During the course of her diverse, rewarding lifestyle modeling career, Andrea Fazzini portrayed plenty of moms, but these days, she’s bringing personal experience to the role.
“Now that I have a couple of kids, I am a real mom, and I know what real moms are like,” she says. “It’s something that makes me extremely grounded and humble, which actually makes me better at my job.”
The job, by the way, is going very well. Andrea has four commercials running concurrently, and recently booked two more. She travels a lot for work, from Chicago to South Africa, and all over Europe.
“I’ve been everywhere at this point,” she says.
She calls New York’s Financial District home, where she lives with her husband and two daughters; her oldest just turned three in September, and daughter number two is 18 months. Yep, two girls under the age of five sounds like a handful, but mom and kids are actually having a ball booking jobs.
“It was an unexpected surprise,” Andrea says of the interest casting directors have in booking Andrea with her children. “I tell people, ‘they’re not models, but they do work.’ We work together as a family and it’s so much fun to be able to share my industry with them. They get a lot of attention from people who are fun. It’s just another adventure for them.”
In addition to “mom,” she consistently books other types, from neighbor to friend — Andrea recognizes that her bread and butter is the lifestyle board.
“I’m not an edgy girl,” she says. “You’re not going to see me standing outside a bar with a cigarette at 3 AM. I’m just not that person. I go to bed early and I really enjoy spending time with my kids. I don’t have a sharp-looking or angular face. I realized very early on when I started in this career that, for me, the biggest money I was receiving was from commercial lifestyle jobs. I’ve always been really happy with being in that wheelhouse, because I always know I can pay my bills there. This is where I’m comfortable. It’s just a really good place to be. I’ve had opportunities to do edgier work, but my money maker is commercial lifestyle.”
The Florida native was originally scouted in a mall by a vacationing New York Ford modeling agent. At first, Andrea’s parents were skeptical — the agency wanted to send her to Milan to build her book — but mom couldn’t leave her other three children to accompany her. As a result, modeling was put on the shelf for the time being.
As a senior in college (interning in Hawaii!) , she was scouted again, and this time, Andrea said yes. She booked her first job right out of the gate — for Nike. Talk about “just do it.”
“It gave me courage to pursue what was always in the back of my mind,” she says, “but I always felt self-conscious about what people I knew would say: Andrea thinks she’s so beautiful. Or my parents telling me that I’m not using my brain. But I haven’t looked back ever since, and it’s gotten better and better.”
You’ll always have a special place in your heart for your very first booking, no matter how far the career takes you.
“When I booked my first job,” she says of the Nike gig, “I was so nervous that I didn’t tell my family. I think the biggest thing for me is the reaction that I do get from my family and friends. Now they are extremely supportive of me. My mother-in-law has all my magazines. They’re excited for me, but they know who I am behind the smoke and mirrors.”
Though Andrea is still the same girl she always was, the world (and the industry) around her had changed drastically since her career beginnings. And she’s learned to roll with the evolution. For instance, at first, she was a bit late to the social media party, but she’s since embraced and mastered it.
“Instagram gives you the opportunity to be yourself and be authentic,” she says. “It’s helping me be more comfortable in my own skin. I can be who I am: how I authentically feel when I’m playing with my children, what I really look like, how I really dress, what I really do. It really makes the client feel like they might know you, and they want to be around you more. They want to have that same kind of energy on their set and in their product.”
Of course, Instagram as a marketing tool is very effective, as long as you can show ‘em how to take a great photo. Here’s how Andrea sees it:
“I’m an emotional and passionate person naturally,” she says. “That’s good to bring when you’re in front of the camera.”
She had also studied classical ballet in college, and has experience performing onstage — that kind of training always helps bring a better photo. She says, “Most photographers are really great at giving you a scenario to play with. When I get the direction of where I am going on set, I try to forget that I’m on a set, and I try to live the emotion in that moment.”
More industry changes — and survival strategies — include the growing intolerance for the few bad apples in the biz who have a lack of good intentions. We’ve heard the stories, and are hearing more of them lately, about some shady people working with models — especially young, inexperienced ones. Andrea urgently offers advice for those new faces learning to navigate through a difficult, subjective business.
“If there is something inside you that is telling you, ‘I’m a little uncomfortable here,’ just know that you don’t need to be there, you don’t need to do that,” she says. “And if you have great agents who are supporting you in your career, and you call them and express your concerns, they are going to to tell you to leave immediately, or they’ll do what they can to help get you out of that scenario. If you have great bookers, they are going to back you up and understand the situation, and keep working with you and push you.”
Andrea thinks back to a few times when she was in that uncomfortable situation; she was able to stop any trouble before it happened, and she hopes that most models will take her lead.
“Today, I would just leave and let my agent know,” she says of being swept up in a bad situation during a casting or booking, “but early on in my career, I was like, is this normal? Or is this not normal? If it doesn’t feel right, it’s not normal. A lot of young models want to save face — they think their career is on the line with this one photographer, and it’s not. It never is. You don’t have to do anything [like that] that you don’t want to do, and you’re not going to lose your career over it.”
What it boils down to, Andrea believes, is confidence, and knowing yourself.
“You have to be confident to say no, to say, ‘this is where I draw the line,’” she says. “That also gives you more character and helps you become a stronger talent in the future. Don’t accept what you are not sure is normal. Be true to yourself and make decisions that you are comfortable with.”
For a long and storied career, Andrea keeps her head level, her chin up and her life philosophy practical.
“We’re all out there,” she says. “We’re all doing the best we can. Show up early on set, work hard, don’t complain, and do a great job. And I think, no matter, what, they’ll remember you for the next time. You may not always be the prettiest girl in the room, but you can work the hardest. Act kind, work hard, and take chances, and you will go far in life.”
Check out Andrea’s portfolio here.
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