This week I’m featuring a long time friend of mine – Tamara Sierra. I’ve forever admired her self-motivation since high school, she identified her talent and passions early and has been working towards them ever since.
It all dates back to our senior year of high school. While everyone was narrowing down schools in Ohio to attend, Tam had completely different plans. Instead of attending a college in Ohio, Tam had plans to move to California to pursue a career in fashion design and modeling at FIDM. She lacked support because her plans seemed “outrageous”, however Tam knew what she wanted to do and she knew what she didn’t want to do. Tam has kept that same mindset over the years, from dropping out of college to moving to Cali to creating a life that fulfills her.
In this post, I talked to Tam about moving to LA, the modeling industry and how she stays motivated.
Shyann These Days: When did you first start modeling? And what photoshoot and/or fashion show made you realize this is what you wanted to do?
Tamara Sierra: I would always watch America’s Next Top Model and my sister and I would recreate the photo-shoots. My first fashion show was a local Cleveland show (Runway Mayh.a.m) and I thought I was Naomi Campbell. I felt so alive on the runway and I was the best at it. With modeling, I can move and really be one with the camera its like a connection to your soul in a way. I think no matter what kind of artist you are it feels good to know you’re appreciated.
STD: When people think of modeling they don’t really think of the behind-the-scenes, what’s your day-to-day like? How many casting calls do you think you attend a month?
TS: I honestly haven’t been attending castings. I got to the point where I had to revaluate what I was doing and why. I use to be so focused on being skinnier, or not being tall enough, or how my face was structured, I’m over that. In this industry it tricks you into thinking you’re not good enough, well in life in general. However, I do remember having about three castings in one day and on different sides of town. Which in LA, you spend about 1 hr-1.5 hrs just going to one location. Thank God, I had a car. Its stressful but I get a rush from it all. I’m also not agency signed so I would submit to different castings by myself. So you may not know until that very day that you have to be at an audition. After all that, you may not book anything from that day but just getting an audition and in the room is an accomplishment in itself. Remember that.
STD: As a kid, did you always want to get into modeling? If not, what were some of your other dream professions?
TS: I didn’t really want to model until I was about 14. My very first passion and love was dance it made me feel free. I still love dance. It makes me happy and brings so many people together. I also love fashion, styling an entire look. When I find something that works and everything just clicks together I feel unstoppable.
Acting, is a passion I just recently discovered in the past year. I started with taking commercial classes in LA, and then I was like “I kind of like this” and now I’ve been taking Scene Study classes at Speiser/Sturges Acting Studio ever since.
STD: From my experiences, acting is one of the most challenging things I have ever done. Since starting acting classes, what challenges have you faced?
TS: In my regular life, I have the hardest time being vulnerable. However, in acting that’s when you are the most vulnerable…. Since learning that, I actually enjoy being that vulnerable in my work, it’s actually helping me in my real life. Being capable of allowing someone else to escape through your pain is one of the reasons I love acting. Basically, I’m just enjoying perfecting my craft, I never want to half-ass anything.
STD: What has been your favorite project you worked on so far?
TS: I think my favorite project was being able to go on an actual set. I worked with a couple girls for a show that was getting pitched to a network called The Hellenes. It was the experience that made it my favorite. Myself and three other actresses had our own little trailer and it was just cool for being one of my first times. I saw how the entire production works. It also gave me something to look forward to, an aspiration to one day having my own trailer.
STD: What’s the biggest lesson you have learned since moving to LA?
TS: It’s funny, when moving to LA I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was doing… I was so wrong haha. I made a lot of mistakes and I feel like now I actually have a clear enough path to the steps I’m taking. I’ve learned that you really have to trust your journey and put in the time. I’ve seen people in my acting classes that has been there for almost 10 years….they are just now getting the recognition they deserve.
Everyone’s journey is different but you have to be patient and confident in what you’re doing.
STD: Moving completely across the country is hard because you’re sacrificing being with your family, how do you cope with your homesickness?
TS: It may be one of the hardest things I deal with. I’m so family oriented, so missing out on holidays, birthdays, tragic moments, and seeing my nieces + nephews grow up really hurts. I honestly sometimes second guess if it’s even worth it. I try to stay on the right path and make these sacrifices, so that I can be wealthy enough one day that my family don’t have to make the same sacrifices. In the meantime, we have FaceTime, its the key!
STD: What’s inspiring you these days?
TS: I really get a lot inspiration from people: getting up everyday, working and putting on a brave face despite what is going on in life is inspiring. I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for the small things. Being fearless and bouncing back from tragedy is inspiring. As far as art, I get inspired from other artist. Seeing artist working is inspiring, or even someone wearing a dope jacket may inspire an entire look… Music inspires me to keep moving forward and the list goes on and on.
STD: What music are you currently listening to?
TS: We have access to music so fast these days that I feel overwhelmed sometimes! It’s so many artist putting out great projects that my catalog is all over the place. I’m grateful but I have to really set aside time to actually listen to what I’m hearing. At this moment, I have Frank Ocean “Blonde” and SZA “CTRL” in rotation. Also, Friday Night Lights by J. Cole…which I have to play every now and then to keep me motivated.
STD: Where do you see yourself in the near future?
TS: For 2018, I am opening my first online clothing boutique that I can’t wait to share. I’m excited to embark on this journey of becoming my own boss. I know it’s not going to be all smooth but I get to have everything exactly how I want it and I know my consumers will love it! I envision it being so big and global one day. I’ll also be one of the models for it, so cheers to creating opportunities for myself! I’m looking forward to getting booked: for print, commercial, television, and films. However, I don’t want to put the pressure on it. The ultimate goal is to eventually be surrounded by loved ones and living in Cleveland while maintaining a successful fashion business, a modeling/acting career in LA, helping others and traveling. That’s a lot I know but I have some years until all that flourishes. In the meantime, I just want to continue to grow in everyway possible and be proud of the person I’m becoming and who God wants me to be. I also want to get to the money haha
For more information on Tam, check out her website tamarasierra.com and follow her on social @tammyf_ on IG & @tamarasierraF on Twitter.
Photos courtesy of her Instagram + Jarrelle Lee, Brianna Lynn & Jonathan Chia photography.