Model Tara Davis on Making It and Staying There

“Be genuinely nice to everyone,” advises lifestyle model Tara Davis.

She speaks from experience: Abbey, who would someday be a booker as well as the founder of Abbey Lynn Models, started as an assistant at Wilhelmina Models when Tara was a model with the agency. Each time Tara arrived at the agency, she would strike up a friendly conversation with Abbey.

“I was genuinely interested in how she was,” Tara says. “I was not just passing by. We had become friendly. The next thing you know, she was my booker. She always remembered that every time I came through the door — ‘ you always had a conversation with me.’ Now ten, twelve years later, this woman owns her own agency. That’s why I’m with her, because we have a background together. And it’s always been genuine. Be genuinely nice to people, because you never know where they are going to pop up in your life.”

Tara’s own life has been a storybook tale. A native of Newark, New Jersey, she has made a successful career of catalog, showroom, lingerie, and print advertising work, as well as countless on-camera appearances.

To what does she owe her consistent success?

“My attitude,” she says. “It starts with the casting. I’m excited about it. I’m grateful to my booker for thinking of me. And when you go in with that positivity, it somehow comes through. I may not be the thinnest or the most beautiful in the room, or maybe I’m not the tallest, but I know that I have a great attitude about life in general. And I just think that’s what gets captured. That’s my job. My job is to be on time, have a good attitude, do what is asked of me, and be in and out.”

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Immediately after high school, Tara headed to California to pursue her career goals. She booked a few music videos, most notably as the romantic lead in the Boys II Men classic “I’ll Make Love To You.” Yep, she’s the girl in the bathtub.

To this day, she gets recognized from that joint.

“People actually do recognize me as the years have gone by,” she says. “They say, ‘you look the same,’ and I’m like, ‘God bless you,’ because that was a long time ago!”

After that gig, the jobs began to come. Back in New York, a friend dared her to walk into the powerful Wilhelmina modeling agency. Tara accepted the challenge; the agency signed her immediately. She stayed with them for the next ten years.

“It was wonderful, all the way up to the time I got pregnant,” she says. “I didn’t even know I was pregnant. I was on a catalog shoot and they had the clothes lined up for me. Things weren’t fitting. I couldn’t understand why they were bringing me smaller sizes when they knew me so well. Sure enough, I was pregnant and I didn’t know. It was me who was the problem, not them.”

Once it was confirmed that she was pregnant, she quit the biz.

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“I was almost 40,” she says, “and I felt like I needed medical attention. I needed to take it easy. I felt like I was too old to have a child.”

It all worked out, thankfully. Her daughter was born, and Tara was in love with her and with being a full-time mom.

“I took a break for like nine years,” she says. “Now, my daughter has taken a break from me! So I said, ‘I better get back into this.’”

The difference now, of course: experience, most of which she is happy to share with new faces and aspiring models.

Regarding the #METOO movement, Tara says, “I love that women are being heard and being believed.”

More specifically on how young people can protect themselves from potential predators, Tara has some sage advice.

When it comes to castings and go-sees, she says, “Don’t go by yourself if you are fourteen or fifteen years old. Go with someone. You don’t necessarily need a bodyguard, but just another person you know. I used to go with my grandmother. I feel that when people see that someone loves you, they leave you alone. Take someone with you. Take your uncle. Take your sister. Take somebody with you so that these people know that you can’t be taken advantage of.”

Another wise slice of advice that has helped Tara stay successful and working:

“Trust your booker, because that’s what I do,” she says. “You need your booker. They are going to fight for you. They are going to get the best deal for you. You are not going to get screwed over if you have a good booker.”

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Her winning smile also helps land the jobs.

“A good smile comes from within,” she says. “If you have a good attitude, the good smile is going to come out, especially at work. Bring yourself to that happy place and it will show up on film.”

Click here to check out Tara’s portfolio.

Click here to contact an Abbey Lynn Models agent.

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