By Alisa Tanaka, Guest Blogger September 16, 2015
When I think of the term “model-turned-actress” the words “not again” usually follow soon after. My lip starts to curl or my nose starts to wrinkle. Sure, using what you have to get your foot in the door is fine, but there are many young models who turn to the screen and just come off as wooden and hollow.
“Hollow” is the exact word British “it” girl Cara Delevingne, who has been modeling since the age of 10, describes the cutthroat industry that gave her the start she needed.
In a recent interview with a London newspaper where she announced that she was closing the door on her modeling career, Delevingne spoke out about the industry’s practice of sexualizing young girls, also citing the industry as one of the major reasons she developed psoriasis and body image issues.
Reading the interview (or at least the bits and pieces of it that I could find in other publications since I’m not willing to pay 15 pounds just to read one interview), my lips stopped curling. My nose straightened. The words “not again” turned into “Maybe she’s got a shot.”
image via luckyshops.com
Those things happened because I have been there, exactly where she was. To be fair, I was never the face of Burberry or Chanel. But I had been in a soul-sucking job that did not offer me any sort of growth after a while.
And unlike Cara, at the time, I did not have the guts to realize that my health and happiness were infinitely more important than a paycheck. I was scared of leaving the security the steady check provided. So I stayed until I was downsized. And when it happened, I cried.
Yes, I cried partially out of fear and sadness. But I was also crying out of relief. We all love the security that a steady income provides us with. But if that security is coming at the cost of your mental and physical well-being, you can-and should-walk away.
Working at a job you don’t love will drain you. Yes, everyone needs money to survive. Yes, you are doing what you need to do to make ends meet. But at the end of the day, you are not obligated to stay anywhere if it makes you unhappy.
You are not obligated to stay anywhere if it makes you unhappy.
It is okay to say no. Saying no does not mean that you are a bad person. It just means that you have enough respect for yourself to know what you can and cannot handle. Cara developed psoriasis and began to hate herself and her body. She felt constantly on edge.
I said yes to everything in relation to that job. The quality of my work snowballed downhill. I started to dread getting up in the mornings. I hated what I was doing. I felt like I was walking with chains wrapped around my legs.
I can’t speak for Cara Delevingne, but I can tell you that that was one of the most difficult experiences of my life.
Staying doesn’t always make you strong. Sometimes you have to learn that walking away is the best way to make yourself happy. The things that we think might make us happy don’t always live up to our expectations. When one door closes, another one will open.
If there is something in your life making you unhappy, take a page from Cara Delevingne and get yourself out. Respect yourself and your limits enough to walk away.
Do you have difficulty saying No to things that are no longer making you happy? How did you remove yourself from the situation? Tell us below!
While the phrases “passionate mental health advocate,” “bilingual college graduate” or “confused 20-something” would all be accurate ways to sum Alisa up, she doesn’t want to settle for just one of them. When she’s not working, she dreams of traveling the world (having already traveled to/lived in China, Japan, Ireland, England, and Australia), writes her blog, plays with her puppy, watches copious amounts of Netflix documentaries, and curls up with a cup of tea and a good book.
Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.