10/03/2012 01:20 pm ET Updated Dec 03, 2012

Model Behavior

Looking at it from the outside in, I understand why most people are under the impression that modeling is a very glamorous job. It can be, but it can also be very dark and lonely. I wanted not to perpetuate the negative connotations associated with modeling (a lot of which I had experienced first hand), but in my writing offer young people the perspective that they too can lead a life that is their dream, and that life can be healthy, vital, and filled with positive experiences.

Reality television has become a pop fad in our culture, allowing many people to become famous overnight. A person's self worth is often determined by whether or not they are famous via television or have otherwise become a viral sensation. I want to offer something real behind a reality TV experience, as in how to be true to one's self once the lights are off and the camera is no longer rolling. It is my desire that young people have a reason to believe in themselves based on their own individual beauty from the inside out.

Finally, in writing, I hope to encourage the creativity, compassion, love and humanism we all have innately within our lives -- by expressing my own. Following is an excerpt from my my most recent book Naima Mora Model Behavior on iTunes, Chapter One. I'd love to hear from you, read your story of waking up, of finding yourself. You can comment here and at my Fan Corner, but submitting your story to me and I will publish it live!


"I stood there naked. Removing the blindfold by slowly and painfully opening my heavy eyelids, I stared at my bare reflection.

Stoically, almost in a trance, I dissected every piece of me.

My feet on the cool floor, hands to my side, swaying to a motionless wind, I was preparing to receive the rain of sharp bullets pouring in from the firing squad of my own critical gaze.

With slow, short, shallow breaths, I was preparing to take inventory of every flawed part of me, which happened to be all of me. I loathed what I saw and what I felt. The sharp edge of my glare had begun to cut me open, examine and probe at my viscera.

I could feel it all slipping away.

Painfully it was running through my fingers. It was falling through my grasp -- life, love, sanity. Like sand, my hold on reality was spilling away one grain at a time. I had done this ceremony of self-sacrificing thousands of times, but it was only at this moment I realized how often. Could I have really disliked me so much? Was this what rock bottom felt like? This wasn't supposed to be happening. Everyone told me how I had everything and was so strong. What happened? How did I get here?

The air was hot and motionless, but my skin prickled and chilled my flesh. I was spun up into memories -- of my parents divorce, of my first anxiety attack at eleven, of friends lost too early, of growing up poor, of seeing what poverty does to people, of not feeling good enough or worthy enough to accomplish my dreams.

Memories of racism and sexism, of bad relationships, of all my relationships (love or friendships) failed due to abuse, of sacrificing integrity for something called beauty, of moving to New York at eighteen, of fighting with my parents, of being kicked out and running away.

Memories of feeling lost and uncertain, of hiding behind debauchery or self-medication through something called fun, of self-abuse, of smiling when I'm hurting, of pretending to be happy when I'm not.

What was left but burning tears? There was nothing else I could do at that moment but cry. My fragility had finally caught up to me. I'd spent years being this rock of a human being, strong and determined. Now I felt like I had begun to crack from the brutality of life beating up on my free spirit.

Alone, I stood ripping myself to pieces because that was the only way I knew how to react. I was being hard on myself because I was my toughest critic and usually I would cause myself to learn and grow from such harsh criticism. But this was far from constructive, it was quite the contrary, it was destructive. Where had I forgotten how to nurture myself? Where had I forgotten how to cradle the love in my heart and to nourish my dreams? Where had I forgotten that yesterday makes me who I am, but does not define who I can become?

What was left now but my tears? I could taste their salt in my mouth, parching my throat. There was nothing else I could do at that moment but wipe my eyes, and inhale and exhale. Rub away the tears I had never allowed myself to cry. Alone, I stood there and realized that I was the only person standing in my way of love and success. I realized that I, and I alone, have all the power and control to change my fate. For the first time in a long time I made the decision to like me for all that I was, and it was really hard. But I could nurture my feelings and cradle the love in my heart. I could get out of the way of myself and allow me the chance to follow my dreams.

"Yesterday makes me who I am, but does not define who I can become."

Naima Mora Model Behavior, All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2012. Naima Mora Published by Possibility Publishing & Entertainment.