From a Model’s Mind: Going Mental with Amanda Yu
Marilyn Agency’s Amanda Yu talks exclusively to M/O/M about the reality and beauty she gleaned from moving to the city, to take on her dreams. Life isn’t always a beach, dudes…but it helps to bring sunblock. Here’s her story:
My name is Amanda Yu, and I am 22 years old. I have been modeling for over 4 years now. Of course when I first started, it was new and super exciting! I started modeling in San Francisco; a few months later got a call from Ford LA. So I went, and it was all so surreal. Despite the changes, I continued going to school.
A few months after that, my agents called me to tell me that FORD New York wanted to work with me! My heart dropped. This was probably the best news I’d ever heard. This was a DREAM COME TRUE. I talked it over with my parents and tried to convince them that this was a huge deal; that taking a semester away from college to give modeling a try in NYC was not a bad idea. Modeling had always been my dream. I fantasized about being in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows…this could be the first step!
Once I made it to the Big Apple, it was such a rush. Getting there and meeting all of my new agents was amazing, but little did I know that I was going to be staying at a model’s apartment with a total stranger in a very new big city. Although I loved my roommate, Melody, I still had a hard time getting accustomed to the lifestyle. I’m from California; New York was a whole new world to me. Everything was compact, and my legs were always in pain from walking everywhere, especially up and down the subway stairs. There were homeless people, something I had to get used to (they ended up teaching me so much!). And of course, even in the chaos of New York City, I’d never felt so alone.
I cried myself to sleep every night. I would call my boyfriend and tell him how much I didn’t like it in New York and how much I missed him. I was extremely scared and depressed, dealing with a change I thought I’d wanted. Luckily for me, home was just a six-hour plane ride away. When I thought about the girls that came from different countries, who didn’t speak English, I’d tell myself I had it better than they did, so I should suck it up.
I started to really enjoy my job when I started booking big clients like Nordstrom, Sak’s fifth avenue, Macy’s, and Target. The money was good, SO good, and this trumped any worries or insecurities I had. The thing about modeling is that jobs come and go when they please. You have absolutely no control over this. You can make 50 thousand dollars in one month but make five hundred dollars another. Now, as someone with rent, agency fees, and taxes to pay…that is a major anxiety trigger.
Luckily for me, my clients have been extremely loyal and steady. Even still, I find myself facing the harsh truths of anxiety. When I do have a week off, all I can think about is if I’m ever going to work again. On top of this, I don’t enjoy flying either… and that is all I do. Living like this for a few years really hurt me mentally. I didn’t know who I was anymore. Due to bad anxiety, I cancelled so many plans because I’d make myself sick and never wanted to go out. It is SO BEYOND embarrassing and very sad but I know many people going through the same issues. I think we should talk about it, not just deal with it in silence.
Fed up, I took the next step. It took me 3 years to realize that there was something really wrong with me. I honestly thought that my sickness was a simple stomach problem; I chased this issue by going to see every doctor out there, but they couldn’t find anything to explain how I was feeling.
It was soon after that I realized I wasn’t just unhealthy physically, but instead had an unhealthy mind.
People might make fun of me for seeing a therapist, go ahead!Personally I can’t believe how much it’s helped…it really changed my life. I allowed my life to revolve around modeling ever since I was 18. AMANDA YU, the MODEL. That is all I was to me. It didn’t help the fact that I wasn’t a big deal model either. I was just some e-commerce girl and no one knew my name, I would think.
My therapist drew out a pie chart for me. She divided it into equal sections and listed: student, girlfriend, daughter, sister, painter, model, and puppy mommy. Those 7 things are what define ME. So I’m not just a model. I’m more than that. I will admit that I do take anti-anxiety medication to help me get through some situations. My therapist believes that it will help me with my physical problems, as well as easing my anxiety. It’s not easy traveling and having panic attacks and feeling like you can’t control your own life. But I now have the tools to focus on exuding gratitude for where I am in life.
I have to say, I am very proud of myself for making this decision, because it has truly changed my life. Don’t let anybody judge you. You need to live your life how you can. Good for you if you don’t need therapy or medications, but not everyone is this capable and we all need to deal with situations the best we can. My point is, be the best person you can be, regardless if you need help or not. I hope that my story helps people open up. I know these feelings are an issue for everyone, especially in our industry. No one should feel ashamed.