We love featuring models on Kewel World, and over the last few months have featured some great women, at varying stages in their careers, our last couple of models have been right at the start, just beginning in the industry (and making a very good job of it), but when Cindy McDonald contacted us, we were very interested in featuring her because Cindy proves that a career in modelling can have longevity, and being 19 isn’t a prerequisite to success. Cindy has been a professional model for over 22 years, with a career, (starting in that American favourite, (that us Euro's don't really get!) the beauty pageant over 32 years ago).
Cindy, can we start by asking you for a little about yourself, what first drove you to want to get into modelling, and how you first started?
"I became interested in modelling at an early age but it wasn't until I was in my teen years that I felt the need or urge to pursue it. Unlike the resources of today there really wasn't a lot of advertising about pageants or how to get involved with modelling except if you attended a modelling school and took classes.
My first stage appearance was when I was 9 years old and I was in a local Christmas play where I got to say a few lines. It was later at the age of 15 that I began to feel comfortable in front of the camera and my high school was one of the few schools in the state of Indiana that had a TV program and I began to anchor and loved being in front of the camera. PCHS launched my first self esteem boost and from that point on I started to participate in a few local pageants not winning or placing in the first ones but I kept at it. It was at a charity pageant in Evansville Indiana that I was approached by a talent agent about signing with an agency that she had just started and from that point on I have been in the field on different levels. I became not only a model but a casting assistant, makeup artist and prop specialist handling national and International campaigns.
I was taught that to be a professional model and remain one that you must be precise with not only your look but your personality and constant persistence. I have done that and rebuilt my image year after year. I am very lucky to be able to still do what I love but today there is no limit anymore on age. In fact there are still professional models at the age of 70 strutting down the catwalk! Today's fashion now showcases women of all shapes and sizes and it's a fantastic time to be in the field! 24 years later I am still at it and plan to be as long as I can – it's in by blood for good!"
As I said above, your career has spanned professionally over 22 years, not a lot of models can say that after 22 years, they are still making their bread and butter from modelling, is there a secret to your success?
"This is actually a question that I get quite often. I would say that my strongest asset has been the fact that by gaining extra experience by working in an agency taught me how to self promote. Modelling really isn't any different than other fields in the fact that if you are trained you go out and put your resume in as much as possible. If you want the job bad enough you work hard to keep at it no matter what. Rejection is just part of it. I constantly tell models and actors that just because you don't get the job doesn't mean you weren't good enough it just meant that a client was looking for another type of look. I tried out for a modelling positions I wanted very badly for 4 years until I made the team as a Budweiser model. It wasn't easy I was criticized on many occasions trying out for various jobs. I was told I was too short or built like a football player. I was in fact 5'4 and weighed 125 pounds and knew that a career as a runway model would not be for me in high fashion. In high fashion you have to be 5'8 and over. in the business you have to learn what you are best at or for. I have worked over 2,100 modelling promotions since 2003. Promotions are a steady source of money and fun to do! One of my favourites was when I worked for the People Magazine tour. My main secret has been belief in my self and never to quit!"
You have just got back again into the world of acting, after a break of a few years, are you enjoying yourself? What made you want to try and break into the notoriously tough business of the silver screen?
"Modelling had always been my main interest for years and I had been in a few projects before in film just never pursued it much at the time. I actually literally woke up one morning with the pursuit on my brain! I thought – hey I can do acting and why not? The last four years or so I have been been in several movies and projects as an extra or principal. One of the funniest films I have to say that I got a chance to be in so far was The Fourth Dimension starring Val Kilmer. It was so cool to see how talented he was in person. One doesn't get many close up opportunities with someone like that I will never forget it. Secretariat was a fun movie to be in as it was a 70s theme. I had the chance to work on the set the same day as Diane Lane. She is so gorgeous. I also had a fun opportunity to drive my yellow Dodge Neon in front of Ron Howard's camera on the set of the The Dilemma and have met Allison Scagliotti on the set of Losers Take All in Memphis. She is the star of the show Warehouse 13. I have been lucky in the acting gigs that I have been involved in so far and look forward to many more however there are a lot of films of course that I have tried out for that I did not get chosen to be in again that is just part of it. I was also in the pilot for Nashville on ABC and had scene with country star Pam Tillis. In the scene there were three of us getting our pictures taken with Pam. On the actual air date I was disappointed that the scene wasn't used however I was still in part of another scene. Yes you will see me for sure on the silver screen again very soon! Keep your eyes peeled!
I am also a certified pageant judge and was a judge for the World Championship of pageants for the Toddlers and Tiaras series featured on TLC and as a judge again on Logo TV for Edens World."
We just have to ask to pick your brains!! What advice can you give to all the girls we have featured so far on Kewel World who are just starting out in the business; and in fact to the girls we will probably be featuring in the coming months?
"I would tell aspiring models and actors that it takes time. You always hear stories about an overnight success which does work out for a lucky chosen few. As the quote says-When one door closes another will open. Wherever you are located on the planet get your name out there. You can be a local star/celebrity and be happy. The main aspect is to perfect your look and skill then keep applying for parts that you fit. I often worked three jobs to buy pageant gowns or clothing I needed to work in the business at a competitive level. Do what it takes to get where you want within reason and never sell yourself short. You only lose if you never try!"
What next for Cindy McDonald; and can you ever see a time when you are going to hang up your bikini?
"Will I hang up my bikini? After 14 years of modelling swimwear I actually did take a semi retirement from it. I modelled from 17-31 pretty consistently in which I was a pinup/poster/calendar/catalogue model. I achieved what I mostly wanted to do with it. I mean yes my body has changed over time. I have to workout now where before I didn't have to do anything but show up for a shoot. I was lucky. I was a natural 36-26-36. Metabolism changes. I have to workout three times a week at an hour interval to maintain where I am now. I am a size 5/6 where as before I was a 3 with my highest size being a 7/8. Modelling has changed as I mentioned previously you don't have to be a stick to be a swimsuit model in fact it's actually normal to have an extra 10 pounds over your target weight to model swimsuits. It's really all about your body shape and frame and what looks best on you. I swear by the use of Apple Cider Vinegar which is an organic product. It aids in weight loss. I competed for years and won a lot of bikini contests and it was fun. I am glad I did it. Will I hang up my bikini? Not for a bit as long as I can do a few projects yet. I mean some of the hottest women/celebrities in the world are in their 40s. I say – just go with it."
We like to ask a few fun questions at the end of our interviews, so here are yours!!
What is your favourite pizza topping? "Definitely mushrooms!"
What is your ideal Sunday afternoon? "I love to nap!"
Do you sing in the shower? And if so what! "On occasion I do sing in the shower-but not loud lol. I hum a lot. Scream and Shout and let it all out!"
Cindy's website: http://www.cindy1.citymax.com/page/page/2773988.htm