“If You’re Doing Something You’re Not 100% Passionate About Then Burnout Can Occur Fairly Quickly” With Sarah McDaniel
“Only take on roles or projects that you’ll love! This is so important because if you’re doing something you’re not 100% passionate about then burnout can occur fairly quickly. However, if it’s a project that you love and enjoy showing up to then it won’t feel like work at all!”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah McDaniel. Sarah is a model, producer, actress and entrepreneur with more than 1M fans! She is currently starring in two feature films by major Hollywood studios, continuing her modeling career with brands including Savage x Fenty by Rihanna, producing stop motion animation with leading studio in that space, Movie Magic, and launching her CBD skincare line Walagoot.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Absolutely! When I was seventeen, Instagram had just launched. There were really no such things as “Instagram Influencers” yet, since the platform was so new. I started posting photos for fun, but of course posing like I was already a model, and I started to gain a following. Once I noticed there was actually something to this, I began working with professional photographers and videographers, including Theo Wenner. The professional shots really helped increase my following on social media, which led to the other amazing opportunities like modeling with Guess.
Because Theo is pretty well-connected, he invited me to be a part of projects he was working on, including starring in the music video for “Summer Breaking” by Tame Impala’s Mark Ronson. The video was a huge success. Theo and I loved working together so he contacted me about modeling for the cover of the first non-nude issue of Playboy Magazine, which was such an honor.
Although I still model, I’ve started focusing on my true passions: stop-motion filmography and my CBD oil line, Walagoot. I created a fun short animated series featuring a rabbit known as “The Professor” which I created in partnership with Movie Mountain Studios. We are now working on a cyclops character for our next series.
In terms of my CBD oil line, I used to struggle with acne as a teenager. After trying everything on the market, I developed Walagoot which completely cleared my skin.
My current projects include starring alongside Lala Kent in the Lionsgate horror-thriller film, The Row, in theaters now, and starring in the upcoming Steven Soderbergh film Perfect which is directed by
Eddie Alcazar and stars Abbie Cornish, due out this December. In addition, I recently became one of the faces of Savage x Fenty, which is Rihanna’s clothing line. I will be featured in their Fall / Winter 2018 campaign which is such an honor!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
There are too many stories to count! One example though is when I was first starting out in my career I was at this really trendy party. I randomly got to chatting with a man and I mentioned how I modeled and was planning to branch out into some entrepreneurial endeavors like stop-motion filmmaking. We totally clicked and became instant friends. Well it turns out that man was Theo Wenner, who is the son of Rolling Stone founder, Jann Wenner. I had no idea at first! I owe a ton of thanks to Theo who ultimately got me the role in the “Summer Breaking” music video and the first non-nude Playboy cover shoot which launched my career.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Every project for me has been exciting! I only take on projects that I know I’ll love and have a passion for. You have to or else you won’t give it your all. I’m currently very excited for the launch of the upcoming Savage x Fenty line by Rihanna, which will be out around the holidays. I’ll be serving as one of the main faces of the campaign!
I’m also excited to continue and expand on my stop-motion filmography. I’m making more videos with my first character, The Professor. He’s pretty much a genius and we take insightful but humorous quotes from thought leaders like Neil DeGrasse Tyson and dub it over The Professor to make it seem like he’s serving knowledge. I’m also creating a new cyclops character who I can’t wait to introduce to the world!
Of course, I can’t wait for the world to see my two upcoming feature films, The Row and Perfect!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Only take on roles or projects that you’ll love! This is so important because if you’re doing something you’re not 100% passionate about then burnout can occur fairly quickly. However, if it’s a project that you love and enjoy showing up to then it won’t feel like work at all!
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I have a passion for helping people suffering from similar skin conditions that I had. My acne and mild eczema took a huge toll on my self-confidence and I never felt pretty or confident enough. I know that there are girls (and boys) out there who are suffering from similar skin conditions and I want to do everything to make sure they know that they’re still beautiful. This is why I’m launching Walagoot, my CBD skincare line, which completely cleared up my skin and I know it can work for them!
In addition, I hope to later expand my line from topicals to more medicinaltinctures for things like bone density, migraines, and eventually herbal chemo. I’d really like to use my knowledge of CBD oil to help people medically and work toward creating cancer preventatives. There’s an entire untapped market with cannabis and medicine. I’m really excited to see how in the coming years cannabis will be used to help cancer patients, those suffering from pain, seizures and more. I want to be a part of that.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- People will look at you differently because you’re a young woman. You will have to work harder and prove your worth, and there’s not point in getting angry about it.
- Don’t give up. You will get rejected, but that’s a part of life. If everything came easy it wouldn’t build character. Plus, rejection is a motivating factor to work harder.
- There will always be trolls so have thick skin. I can’t tell you the amount of false information and rumors I’ve seen about me, particularly online. Sometimes when you find success, even the people you thought were closest to you can be hurtful. However, you can’t let that get to you because that’s just what they want. You have to keep pushing forward and ignore the haters. Success is the ultimate revenge.
- Follow your own intuition! You know what’s best for you, despite everyone else in your ear telling you what they think you should do.
- Take every meeting presented to you. You never know what may come from it or who you’ll meet. Even if it’s just a coffee date or invite to a party/event. I ended up meeting Theo Wenner at a party and he’s helped me tremendously throughout my career.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
As cliché as it may sound, my advice is, “Never, ever give up,” and always follow your own intuition and gut. Everyone will have their opinions on what you should (or shouldn’t do) but at the end of the day, it’s your life and your career. Lead it the way you want and feel comfortable with! Doing what others want may make them happy, but you can’t live to please everyone.
Here’s one example: I was pitching a short film idea to a room full of guys. They basically laughed me out of the room. I was actually shocked. I then contacted a male friend and asked him to pitch the same idea. He did and the room loved it. So I know it was a good idea!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are too many to name! The most current would have to be a friend, Foster Huntington, who is basically doing everything I’m working for now. He’s an influencer/ filmmaker hybrid with an amazing mind! He’s doing stop-motion animation at a much larger scale than I am so I find his work inspiring. He helped me get “The Professor” off the ground and basically taught me everything I know about stop-motion. He’s based in Portland, but I know that I can always pick up the phone and ask him anything.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
Elon Musk. I think he’s super smart and has worked to do some great things with his companies and money. He also thinks outside of the box, like, “How can we get a car to Mars?!” I’d love to pick his brain.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!