PARIS LOPEZ

I wasn't always confident, especially growing up. I had so much anxiety. I still have a lot of anxiety but I'm better at coping with it. I guess it has to do a lot with perspective. Once you become happy in your own skin, confidence comes easily. It took me a very long time to accept my flaws and make the best of it. You just have to keep in the back of your mind that no matter what, people are always going to have something to say. I stopped caring about what people thought of me. As long as I'm happy, all the negative criticism doesn't matter. I still am my worst critic but in a very positive way. I'm always pushing myself to do my very best, and when I'm not feeling my best, I usually head to the gym. The gym makes me feel strong and thats always a confidence booster, 

 

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Being a model, you have to be very on top of what your body looks like. I actually had a very bad eating disorder from when I was thirteen until I was about twenty years old. I went from 113 pounds to 83 pounds. I was always very sick and I actually got taken out of school because of it. The more my bones stuck out, the happier I was; it was really unhealthy. I also had a drug addiction which was a part of it too. I decided to get sober when I was twenty and naturally, I gained weight. My confidence was at a new low and small things like shopping for clothes was a very difficult task for me. That's basically when I started working out. Going to the gym really changed how I felt about myself. I started realizing that taking care of yourself and being nice to yourself actually feels really good, and that's where a lot of my confidence came from. 

And being in front of the camera is a natural thing for me. I grew up as a dancer. I was always performing in front of huge audiences. I love the artistic side of it and being super expressive. I think the first time I was in front of the camera was when I was nine years old. I did a Disney commercial and the producers were super surprised at how easy it was for me to talk to the camera. Since then I knew I wanted to be in the "entertainment field."

 

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Having a strong voice in certain situations is a very important thing. You just have to remember to keep it professional. Unfortunately, there's been too many times where I've been in unprofessional situations like that time I was sexually assaulted. When it happened, I tried to stay calm. I immediately grabbed my things and basically ran out. I guess I was lucky that I got away. When I got home, I told my parents what had happened and I called the police. It was a huge process before he actually was charged with what he did and was arrested. I am a lot more cautious of who I shoot with now and where we shoot.

The advice I would give to models is if you don't know the photographer, try shooting somewhere public and where there are people around. See if any other models you know have shot with them too. Ask a lot of questions. A big thing is if it sounds sketchy or your gut is telling you something is not right, don't do it. It's not worth risking your life over, and if something does happen to you, talk about it; go to the police. I know it can be very hard going to the police but it's better to go to the police than regret not going at all later on, and you always have the option of not going through with the charges.  

 

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That incident that happened when I was sexually assaulted wasn't the last time I was attacked.  The last time I was attacked, I didn't want it to affect my life. I kept going full force, but one way or another, traumatizing events like that will end up seeping through the cracks. I ended up having to take two months off of modeling, but giving up on modeling was never an option for me. I wasn't going to let being sexually assaulted take away something that I genuinely love doing, but it was a very dark time for me and it's still something that I have to deal with every day. 

 

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[Ricky] was actually one of the first photographers I ever worked with. The first time I shot with him I was like fifteen. The pictures we took are such a big difference to what they are now. Ricky is always so much fun to work with. He genuinely cares about his models and he knows what he's doing. We're always making crazy Snapchat stories. 

 

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One of the most challenging aspects of my work is being so critical of myself and always wanting more or something new. I want all my pictures to have substance and creative direction. I hate doing the same thing twice, but I'm grateful for that because I love keeping people on their toes.

 

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2016 has been such a challenging year for me. I can't say that I'm the same person that I was when the year first started, but in a good way. I'm about to hit my mid-twenties and I'm really confident about it. 

 

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The end of civilzation will be caused by: Trump. (laughing)

 





















Paris Lopez // parisloveee

Ricky Miramontes // mmmtangerine // mmmtangerine.com // junnnktank.com/rickymiramontes

 

JUNNNKTANK is an online zine which has existed in one form or another since 2006.
For over a decade, the focus has been on highlighting the efforts of inspiring individuals and artists from around the world.

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Submissions are always welcome to junk@junnnktank.com.