I had absolutely zero experience modeling before coming to Yale. Now, I kind of have experience? Let me explain. The immediate image that comes to mind when it comes to “modeling” includes, well, models. Models walking down a runway, wearing luxury garments, participating in high fashion while being on the covers of magazines. I have not done any of that, and do not imagine I will anytime soon. However, I’ve had three distinct experiences on campus for which “model” was in the name of the activity. There is a lot to do at Yale, but you can see how accurate that statement is with the following examples.
Painting for a class
Painting courtesy of Flora Ranis ‘24
I love Instagram because it is great for connecting with fellow students and to find opportunities. Students at Yale are always doing something interesting, and I usually learn about it all first there. In the Spring 2022 semester, Flora posted a story requesting a Central American student to help and pose for a painting. I fit the criteria and immediately replied to her story and said I was interested if she was still looking for a person. It turned out she needed a reference for the central figure of her painting. Quickly after, we met at Sterling Library to get a photo of me in a dress posing for the portrait to guide as her reference. I enjoyed this moment in the library, since doing something other than studying in the library felt wrong yet playful. That was the extent of my modeling and a few weeks later, Flora showed me the final product of this painting which I adore (I hope her professor shared the same emotions and gave an excellent grade).
LatinXcellence Showcase photoshoot
Portrait, courtesy of Regina Sung ‘24, on display during showcase
This was another opportunity I saw on Instagram but then followed up with Regina, a photographer. For Latino Heritage Month the Schwarzman Center holds an event celebrating and exhibiting Latine creatives. It is a beautiful celebration of the culture through student art, mainly music, dance, and photography. Regina’s submission was a collection of portraits titled detalles de identidad, or “details of identity.” She asked her student models to bring a physical item they believe represents Latinidad. For me, this was both a curly hair mist and my traditional outfit from Nicaragua. This was my first time participating in a photoshoot in any capacity. Despite my inexperience, the photos came out great due to Regina’s guidance. In the blurb presented the night of the exhibit, she explained how she sought to “document how students can express their Latinidad through the way they present themselves via the physical realm, exploring how objects, clothing, style, etc. shape their form of self-expression.” I think we nailed it.
Not every experience here goes back to social media. This opportunity I actually found on Yale’s campus job search website. At the beginning of the Fall 2023 semester, I was looking for employment and saw an intriguing opportunity that called for no experience beyond comfort around medical students and availability on a Wednesday afternoon. I really did not have many details going into the session, but the pay was good and it seemed like an exciting opportunity—I am all for saying yes to experiences. I walked to a medical building on campus and met with other students also recruited for this patient modeling. Once gathered, we got the information we had all lacked which was what we were going to do for the next two hours. Essentially, the med school doctors thought it would be nice for their medical students to not just look at medical images on a screen but to get those images themselves from patients: I was to be that patient, down to the patient gown. They used an ultrasound machine along my neck to look at my arteries to practice identifying all the important anatomical structures they would be tested on later while also learning at which angle they would insert a needle or conduct some other medical intervention in this given area. There were maybe 20 students cycling among us 5 model patients, and by the end of the session, the med students thanked us for our service.
I did not take any photos from this one-time session, but the last photo in the collage is instead from when I shadowed one of my professors during his knee replacement surgery (another story for another day). These are all loosely related yet equally unique Yale experiences that I am grateful for and a reminder going into the new year to continue saying yes to random experiences because sometimes they make for a good story (and for a good blog).