Talent Feature – Ariel Shaw

How did you get started in the sports modeling industry? What intrigued you about SLU that made you want to join the agency?

When I was 15-years old I really wanted to get into modeling but I wasn’t sure about where I would fit in. I learned about SLU from my cousin who was interning there at the time. 

I joined and almost immediately booked my first job for a cheerleading supply vendor.  I’ve come to find that sports modeling was definitely the right fit for me.

What are some of your favorite sports and why?

Basketball and track. I’ve always loved basketball for the competitive edge and team work. Track allowed me to compete as an individual as well as a team member. Furthermore, track provided multiple competition options, i.e. triple jump, 100 meter, 200 meter, hurdles, relays, and high jump.  I even dabbled one year with cross country which is a funny story. My freshman year, I was running across the track field and didn’t think anything of it as I always ran everywhere. My running caught the attention of the cross-country coach who recruited me. As my mom says, it was a Forest Gump moment, i.e. he said that girl can run.

Describe some of your favorite project/shoot experiences.

I’ve had so many great experiences on all of my shoots. I never go to a shoot and come away with a jaded feeling or without a new experience. Each shoot I learn more about the industry, myself as a worker in the industry, and I get build new relationships or build upon relationships with people I’ve worked with in the past. However, if I had to choose a favorite job, it would definitely have to be traveling to Alaska in September of 2009. Aside from Oregon, Alaska was one of the most beautiful states I’ve ever been to. The scenery and things we got to experience were just unreal.

What kind of physical regimen do you follow to keep yourself fit for sports modeling?

I try to build upon what nature gave me by always making time to go to the gym and by playing basketball 6-7 days a week. As a sports model, I also have the advantage of working out while working.

Nutritional regimen?

Eating healthy for me was a struggle at first, especially on shoots! They always have the best food and I love to snack. I’ve always been able to eat whatever I want and stay thin but to really get the results I wanted I knew I had to cut that out. I now eat really healthy, lots of protein, fruits, veggies, complex carbs, etc. but on the weekends I let myself splurge a little! I was on a shoot in Utah a couple of weeks ago and discovered a new guilty pleasure —Nutella!

Can you tell us the mentality you bring to a shoot, in light of the demands and expectatio of the project?

I just go to each shoot with the same mentality as I always do. No matter how much experience I have, I treat each job like an audition. I have to understand what they want from me and each individuals’ role on set so that I can provide the services for which I’ve been contracted. It’s always a special treat when they want to extend another booking. But the main thing is to really understand what the client needs from me, respect the product, and represent the integrity of my agency.

How about some information about yourself, i.e. personality, future goals, and aspirations.

I like to consider myself a really hard worker with a lot of goals. I’m fairly introspective and I know when I need friends and family time and time to myself to decompress from my busy schedule. Aside from sports modeling and playing ball, I’m currently studying to obtain my degree in Accounting. I’ve dabbled a bit in acting through the help of SLU. I had a small speaking role in a made for TV movie and a featured extra role in Leverage. I’m hoping that even more acting opportunities arise.

What do you enjoy most about sports modeling?

Sports modeling has given me so many opportunities. To be able to work for some of the world’s largest corporations has really been an honor. It also gives me balance, if I weren’t doing this I’d just be studying and socializing but it really grounds me and expands my boundaries. It’s an honor and a privilege to model but it takes perseverance, dedication, and hours of effort and sacrifice to produce seconds of film or that perfect photo.  Overall it’s a humbling but an exhilarating experience. It’s something that I could see myself continuing to do for years to come.

What words of wisdom would you give to those who want to get into the business?

You definitely need to have a lot of PATIENCE; working in this industry is like a roller coaster with a lot of ups and downs. During slow times it’s easy to want to give up but you just have to remember that SLU is a great agency and they are working hard for us; the only thing we can do is to keep bettering ourselves and give them the tools they need to market us to the best of their ability. Don’t take anything for granted and do NOT lose faith in our wonderful agency! Always be PROMPT; if you’re not ahead of time, you’re not on time. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF; people are relying on you to be fit, healthy, and capable of doing the work that you are given (which could be very physically demanding). Recently, within 48 hours I was in 3 states, worked an AM job in Seattle, flew to San Jose to shoot all night for a commercial, rushed to the airport, flew back to Seattle, drove back to Portland, AND still had to play in a basketball game that afternoon and study for finals! That just goes to show you, you can open yourself to all kinds of possibilities so don’t limit yourself but most importantly- STAY HUMBLE!