Saturday 29 November 2014

Celia Holman Lee Model Agency owner and businesswoman When I was 21, I wish I'd known...

That I Shouldn't Let My Confidence Be Knocked.

Modelling can be a tough profession. My confidence would get knocked, on and off. It was a glamorous business, of course it was. But you were expected to turn up for a job looking as if you were just about to get on the catwalk. You had to talk to people. It wasn't like today where people go tearing into a show with a mobile phone stuck to their face, barely answering. When things went against you, it affected you. In hindsight, I understand it is important to dust yourself down, get back on your feet and carry on where you left off.

... That life can be a struggle.

Providing for yourself is always a struggle. There are far more opportunities in modelling today. But there is a lot more competition too. We did not have the Baltic States to deal with. We did not have Poland or Brazil. Today, you can get your face around the world in minutes. We have Facebook and all of that. Those things did not exist. For an assignment, you would go to the store, meet the clients and customers. Everyone had time. You don't see people with much time now. It was a different world. Was it a better one? I don't know.

... That you can achieve whatever you want without leaving home.

I was lucky I've never moved out of Limerick. In hindsight it was a good area. I run Ireland's oldest modelling agency. Limerick was the perfect location for getting into Cork and Dublin, the whole country really. We are up to our necks in a big bridal exhibition at the moment. We've never stopped.

... That you have to chase what you really want.

I wasn't super confident as a young person. But I was very ambitious. If there were setbacks, I would take it on the chin and start over. If I was talking to the young me, I would say 'never lose your belief'. There will be plenty of times when you doubt yourself, plenty of times you think you're not good enough for the job. Keep going, keep the ambition burning and it will bring you to the top. If you stick to your goals, your desire to succeed will take you there.

... That there is no point in regrets.

You never stop learning through life. I'm in my 60s now. I've learned things in every decade. I have had no regrets. Okay, maybe when I was in my 40s, there were certain business moves that I later looked back on. But the world is so different. Everything has changed so much. Life is a continuous learning process. There is no use in regrets. I certainly don't look back and think I should have worked harder. Everyone who knows me will tell you I work practically 24 hours a day.

Irish Independent

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