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Girls Got Heart
Noelle Manica is crushing her lady craft in the modeling world! So we had to sit down and ask her about her life's journey and how she manages the hustle and bustle of #momlife, #bosslife, #wifelife, #travellife, #modelinglife and everything in between! What we discovered was a story that started with open heart surgery and proves that ... if you've got heart... you will go places.
How do you keep it together, juggling the roles of a wife, mother, business owner and health?!?
One of the hardest things to do, but a turning point for me, was to stop comparing myself and my journey to others. Obviously, that took some time to settle in and really stick, but once I was able to let it resonate, it allowed me freedom to protect my time for myself and with my family. Health is most definitely a priority for me, especially because I realize I have others depending on me. So I make time for getting enough sleep most nights during the week (I'm an 8-hour minimum to be a positive person); to eat healthy; to workout; and to keep my emotional and mental well-being intact with alone time and time with family and friends. There will always be compromises that I have to make, but as long as I make them the exception and not the norm, I can continue to thrive in my environment.
How many agencies are you signed with as a model and how different are each agency? How versatile do you need to be?
I am currently signed with SIX modeling agencies!! Which is crazy, I know, but I am fortunate to be able to travel and am happy to have the chance to work in other markets outside of Kansas City. I am signed locally with Voices& Models and Talent; with West Model & Talent Management in St. Louis; with The Rock Agency in Chicago; with TNG Models in Las Vegas; with O Models in LA; and with Amax Talent in Nashville. Even though each market has its own niche, across the board, I fall into their "Classics" division which makes it easy for my portfolio. While I do follow each agency's specific direction for my portfolio to present me in the best light to their clients, I also need to be creative and think outside the box. And some of those really creative shoots have been springboards for amazing opportunities like NYFW, Miami Swim Week and Paris Fashion Week. My agencies are all great and supportive of what I do. Communication and time-management are uber-critical skills.
What is the biggest pitfall of your industry?
The biggest pitfall is that it is 100% a looks-based industry. I'm happy to see that the modeling industry is becoming more open and welcome to "reality" with models and talent it welcomes and supports because I think that sends a positive message to everyone who is looking for ideals of beauty and health. But as we all know, the human body changes each year and some changes are more welcome than others. My husband would say that I won the genetic lottery, but based on my childhood surgeries and other health issues I've had to deal with, I'd choose to say that I'm thoughtful to a fault when it comes to my health and my skin. To-date, I have ascribed to a healthy diet, regimented exercise and fitness routine, and moderation with social activities (meaning I balance a party night with a few nights (or days) at home to recover). My skincare routine is simple; I wear minimal makeup during the day -- concealer, mascara, tinted lip balm; I ALWAYS wash my makeup off; I follow a skincare regimen and incorporate spa facials. And while I personally am averse to plastic surgery as a method to preserve my "youthful appearance", I can completely understand reasons that motivate any who do opt for that. It's a personal choice and as such, something that should be personally motivated.
Describe how your childhood surgeries helped define you today?
I had pyloric surgery at 9 months old that led to discovery of a hole in my heart. So I had open-heart surgery when I was 4 ½ years old and have an almost 6-inch vertical scar on my chest. It’s a constant reminder of how fragile life is, and how not to take it for granted. Medical technology in the 20th century enabled me to Survive and thrive past my childhood years, and so I am always hyper-aware of my health and well-being.
Who is Noelle in 3 words?
Caring, headstrong, intelligent
What inspires you?
My husband : I am constantly amazed by his incredible mind, his constant drive, and his generous heart.
My children : they remind me that there is a future, and they teach me to be a better person because I realize that I am helping to shape their worlds, and I want to be a positive influence.
My family + close friends : they are my cheerleaders, my therapists and my partners in crime.
What is self-confidence and inner beauty to you?
Self-confidence is about being totally present in the moment so that you can give the best version of yourself. Inner beauty radiates from what’s inside your heart and your soul.
If you were a flower, what kind of flower would you be and why?
My all-time favorite flower is the fragrant Southern magnolia blossom. Gardenia and jasmine are a really close second, but the magnolia is special because it’s the adornment to a beautiful Magnolia tree, which has deep roots and stands strong in the midst of storms.
What is your life motto and how do you master life struggles?
I think I have two mottos: “It could always be worse.” and “Life is a gift.” They’re good reminders to me to just breathe, take a moment, and to realize that it’s part of life to struggle, or stumble, or fall. It’s about recovering from the fall and picking myself back up again that really matters.
Are you a hunter or gatherer?
Instinctively, I’d say that I am both. I was used to the anthropological terms, but when I looked the terms up recently, was surprised to learn that it’s now in workplace terms as “worker bee” and “killer bee” (stay behind the scenes and work, or be aggressive and self-promotional). In my corporate life, I was more of a “worker bee” for sure. Now in this stage of my life and all of the modeling elements I’m involved in, I definitely have to be both at the same time.
How do you define success?
Tricky question! Our society usually defines success in monetary terms. But I think it’s an attitude, and a peace of mind, from knowing that you did your best to do what you were capable of doing. My degree is in business, communications and sport management, and I initially started working in sponsorships and marketing right out of college. I didn’t exactly set out to be so focused on modeling, even though I was involved in it from when I was in high school.
Did I succeed as a model, even though I never made global covers or was placed with an agency in NYC or Paris?
I would say I am successful as a model, because I managed to extend my modeling career beyond “expiration” dates, and even translate it into other areas, like with The Model Board and my position with the Kansas City Fashion Council.
What would we find in your fridge?
Perrier, plant/nut milks, raspberries, blueberries, salad, guacamole, eggs, sprouted bread, a jar of Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective mask.
What are 2 of your biggest pet peeves?
“Bad manners” covers a whole host of pet peeves for me. I think being kind and considerate erases many problems we deal with today in our society.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Ha! I’m an extroverted introvert. I love to be social, but I also crave quiet time.
If you could time travel, where would you go?
I’m always fascinated by ancient Rome. I studied Latin in grade school and learned about their civilization. It would be incredible to actually experience it.
What makes a good boss lady?
Organization and determination. And, the ability to delegate.
Your advice to boss ladies who are trying to find a balance between home and work?
We are all our own version of “Wonder Woman”. Finding a balance in anything is hard, but what’s missing from the “home/work” equation is SELF. We can’t be any good to those we live with or those we work with if we don’t take time to take care of our self, too, whether you need time to yourself or time for your relationships. Your time is valuable, so be careful and thoughtful with what you decide to fill your days and nights with. With grade-school kids at home, I’ve learned to ask for help when I need it, from family and friends. And I’ve also learned how important it is to make time for date nights with my husband. It’s nice to fall in love with each other again.
What is the right way to handle success?
With grace and gratitude. Don’t ever think that giving credit to others will diminish what you’ve accomplished, or that sharing what you’ve learned will stunt your career and growth.
What motivates you to keep doing what you do?
I’ll be 42 soon, so just realizing that I get to chart my own course is exhilarating and unnerving. When I was in grade school, being in your 40’s was the “over the hill” party with the black balloons and all the depressing sentiments. But as I grew older and actually reached my 40’s, I realized how insane that was. I’m still climbing that proverbial hill and eager for all of the lessons I learn along the way. It just makes my life that much richer of an experience.
What style/ outfit do you put on that makes you feel your most authentic self?
This is a hard one! I usually avoid prints and patterns, so I’d have to say a neutral fitted top (white, tan gray, black), with fitted jeans and boots. My style is usually simple and sophisticated.