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One of the questions I get asked most from interviewers is, “What can people who want to build a platform online do to succeed?” 
For a long time, I didn’t know how to answer this question, because I thought I just got lucky. I was at the right place at the right time and the algorithm had taken care of the rest. As I’ve gotten older, though, I look back at what I’ve done in a much more analytical way. The truth is that millions of people have gone viral online, but few are able to keep people coming back enough to make a business out of viral content, so what made me different?
If you’re following me on TikTok or Instagram, you may have seen that I submitted to Vogue’s open casting call this past week. I was so nervous posting the video of my runway walk, because I felt like it was so much different than anything I’d ever done before. More than that, posting it required me to publicly share that I wanted something, and let people watch as I either succeeded or failed.
When I was deciding whether or not to post it, I showed the video of my runway walk to my friend, who so bluntly (but kindly) told me, “No offense, but you’ve posted stuff way more embarrassing than this.” We both laughed, and I realized she was right. I also realized that the “embarrassing” content I had posted in the past had been the key ingredient to my success, and the thing a lot of people online are missing.
I was 16 when I started posting videos. Obviously, not all of them were winners, but I was sharing myself from all angles—good, bad, and sometimes unflattering. Even as hard as some of my old videos make me cringe now, I know they’re why I’m still here. Sharing myself in an honest, open, and often times embarrassing way is what allowed people to get to know me, see themselves in me, and ultimately follow me.
Profile shot of girl looking past the camera against a white backdrop; model wears a black halter top, dangling gold earrings, and light to no makeup. Tan skin, dark brown curly hair.
I know I definitely got lucky, but I turned that luck into two businesses and over 20M followers across platforms. In order to do that, I had to admit when I wanted things, not only to myself but to the public. I think sometimes, people assume I can just have whatever I want at the drop of a hat because I have a platform. While my following is definitely a resource I do not take for granted, it’s not a guarantee at all. I still have to prove myself, and this casting call was a testament to that. I had to post along with everyone else, submit the same forms, and hope that they liked me. I have always loved modeling because I feel very comfortable in front of the camera. I lose track of time and have fun working with the photographer and creatives on set. It’s something I have always been passionate about but haven’t worked toward exclusively. Admitting that I wanted to find a modeling agency to sign with was scary because it opened me up to ridicule, but it’s also exciting to know that it opens up opportunities. 
Girl standing against a white backdrop, wearing black jeans and a black halter top with her dark brown hair loosely around her shoulders.
Honestly, though, when you’re working toward a goal that means something to you, it will always carry fear – fear of being made fun of or embarrassed – but also excitement at the possible chance you succeed. You have to be brave enough to possibly fail, and that can be hard. 
Personally, I’ve grown more comfortable looking silly or being made fun of if it means also getting to do the things I love. And to the women in my DMs who said, “thank you for posting your Vogue submission, you just inspired me to post mine too!” I see you and I support you. If it’s not Vogue, then it will open up other doors, for all of us.
Girl standing against a white backdrop, wearing black jeans and a black halter top with her dark brown hair loosely around her shoulders.
So just a little advice for this week: Put yourself out there, don’t mind the haters, chase your dreams, whatever they are! I’ll be cheering you on <3 
Sienna Mae Gomez