“I never saw myself as a Model” – Joem Bayawa presents Marty Riva
Who shares his personal journey on the modeling career & life in a portfolio built and developed in Chicago.
Professional fashion photographer based in Chicago Joem Bayawa–took in another level– how to build a professional portfolio.
For this moment, let’s enjoy this journey of the beginnings from Marty Riva, let’s dig who this guy is, where he wants to go and his very first time fashion-moment.
About Marty Riva
“I grew up in a small area in the northern part of Illinois, mostly know for the National Park, Starved Rock. I grew up with my mother, as my dad was not a big part of my life.”
“My mom did her best to serve as both parents, she was the one who pushed me to do better in sports, attended all of my games, grounded me when I did wrong and comforted me when I was down.”
You can do whatever you set your mind to
His mother said to Marty some magical words, “you can do whatever you set your mind to” Marty continues, “she always gave me confidence in whatever I was doing by consistently letting me know that”
“Carrying this mentality through life gave me the confidence I needed to try new things, get out of my comfort zone, grow as a person and venture into new activities like sports.”
I have been playing sports since I was in fifth grade
And we noticed in Joem’s new work “I started playing football and basketball and had no problem excelling because of my size and natural athleticism.”
Marty continues, “I have to admit, I would have never played sports if my mom hadn’t pushed me too, I even tried to quit in the seventh grade but my mom made me finish out the season, for which I am eternally grateful for.”
Can you imagine Marty being a shy guy? well he admitted here: “I have always been shy my entire life and always needed a little push to get out of my comfort zone and really experience life. This issue is something that sports helped me overcome, it taught me the meaning of hard work, team work and comradery.”
In High School
Sports was what Marty lived for, every day he was on school and then he workouts for either basketball or football and he said “I loved every second of it.”
He always had aspirations to become a professional football player. “It was when I got to college that physical challenges came in to play. I played my first full year of football at Augustana College and it went very smooth as was able to show coaches the potential I had for upcoming years.”
Sadly he was plagued by three ACL tears, one right after another. Now, it was time to grow up.
“Sports played such a pivotal role in my life”
Marty confess, “my entire life I have always been kind, laid back, and calm. I was never that outgoing person that everyone reached out to hang out with.”
“I was much more reserved than my friends and I think that is something that hurt me in life.”
“I always seemed to feel alone, like I had no one to talk to. My mom was always around but she owned a bar and was constantly working and stressed out about work, my dad lived half way across the country and I am an only child so I had not company from siblings.”
“This is why sports played such a pivotal role in my life, it helped me develop lifelong friendships, helped me learn how to grow bonds and also taught me the importance of being a role player and doing your part to help the team reach a goal.”
“I needed to get out of my home town”
“After college was over and my chances of becoming anything in sports vanished, I was left to face the real world. I needed to get out of my home town because there was nothing for a recent graduate there unless you were taking over a family business.”
“This is what brought me to the beautiful Windy City. I got a sales job in Chicago selling office printing technology. Now I know this sounds like it was the most exciting thing to talk about but, I promise, it wasn’t.”
“I eventually started to dread going into work so after about a year and a half of working in the corporate world, I knew I needed a change.”
“This was when I started to do some self-reflection and look back on what else I enjoyed in life other than sports.”
The answer was real estate.
“I had always watched HGTV with my mom and was fascinated by how people could transform a run-down home into someone’s dream home. That fascinated me, however, it isn’t that easy to start doing. You have to build capital or find an investor, you have to build relationships with contractors, you have to learn all about the ins and outs of a home and you have to have time.”
Marty affirms, “I started this journey by helping clients buy, sell and rent their home. This didn’t seem to get me any closer to what I wanted to do, flip homes.”
“When modeling became an option, I knew I had to get out of my comfort zone yet again and try something new.”
My Journey Into Modeling
The model revealed to us in an essay, “My girlfriend is the main reason I got into modeling. She always told me I should try it out and go to open calls but I never saw myself as a model or someone that would even be comfortable in front of a camera. But I like working out so why not get paid for the results, right?”
“She kicked into another gear when she sent me a list of agencies with open calls and since I had free time because being a real estate agent, I have a flexible schedule, so why not give it a try.”
Riva confessed to us, “I went to open calls at MP and Ford but was disappointed with the short meeting that both ended with, «we’ll reach out to you if we are interested». Of course this is where I thought my modeling career would end, I didn’t have experience, I didn’t have pictures and no one wanted to represent me.”
He was introduced to Joem Bayawa
“Luckily, I met a great friend at an open call, Zack. Through him the modeling world opened up for me. He invited me to an event on the Mag Mile. Here, I was introduced to Joem Bayawa. Toward the end of the event Joem came up to me to ask if I have ever tried modeling and I told him about my failed open calls. This didn’t steer him away, he saw potential in me, we exchanged numbers. After a two hour phone call and a couple of messages back and forth with Joem, we set up a day to start building my portfolio.”
“When I first showed up to Joem’s home, I was greeted with a hug and a friendly smile.”
Marty continues, “we started to talk and build some rapport. After about an hour of getting to know each other we started to do hair and makeup and get ready to get my first photoshoot on its way.”
“Everything that Joem did for me really made me feel confident and comfortable in front of the camera.”
“I was able to get a great amount of experience just in that first day with multiple wardrobe changes and tons of coaching.”
“After our first shoot we scheduled another to continue to build the portfolio.” The shooting we are looking at, was at Joem’s studio, downtown and at Montrose beach by Lake Michigan. Then also, in an extended greenery forest preserved in Chicago.
During this time Joem was in contact with the Director of DAS Model Management and it was after our second shoot together that Joem introduced Marty to Steve Wimbley from DAS.
“Before I was able to sign with DAS I had the chance to have my first model experience with an outdoor runway show.”
”My first runway show was one to remember.”
“It was outdoors on one of the hottest days of the summer and we were walking on a black runway. The first couple outfits had us wearing shoes but the last one, did not. I got onto the runway and immediately felt my feet start to burn.”
“I told myself I had to suck it up and walked the whole runway, just a little bit faster than normal. After the show was over I had to immediately ice my feet and the pain ended up being so bad I had to go to the ER to get the blisters cut off and get properly treated. Needless to say, but my first modeling experience will be one that I will always remember.”
“Today, I still continue to work and build my portfolio. I am looking forward to learning more about the business and turn this into the career of my dreams.”
You guys, you know how important is to be near by people who can push you further–not to bring you down– everything in life is meaningful. This is just one example of thousand and thousands of Americans who try really hard everyday.
Don’t give up, if they said no, continue, never give up. Be persistent.
If you want to be a male model, and you are based in Chicago, and want to be in touch of Joem Bayawa‘s work, I will let his social media down,
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