Photographer: QuestionMark Photography
My name is Carolina Santos and I am a professional petite model living in Norman, Ok. I am also Cuban American and was previously a latin dancer for several years specializing in Salsa, Bachata and Merengue! I performed for both public and private events, attended salsa congress, danced at Latin nightclubs and even danced at my house while cleaning. I love dancing and the ability to express my culture and love for life through movements which is what lead to my modeling career. I began modeling by posing for dance photography and soon loved how my images appeared. I suppose you could say I was one of those girls who thought she was never photogenic but I quickly discovered I was and felt a new wave of confidence. This new confidence and new expression for movements soon turned into an obsession—during my first year of modeling I was pulling 2-3 photo shoots a week to gain experience, exposure and strong networking and eventually all paid off. I have now worked with over 60 photographers in the USA area, been published in several magazines including covers, catalogues, books and even my own personal book mark, filmed my first TV commercial which was completely out of my element but loved it, developed a strong reputation in the OK Model Community and have produced, walked in several local and out of state runways and directed my own fashion show with 800 in attendance including South American diplomats for both modern and ethnic Colombian Fashion. Modeling has now become a full time career of mine and love every minute of it. My top three favorite photography genres are now Fine Art, Fashion and Lifestyle and I apparently have a signature pose I use derived from my salsa dancing—many photographers just tell me to do my ‘twisting pose’ and understand they are referring to my stance. Another common feature of my work would be my cigar shots. I love to involve a cigar into a fashion shot if I can because I love the way the smoke looks on camera, the composition with the smoke effect and more importantly, it’s a good excuse to smoke a Gloria Cubana Cigar.
I know there is a stereotype out there that models are all 6’0, plastic and no intelligence but I definitely do not fit into that box. First off, I am petite with a height of 5’4, all natural curves and also a college student studying International Relations and International Security with a dream to work for the Cuban refugee center back in Miami. I love being out of the box and excited to find more models in the OK/Texas area that are plus size or petite, rocking a cover shoot with a degree to back it up. I will have to admit that it has been challenging as a petite model to compete against girls half my age and twice my height but these struggles have only strengthen my love for modeling. I have a cause that is greater than most girls and that is to represent women of all sizes in the fashion world and for that, I love being a petite model. I like to think that my work is relatable to women and for ladies out there looking at my images to think, “I am her height!” “I look like her!” “I can do what she is doing!” and feel empowered and special for the body they have and be able to flaunt it.
My inspirations in the modeling world would be designers Zac Posen and BCBG, models Heidi Klum and Coco Rocha, actress Marilyn Monroe, painter Frida Kahlo and pop icon Rihanna—I know this is an unusual group to put all seven together but I love the elegance, edge and the freedom to express yourself and all these inspirations represent that to me. Overall, I want to be free to move and express myself behind a camera if that means jumping, dancing, shouting or even remembering a favorite line in a book or catchy song, I throw all that into a shoot. At times I still practice behind the mirror or find a new movement I would love to try for my next photo shoot. I personally believe every model never stops learning and that’s what makes us masters of art.
Want to know a secret? I have never done a diet in my life and could never see myself trying in the future. Instead I eat small meals throughout the day and if I have a craving for something, I just eat it. I have so many girls asking me how to keep in shape and my best advice is to remember what you are putting into your body. A lot of times we, especially models, are on the run and don’t have time to think about how healthy our dollar meal was or that bag of Doritos but if you give yourself time to think it over and remember that those Doritos no matter how good they were (especially with melted Mexican cheese on top) your body is not gaining anything with no nutrients. You can’t function on preservatives and food dye forever. So I remain mindful of what I eat, drink no soda and live my life with chocolate included. It’s possible that many of you are looking for a secret tips for a model to spill but sadly I don’t think I have any. Though I love to model and create wonderful pictures, I am just another petite girl with a love for dance, good food, Star Wars and Netflix and those are the kind of girls I love to represent.