POMEROY — “I have one photo left in my hand.”
These now infamous words, uttered by one of fashion’s top models, Tyra Banks, were heard every week during every season of America’s Next Top Model.
And as she sat at home and watched all of the potential top models compete on television, she thought, “That’s what I want to do.”
That’s exactly what 20-year-old Samantha Spires, of Meigs County, is doing these days.
“It’s always been my passion,” she said.
Spires, who is also a nursing student at Hocking College, began to make her passion a reality during her time at Meigs Local High School, when she took part in her first fashion show at Grand Central Mall near Parkersburg, W.Va. However, she said things began to speed up after she graduated high school in 2014 when she attended a modeling casting call in Cleveland. And while Spires said she didn’t get the job for which she tried, she did meet a woman — Tiffanie Mora — who gave Spires her first modeling job — for national online magazine UR IT.
Spires said she emailed Mora a couple of photos of herself and within a few days she heard positive news.
“And it just took off from there,” she said.
The magazine is based in Pennsylvania, where Spires said she’s traveled to participate in another fashion show. And as recently as Jan. 8, UR IT staff were driving to Ravenswood Castle in New Plymouth, Ohio, to meet with Spires for the March edition of the magazine.
“(The magazine is) all different ages and sizes,” she said. “It’s pretty much a magazine that kind of gets you started, gets you noticed by other magazines and stuff like that. Their biggest thing is showing that you’re ‘it’ — everyone can be ‘it.’”
Spires’ modeling work recently garnered attention from Gladys magazine, who did a photo shoot in Cleveland with Spires in December. She said she saw it as another step forward in her possible future career, as Gladys magazine can be found on newsstands at Barnes and Noble and other retail stores next month.
“I went to Cleveland and got to work with them and it was amazing,” she said.
Ultimately, Spires said the dream is to one day appear in Vogue magazine.
“That’s when all my hard work pays off,” she said.
And it is hard work, Spires said.
“I’ve worked really hard for this,” she said. “Actually, there’s a lot of work and hours that go into it. I think people look at pictures and think you just stand in front of camera and smile. It’s actually a lot of dedication and long hours and traveling. I’m dedicated to it, but it can be a couple months until you hear from a magazine. You get turned down all the time and, you know, you just always have to try to keep going and don’t give up.”
For inspiration, Spires looks to Kendall Jenner and Banks, and thumbs through the pages of Vogue, Glamour and Cosmopolitan. And while she’s aware of the criticisms of modeling, she said she’s had nothing but support from friends and family. She said there’s more to modeling and models than people see or believe.
“I think you have to be a real person and have a good personality because you are around a ton of people, and when you’re (in front of) the camera you have to show who you are,” Spires said. “(People) don’t like looking at the pictures that are Photoshopped; they want to look at a real person (in front of) the camera.”
In her immediate future, Spires is currently preparing for a fashion show in April where she’ll take pictures and sign autographs, and is excited to see her Gladys photo shoot on magazine stands next month. Spires said she’d be willing to travel nationally — and even internationally — for model casting. In the meantime, once she finishes school to become a nurse, she said she would love to attend medical school to become a doctor. Spires added she’s also not opposed to becoming a full-time model, though.
“The more I went to casting calls and being around all the other models and stuff like that, it just hit me that this is definitely what I want to do,” she said. “This could be my career for the rest of my life, and I’d be completely happy.”
Find out more about Spires by liking her Facebook page.