Beri Smither: American Model
They can. Part of failure. I'm your host Steve Friedman. Thanks for tuning in. Yes. This is art of failure the podcast that explores what it means to fail as a human person. We all try so hard not to fail on a daily basis. And we also forget on a daily basis that failure is part of life, and that we can use failure as a catalyst for growth and movement towards bigger. And better things guys today, we have one of those awesome supermodels from the nineteen nineties berry Smith, very started modeling shoes. Seventeen and was sent to Paris where success follow she worked with fashion icons, such as Bruce Weber her Brits, Arthur Elgort, Michael Thompson. Steven Klein, Peter Lindbergh, and many more barriers appeared on the covers of and workman, countless magazines, including American British talian and French vogue as well as L Laurie. Claire glamour and caused. Politics in one thousand nine hundred eighty eight buried appeared in her first Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, two thousand twelve appeared on E television, scouted mentoring young models, and she continues to mentor young folks getting into the fashion industry today. She is a working model, and she spoke to me about that career growing older and how she shot herself in the foot again. And again, listen up. It's so good to see you. Thank you so much doing this. Thanks for having me. Awesome. To have you here. How are you? I'm amazing realty grateful. That's the admiring the name of this podcast, especially our of failure. Because I just think that that's a powerful phrase Arte failure. I think there is art in it. I think there's art in the recovery from it. It's interesting is positive, and I think to use the word art, I think there's art in lots of things, and I was sort of brought up. No art is art art is Moller or Van Gogh or dealiest or Shakespeare. But nothing else is art that I fell in love with all these other things like sports, and the and all these other things and found art in them. So I think that there is art in failure. And the people that I'm talking to and you included successful people. How do we use failure? As a catalyst. How do we use failure to come back from get over? Deal with allow it to be there the duality of it. So anyway, Where'd you? Grow up, you grew up civic north west northwest. Beautiful. What was that like great? I was in the suburbs. Head grass. I you know, I had a great childhood. I mean, you know, a little bit of disruption when the divorce happened. All ten early failures for you like, do you? Remember some early things. Maybe maybe your parents. My mom considered getting pregnant eighteen not necessarily fell yer, but it wasn't spoken about their failures. And I don't remember hearing a lot about especially not for my dad. Okay. But yeah, I mean, every family has failures dark skeletons in the closet. Yeah. For sure. I would say, you know, what when I was twelve thirteen. I was big track are very into long jump and high jump, and and excelled, and I qualified for the national the national meat, and I went, and I did my poorest performance ever because of nerves I was super super nervous. And I gave my the worst jump ever placed thirteenth now at the end of your career. Not quite it's winding down because I became more interested in extracurricular activities, right? The teen different. Gotta Hijau different. Kinda high jump pie. Yeah. That happens at that age to to a lot of people. Yeah. Okay. And in a very young age, you were tapped to go to Paris and get the modeling can just talk a little bit about that the beginning of your modeling career. And what your feelings were about all that stuff as a kid. So yes, fifteen I was seventeen seventy so after high school I finished high school kind of tumultuous path of high school made it through and then all through my life people. It said you're so photogenic you should model. I had no academic ambition. So I just wanted to travel really wanted to see the world. So I said, you know, let me get this modeling shop. So I went to agency. And they said sure you could work agency in the Pacific actually well in Oregon. Yeah, they have agencies all these small cities looking for local girl next door. Well, there's local work to those local department stores as nineteen eighty nine different. But they still exist and these smaller markets, and so I started working, and then they. They said do you want to go to Paris? I have a scout this interested in new scout meaning agency there that's interested in you. And I went and I got out of Salem through modeling. Seventeen seventy to graduate high school. What was tumultuous about high school? Well, I other than the normal things that high school is go through right? Yeah. Yeah. Growing up is challenging sometimes you know, I'd like to drink like to experimental lot. So I took that path. And I I wrote it real hard long time and. Yeah. I think it wasn't so much high school was challenging I think just that period in my life was challenging so early. Eighteen nineteen people are paying you to do small gigs. Or is it is it just skyrocket from the beginning. Well. It was skyrocket from the beginning. I mean, I was blessed. I met the right people. We clicked it was off to the racist from them, and I was making money quickly. So when people before you started modeling said, you know, you've got this great low key shit. You could do this. How did you feel about your physical appearance before modeling started? It's funny. I would look at magazines and see Christy Turlington. I would compare myself and say I I could do that. But I was too frayed. Interesting. So it it fell into my lap kind of because my stepdad had connections. And so I just kind of said, yes. And then it turned out I seek it. Yeah. Yeah. So would you say that you had a good healthy image of your appearance? I don't think it's changed much from now to then. What is that? What is kidding kidding? I've grown and I've got more confident and accepting of myself. And I think then I was. Young. I just I just keep relating to filling young. I mean seventeen eighteen you're so young you really having done like the major comparing yourself to others yet. You might miss started. You haven't done like the my waist, isn't that small my late my thighs? It's fat my profile my, but is a bubble. I need a flat. But I need bigger boobs. I need whatever I say these things every morning, by the way. As a kid seventeen. I knew I wasn't like this bony girl, but it didn't affect me as much as maybe it would have like you're my twenties and thirties when I really wanted to change like when I wanted to change, but I couldn't because this is the body that God gave me. So it's like do the work to accept the body and treat it the best. You can like an athlete. Train's model is the same. I would always look at it. Like that. Like, it's my business. Just like an athlete trains for the race. I need to train for my business. Pure say started to get a healthier view toward it and also just an accepting view too. Because you can only go so far all this early success as a model skyrocketed, and but there's some early failures to can you talk about some of those of sure I mean, I was at the height of my career and. I was. So a lot of my life revolves around recovery from drugs and alcohol or good. And I mean, I was at the height of my career. And I was my life was being run by the substances. Not by my choices. I was not showing up for the third day of DKNY campaign with Peter Lindbergh. Well, I did show up my agent had to come get me. Duck my head and ice. Like, you definitely feel like a failure. When you're walking out at nine AM, new your apartment with your sunglasses on everyone's going to work and the kids are going to school to hear them, and you're going to get more drugs. Yeah. Yeah. That's that's definitely a failure. Walk. Walk for sure. Or, you know, some of the disgraceful things that we do under substance abuse that you know, we wouldn't do otherwise. 'cause we we didn't have choices if we're true addicts alcoholics. But even even DKNY thing the third you do make your Asia calls. They get buried to the set they get her and they dunker head on the ice. You go home that night, you probably still involved with substance. But there's no feeling of Morris or I I gotta get my shit together. Or I screwed up a fifteen thousand dollar shoot or whatever. Well, I mean, I've done that before where I've cancelled the day before and had to pay for the studio rental maybe a few of the people's day rates some of the props that's happened before. And what is what does that feel like? Believe it or not so weird. I I'm not connected to because like my agents would just take care of it. Of course, it was my money, but they would just take care of it. I mean, it's really that classic story of being enabled. And I was making money. It's not like I had a lot of time to sit and wallow. It's like shut so much to home with the substances you shut so much down. But I've had plenty of time to reflect back and say, I wonder what things would have been like if I was not actively using alcohol and drugs, but if it were meant to be that way, I believe in God. So I believe that somehow, someway, the powers that be sort of like knew that that's not what I could handle at that time. And I also believe that the story's not over the story is not over, you know, I mean, we're this is part of writing all of our stories sitting here at this table right now if you go back and you connect the track me and soon after the track meet you start to with the substances and living a little bit wild. And then it sort of gets you. It gets you to this twenty years of recovery, which is remarkable. And it's definitely a freedom. But what you get is this big full life from that from that failure. And if the end game is to help other people being sober is definitely. The pathway to to be conscious to do that. So just it just a little deeper dive on one or two actual failures that you can think of you didn't get a cover or you've got kicked out of thing or you're not the girl anymore failure in relationships. I'm single I'm forty seven. I could get all caught up about that. And that's a failure. But I'm not going to do that. I choose not to do that. Right. I mean learn from it are things that failed. It you're saying it's a choice. You choose not to choose not to go there. And I think that's a hard thing for young people to when the failure happens. Proceed failure happens. There's no choice. I can't believe this thing happened to me. And that there's a choice that you have at that moment. Yeah. I mean, there's the time when due to Michael hall behavior, I was a cover try for big magazine, and I showed up and I did the job. But. I'm ninety nine percent. Sure. That I was not chosen for the cover because of the state that I arrived in upsetting. But again gonna like hang on that. No. I think I'm gonna keep it moving. Do you think there are people who get information like that? And don't recover from that. I think if they do if they have a propensity to sway to the negative. I think they have to work really hard at it. Right. A lot of work to to come back and keep keep moving. Don't let it define us. You need to read a book. Thank you ever told you that before I my whole career. I've been told this too seriously, my whole career, let's take a moment. Here message from our sponsor for today's episode. Do you suffer from foam? Oh, now, there's new mo- foam. Oh, mo- foam. Oh, help you channel your anger for the failure of missing out Momo has two layers. The first layer helps you feel the anger and the second layer helps you gently forget the event you missed by using time release mini epinephrine bloggers called Nanno AP's. Do not driver operate heavy machinery with Momo such as backhoes clam-diggers and firehoses. Don't take nursing or pregnant or if you have ever nursed, call your doctor right away. If you feel like he or she is missing out on something or just missing mo- foam. Oh, let go of the fear of missing out. Welcome back to berry smoother and art a failure. You know, I think that the images I know we'll go back to the career for a second. But today with Instagram Facebook, social media, and these carefully curated images that we all have. What do you say to young women about body image internal image when they feel like they're failing compared to the rest of the world. I mean, you said that I don't have that experience. I mean, I totally do it's coveting. It's like you're covering something. You don't have. So whether that be a family scenario or seen or a house or someone small waist or someone's husband or someone's wife, you know, see scenarios fantasies. Well, it's images that we're seeing. I don't know if it's fantasies. I mean, everyone likes to what you see on the outside. But how do you know? It's like that on the inside for those people like don't always just go right to the it's fake because it might not be fake. And so what it's like let the people live their lives. My my solution around all that is to not look at it that much. Media. Yeah. To be quite honest. That's healthy. And what I would say to kids around it is. I mean, I look at my nieces six nieces and one nephew all ages twenty four and under. So they are, you know, right with social media, culture and. I think that I mean, there's all these studies. It's it's making us worse or you because we are never quiet. We're never detached to. We're never wondering or imagining. We're not training. Our brain to read like books where we're just you know, it's like a video game. We're constantly in this video game or watching a video flashes flashes. Flushes flushes, but at the same time, okay, we can sale this. And like, everyone does you hear a million commentaries on this kind of thing? It is what it is. It's two thousand nineteen. Nothing's changing. This is the culture. So it's like, I think the young people need to learn to manage it. I mean, I try to manage it do next your bed for you. Go to sleep. Yeah. I try not to. Yeah. I do. I don't have a watcher alarm clock by design. Laziness. You know, it's interesting Justice morning. I saw this report about Giselle who I guess is this book coming out about her panic attacks and her suicidal thoughts about deploying yourself balcony, somewhere Kabo or something and. This is why I think that this podcast is important is talking to successful people. And here you have Zell here have you at the top of your game. And and yet we feel these feelings we feel like a failure. Because we have this depression or suicidal thoughts, and it's it's still very much covered up and swept under the rug. And I think again shining light on it and talking about it. How do we get through this? How do we get past these failures? I think is a super important thing. I mean, it's hopefully what we learned from our parents if they had the sensitive. It's like you pick your bootstraps up and you keep moving it's always in your business in Hollywood fashion aging. I think can be seen as failure age out. I know it's definitely not as bad as it used to be. Well, I don't even think it's that. I mean, I was just telling one of my other friends Chander who is a model, and we came up together. I was just telling her like, it's interesting. Do you feel like you're not looked out on the street as much anymore? That's nothing to do with modeling. This is just a person eight. Yeah. This is the human right? I mean, you I don't know this everything. Yes. You to everyone does it's different. There's not that you feel invisible. But it's just it's just different not, I don't believe aging failure. I think it's being celebrated and glorified now because they need going along with normal size models. Not all these. He's very thin girls tapping into reality the customer the real world, you know, eighty percent is not that fantasy size. So they had to sort of raise the bar like higher normal sized people. I think it's amazing. I love it and the aging thing it's I mean, the boomers need product. So we sell to the boomers and older the baby boomers and the boomers ain't young the, you know, the mooners my mom, so I feel like the advertising in the economy has again, raise the bar to them in a way because that's our customer. You know, fashion is become a small niche, the true fashion is more of to me. I've you as a complete art very very expensive. Art, I feel like things are getting Hutcheon is a little bit to fashion runway shows designs in the nineties when I was doing the most of my work, the fashion work. It was there was a prestige about it. But there was no social media and internet was just starting. So. Models transcended editorial the high fashion in the commercial now, it's it's it's more categorized. You've been through a lot of changes in this business. Well, yeah, I mean, the whole nineties I think it was the last era of the like bona fide supermodels, right? It was K is included in that Kate moss. Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington. Well, really who it was was Naomi Campbell, Christy. Turlington Linda, Evangelista and. I think again, what shifted everything. Oh, no. This is what she that everything magazines and beauty campaigns decided to start using celebrities on every cover of every magazine. This was the major major shift toward the late nineties movie stars. Yes. And they started doing selling the perfumes the make up and they're on a cover of everything in. There was no place for the supermodels. And because they sold the Mazey's better. Clearly, there were some weird shift that happened 'cause they had a blockbuster film out on the cover of vogue now that magazine sold better. Apparently when they wanna keep kept doing it. So got to the point where you go to the newsstand, and there was no models celebrities and the shift really started happening, then and I think that also fed into this idea of beauty beauty is within. I of the beholder because actresses are pretty but the supermodels like a freak of nature their beauties weird. It's so beautiful. It's weird. Right. I think that the celebrities coming in. We're not as pretty but they were being made up. They had the best glam teams. They were beautiful on these covers in China. I think that that then also filtered into beauty is many different things, you know. And then coupled with social media everything shifted because then you have people have their own platform to get a million followers that we don't even know you, and I probably twenty people that we have no idea who they are who have a million followers more than twenty. We have no idea and all the sudden people could be their own boss, and, you know, be their own PR agents through all this social media. And and again that whole term of influencers came and branding for expert like. I'm just talking about the shifts because then also advertisers wanted to see people that were brand experts. So they didn't want a pretty model to sell that blow dryer they wanted the the celebrity hairstylist to. So that blow dryer, you know, and sort of started diluting, the whole supermodel thing and it fell off. And then in my opinion, what ended up happening is everyone started focusing on Victoria secret as like the supermodel platform, which before that was a little section of it. But the Munis fashions a high, you know, it's. Costume talent. I mean, these people that are producing this is incredibly talented. But did you just different? Did you not gallons? It's g-strings. Okay. Did you regret the movie stars? Who are on the covers of? Oh. And I was a little angry about that. I was like they're stealing our platform. Yeah. I was the shift is everywhere. Yeah. But it also helps with this democratization where the average person you get a millions followers on if I don't mean average person, but he's about marketing and social media and how you handle that. Now, you do that. Yeah. It's not so much about your interaction with your followers, and all these crazy things. So you still do magazine stuff. Yeah. Yeah. I do a lot of advertising commercial work. Catalogs dot com. What about the gig economy? You know, we're both freelance you have downtime sometimes. Yes. And that brings up feelings for me. I'm not punching a clock. How do you deal with that? I call my agents harping on them. I get a screen shot for the next two months to see if there's anything on my schedule in my chart, so I have some hope and also so I have some reality. It's a reality. Check. But I've done this for so long have done this for over twenty five years I've been freelance. So it's just kind of in my my being I don't stress too much about it. No, it's comedy cycles at this point in time. If you had a second chance at life, and I literally have because the other path almost did kill me, and I've gained some wisdom and been able to by the grace of God secure myself a little bit with finances. So if in fact things are going to turn that way, they're going to turn that way. But I don't really have fear about it. Because like I've today so I can do something else that I'm not gonna starve because I've made some discipline around my finances how much she think fear plays a part of how we deal with failure. I think it plays a big part because we care about what people think and we care about how we look. So what do you say to a fifteen year old boy or girl who's feeling like they failed for whatever reason? And now, what do you say to them never give up and don't let this define you. And don't give so much power. Because if you if you let the kids let fifteen year old they're speaking of. Goes for everyone. But if we let a failure. I mean, okay, let it take the wind out of your sales for like a week. Okay. But seven days bring yourself back up and try again, or and also learn from it, maybe you were seeking something that you're not cut out to do accept it. You gotta give it has given us each talents and abilities as strive with those, you know, and it doesn't mean that those are going to be easy to achieve. But you know, like learn I mean can't we learn from our failures. I think that's huge. I love the learn from our failures give it a week. Well on a big person fill your feelings, feel it process it deal with it. Because otherwise it's gonna come out gain twenty pounds lose twenty pounds drinks tequila getting a car wreck. It's like deal with deal with it feel like cry about it getting. Angry about it. But I think learn from it. I mean, it's just it's just like I said, I don't think it's a an end to anything. I don't think I think it's a beginning. It's a beginning failures beginning you tried. We have to try. I think it's easier. I think it definitely. And I wanna hear your thoughts on this. I think it gets easier as we age when quote unquote, failure happens. That's why I think there's no magic bullet to say to an adolescent. Here's what you do with your failure pickers off up give it seven days. Right. It's true and taking it back up, and we as a dealt have that feeling I had that visceral reaction to what I perceived as a failure. But I also have other things that kick in that helped me get through that moment, and that's harder for for young people for it is for people to turn that around like that. It's their world. Yeah. I think like is giving them examples of famous successful people. I'm sure you have some from doing this podcast that have had tremendous failure. But nothing stopped them. That's a good way to end it. Thank you so much Barry doing this. Really? Appreciate it. Thank you. Hey, thanks so much for listening to art of failure. I hope you'll join us again special. Thanks to cale fuss. -ment Sally Sanborn Noah Samborn Friedman Musi Friedman, my agents at CESD, Anita Billy, Donna and Sam John MaGee and maranda Schaefer, Joanna Pinto. My mom, sunny sisters, Marci Michelle who witnessed many early failures. Thanks, Barry Friedman, so much for our music and special. Thanks to everyone out there who is experienced failure at keeps moving forward. That's what we need to do. Let's remember that Winston Churchill defines success as the ability to move from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm staying through Ciaston, keep moving and I'll see next time. Thanks for listening.