Abi Grigsby, the beautiful, charming, and angelic model has established herself as one of the hardest-working models in the industry. She initially got into the modelling industry by entering beauty pageants. She first joined the Top Model of the World Philippines pageant back in July 2016 within 2 weeks’ notice. The pageant needed a certain number in order for the competition to go ahead and she was contacted by the director of the pageant to join. She eventually became the second runner up, which shocked her as she had no previous experience at all in pageants sho she wasn’t even expecting to make it into the Top 5.
The following year she entered a pageant called “Mutya Ng Pilipinas Australia” (Pearl of Australia) beauty pageant. She gained a lot of exposure in the modelling industry by joining this pageant which lead her into me meeting the majority of the photographers that she now works with regularly. When she competed overseas she also gained several contacts with various modelling agencies and photographers over there and throughout 2017 she also competed in the Miss International Australia pageant where she finished as Second Runner Up, as well as winning the Miss Model of the World Title. Furthermore, she competed in the Miss Teen Universe Australia pageant in December of that year. All of these competitions lead her to meet so many creatives in the industry; photographers who were looking for fresh faces to shoot, as well as makeup artists who needed a model to work on for skill enhancements. Slowly, through these connections, she was able to build the network that she currently has.
GEQ magazine recently caught up with Abi to discuss her journey in the modelling industry and here’s what went down:
What do you like most about being a model?
The thing I enjoy most about being a model would have to be the newfound confidence that I have gained over the years as a model. I was someone who really used to struggle with self-esteem issues, but it wasn’t until I started modelling that I came to accept and be happy with how I look, and the person that I am.
I have also been fortunate enough to work with various creatives who each provided a different style for each shoot, which has given me the option to explore with different looks. I started modelling For Milliner’s designs in late 2018, my first designer being Anna Bella Millinery, who is based in London. I modelled at the Melbourne Derby Day, showing off her dress designs and her hats with other models. I also modelled for Felicity Northeast Milliner for her spring collection in 2019, which was featured in Mornington Peninsula magazine.
I had never modelled such high-class designs before, so this experience itself really helped me feel comfortable in my own skin, and opened me up to another world!
The Downside to being a model?
The downside to being a model that I have encountered would have to be that people tend to make assumptions about you and your personality when you tell them that you’re a model. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that they thought I’d be a snobby/conceited person because of the fact that I model, rather than taking the time to get to know me first.
A lot of people will make assumptions about you based on your profession, but I try not to let this bother me and stay focused on what I want by working hard and not allowing room for distractions.
Another downside is that many people who aren’t in the industry assume that modelling is easy, or requires little to no effort at all. To be a model takes great perseverance and determination, as many models such as myself face constant rejection and negative comments about our appearance/body. It takes a lot of work to get into the industry, which is something that many people look over. It can get discouraging at times, but I find it’s best for myself to always remind myself of the hard work I have gone through, and to realise that I don’t owe everyone an explanation.
What has been the most memorable experience of being in the modelling industry so far?
Thinking back to when I started, I can’t actually pinpoint an exact memory from modelling that has stuck with me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every step, but the most memorable experience of being in the modelling industry would have to be the whole experience that comes on the day of a photo shoot. I live an hour and a half away from Melbourne city, which is where the majority of my shoots takes place. I always enjoy the travel into the city, as well as travelling to where my photoshoots take place, as the majority of the time it is not at the same place. Aside from the travel, I do enjoy dressing up and getting glammed up for my shoots. I feel most like myself when I am dolled up and in front of the camera!
Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
I’d say the most interesting people I’ve met would have to be some of the photographers and makeup artists that I meet while I’m on set. Many of the creatives that I work with are a lot like me, they often take up photography/makeup as a side job, rather than their full-time job. It’s nice to meet people who are similar to you, and share similar interests while also working other jobs, and working incredibly hard so they are able to project themselves further in the industry.
What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the modelling industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.
The most valuable lesson I have learned would be to not compare myself to others. Before I began modelling I never thought I would have a chance, as I compared myself to many other high profile models, such as Miranda Kerr. I always assumed that because I didn’t look like these girls I saw in billboards and commercials that I wouldn’t make it at all in the modelling world.
However as continued on and booked more jobs, I realised that every different look will serve a purpose for each job/photographer. There will always be someone out there who will need a look like yours for a certain job/promotion, so I’ve learned that I shouldn’t bother worrying about looking like someone else when looking exactly the way you do is more than enough.
Is your family supportive of you being a model?
Yes, fortunately, my family is very supportive of my modelling! My mother wanted me to start modelling when I was 13, however, I had very little confidence back then and I was also very shy. I did not see myself as someone who could get far in the industry at all, and I also at the time had assumed that people would think of me as very conceited if I started modelling. I didn’t have a very positive view of the modelling world, or of models themselves, which was a real deterrent for me at that time.
As the years went by and as I developed a love for beauty pageants, it also shifted my focus onto modelling, and it wasn’t until I started my first few photoshoots that I really started to enjoy what I was doing, and then made the decision to go as far as I possibly could in the industry.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
The main thing I would do differently would be to not jump at every opportunity that comes my way, no matter how big of a deal it may seem to be at first. I used to do this a lot when I first started in the industry, and I would just throw myself out to any opportunity that came my way, without thinking things through clearly. This resulted in a lot of waste of time and money for myself, as I was promised certain jobs would lead to very high exposure/good money, while actually resulting in none of that.
So if I could go back in time, I would tell myself not to rush things too much and to take it slow. Not every opportunity is what it claims to be, and when the time is right, the right opportunity will come!
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
The best advice I have ever been given is to take my time. Often I’ve been really impatient and have compared myself to others who have gotten further in the industry in a shorter amount of time. I’m fortunate to have a close group of friends who support me fully and encourage me to remain patient and on track, and who assure me that things will work in my way if I continue to remain focused and not be put off by others in any way.
What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.
My future plans are to travel overseas and to pick up both modelling and acting overseas. With the current Covid-19 situation, that will likely be put on hold for a while. My plan was to travel towards the end of this year for a few months and to then see if I could establish a career in a different country, but again, I will need to remain patient in my endeavours, and hopefully, things will be able to pick up for my career in the near future.
The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:
1. Last good movie I’ve seen: Just go with it. (On Netflix)
2. What do you consider beautiful and why? As cliche as it sounds, inner beauty will always be more important than physical beauty. The way you treat other people and your kindness is something that greatly impacts another person, without even realising it. It’s always better to be beautiful on the inside than on the outside!
3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Travel the world!
4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d… ” try bungee jumping.
5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? The one “flaw” I will never change is being too picky/ too much of a perfectionist. I’ve often been teased about this by my friends, saying I care too much about things that they don’t perceive as important. But it’s this trait that I have that has caused me to get to where I am today, as I’ve focused a lot of my energy towards what I know I want in life, and have not allowed distractions to get in the way.