Modeling is undeniably a glamorous occupation but fame is only part of the equation. Building a successful modeling career requires wits, resources, determination and discipline.
Agata Ziarek shares her inspiring journey from teen pageant queen in Poland to international model and brand ambassador across Asia and Europe.
Developing the love for modeling
My career as a model started 11 years ago when I participated in a local beauty pageant – Student Miss Poland, where I made it to the five finalists. Soon after, I moved to London, where I participated in Miss Polonia UK contest.
That was a turning point in my career. I won a UK pageant contest – Miss American Dream and won a trip to the Bahamas. There, I was spotted by an agent who invited me for shoots worldwide: the UK, Malaysia, Italy, Turkey, Bahamas, Las Vegas, etc. After the Bahamas, I booked my first international modelling contract and started to work full-time as a model.
Following the beauty pageant in the Bahamas, I was invited to a number of global pageants including Tropic Beauty in Las Vegas – conquering which put me on the cover of the Viva Glam Magazine. That was the first time when I felt that ‘I had arrived’.
Later, I worked as an international model in Malaysia, Italy, and Turkey. However, working as a model in New York, LA, Miami or London was yet a dream. When I moved to New York, I got bookings for PR work and editorials, and I started appearing in magazines like Sports Illustrated. I never thought I would be on the cover of these magazines in the US.
Another thing that I am proud of is to organise and manage a beauty pageant in Iraq (Miss Kurdistan). This was a big project in that region with colossal coverage from the French press, Reuters and media worldwide. It was a great challenge to get the local team to present themselves in the local environment.
A few years ago, social media started booming and completely changed the modelling industry. The boundaries between models and influencers are starting to blur. It’s a lot of fun to run small campaigns on social media. Still, most of my work today is in the real world and not on social media. I call myself a model rather than a social media influencer.
The Future of Modelling
I want to keep doing editorial work – it’s something that I love and it inspires me. As a person driven by gut, I don’t overthink when it comes to collaborating with really talented people and sharing experiences. I just follow my heart and wait to see where it will take me.
The most important business is yourself!
The Key to Success
I was born in Poland but I had the opportunity to work in many different countries. Since English is not my native language, working in an international environment and speaking another language made me work twice as hard to achieve my goals.
I read many biographies and realized that many of the world’s overachievers came from finding a way to succeed in the modeling world. The story of Kate Moss was amazing to me. She wasn’t from a wealthy family but somehow became one of the best-known supermodels in the world. Her story is a true reminder that many achievers don’t usually get everything on a plate but work their way up on their own.
Connecting With Fans
One of the reasons I stopped posting a lot on social media is that I took the time off to focus on my health and well-being. I felt too much pressure to post all the time and entertain at all costs.
Once I got back to the online space I started posting about traveling, because I traveled the world for beauty pageants and there were so many things that I wanted to share with my fans.
At the moment, I am just watching, listening to my fans, and thinking about what to do next.
Main Challenges Going Forward
I have tons of content in print and my computer folders, but I haven’t figured out how to build the right online presence yet. I am currently focusing on my side business, a creative digital agency named 3DM Agency.
We help brands make the digital impact they need at the right time and place and across many brands looking for recognition online.
Beauty is not only makeup. Beauty is health, and I want to help people lead healthy lives. I am in the process of turning my online image into a brand and connecting with my fans to help them achieve this.
Agata Ziarek, International Model