do more, express more enthusiasm to the agents so you are always on their mind if anything comes up. This is my advice to new models coming up.
My advise to myself is to never let someone disrespect you. The booking is not that important and there will be other jobs don’t just sit there when someone disrespects you in fear that you won’t get booked again. Defend yourself in a respectful and respectable way, figure out how to do that with class and you will forever be respected.
10. And finally, how important is social media for you as a model?
For me personally as a model it’s not super important because the market I currently work in most as “real person” doesn’t require a high following.
Of course this is very different for a fashion model. Many get bookings based on social media following. I understand this but at the same time disagree with this so much because it’s so easy to buy followers so you never know which following is legitimate or not. I would advise you to always be authentic to you, it may be a slower start but you will achieve more longevity which is more valuable than a quick temporary high flying career.
To see more of what I am up to check out my website www.rachelritfeld.com and twitter /instagram @rachelritfeld