I love New Years, and I really enjoy writing this blog post every year. I love taking stock of my life throughout the past 12 months, seeing how I've grown, struggled, and changed, and sharing what I’ve learned, and my hopes for the upcoming 12 months. I don't believe in New Years Resolutions, but I do believe in setting goals and intentions, and the power and importance of checking in with ourselves, looking inward, adjusting, and moving forward.
Be sure to read till the end for a big announcement in what you can expect from me this year!
MY 2021 WINS AND GROWTH
2021…where do I begin. I had such high hopes for 2021, and as usual, my motivation at the beginning of the year was very high. In 2020, I was asked by multiple people to do a podcast. I surveyed my followers and audience to see if it would be something that would be of interest. The demand seemed to be there, and people seemed excited about the idea, so, at the very beginning of 2021, I took a leap of faith and started my podcast “Ruby’s Tuesday Review”. I had a vision of a twice monthly pod, where I spoke on subjects that were of great importance to me, such as, the modelling industry, self love and confidence, mental health, and more. I also wanted to bring in friends and colleagues who could add a different voice and perspective to the conversation. I had a lot of fun doing it, and produced 8 episodes, but honestly, I found it to be extremely time consuming, and it wasn’t getting as much traction as I had hoped. Not to mention, it is VERY difficult to make any money at podcasting unless you are MEGA successful, and, during a pandemic especially, I couldn’t justify diving head first into something that wasn’t at least helping me pay bills in some way. I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I had hoped, because I was finding it so stressful, and it had also added a huge work load to my schedule. The planning, recording, editing, promoting etc…it was a lot. I think in order to have a successful podcast, it really has to be a very strong passion of yours, in order to continually feel inspired to do the work. I mean, I suppose that's true for any sort of career, business, or project. I am a hard worker and hustle has never been an issue for me, but, with everything else going on in my life and the world, I was finding it really hard to find balance and motivation. So I put a pause on the podcast work to focus on endeavours that would bring in more income, and fill my creative cup a little more. I still really enjoy the podcast, and the wonderful conversations that I had, and variety of topics discussed, and would like to do more episodes, when I have more time and motivation to do so. I realised this year, that as much as I love my work, and have huge ambitions and goals for myself, I also need to be sure not to take on too much, and not over excerpt or over work myself, and that's exactly what I felt I was doing with the podcast. This year really showed me that in order to do my job well, I first need to take care of myself, because if I don't, my motivation and drive actually starts to dwindle and I end up getting far less done. Then, in turn, I am hard on myself for not getting enough done, and it is a burden on my mental health. Its a vicious cycle, but the answer and solution is always, more self love…so thats what Im trying to bring into 2022 with me. So for those who keep asking when to expect more episodes….I don’t have an answer for you QUITE yet, but when I have a little more time and motivation, I have some great new ideas and topics I would love to discuss
I also had some amazing opportunities career wise this year, despite, still not being able to travel to the extent that I would have liked. I was fortunate enough to do some fit modelling work for Lululemon and their expanded size range, through the last months of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. It was awesome to work with such a globally recognized company, who is Vancouver based, especially to help them with their desperately needed extended size range. I was also able to create and shoot an incredible campaign for the Playboy X Yandy Swim collection, which was available in extended sizes for the first time! That was a highlight of my year for sure, and one of my favorite shoots, that I got to do with 2 dear friends. I continued my work as a part of the Yandy Vixen program, which I absolutely love, and was able to shoot with a solid group of amazing sponsors, brands, clients, and creatives throughout the year. I was on the cover, for the 2nd time in my career, of FabUPlus Magazine for their Spring 2021 issue, which was available on newsstands across North America. I also made the cover of Retro Lovely PinUp magazine in February 2021. I continued to shoot select creatives with some of my favourite artists (when it was safe to do so), and also was able to continue to self shoot and practice my own photography skills. I even sub-leased a beautiful studio space for a good chunk of the year, which was amazing, and I realised through that experience that I want my OWN studio one day. Sub leasing was great. I got so much done, and felt so inspired, but there were things I would do differently, and would want to change, and as a sub leaser, I didn’t have that power or option. So, hopefully, a studio space of my own will be in my future within the next year or two.
I shot my 8th annual calendar, with Alicia Marie Photography. Our original plan was to shoot it in Palm Springs, but that plan was put on hold due to the pandemic ruining SO many travel plans this year….so, we decided instead to capture the beauty of our home, and the Canadian wilderness, so we shot it entirely in Banff National Park over 2 crazy days in October. It was FREEZING cold out, but we absolutely lucked out on sunshiney weather, and we managed to create my favourite calendar to date! The cover was shot at Lake Louise, (with a ton of people watching btw), and that spot holds a special place in my heart. Not only were my Grandparents married at Lake Louise, but my GREAT Grandmothers Grand Piano is on display in the lobby of the Chateau Lake Louise. Shooting in that same location, I really felt my Grandmas energy, and that she was cheering me on. My Grandma and I were very close, and very similar. She was also a model, had the most incredible life and sense of style, and was the life of every party even well into her 90’s. She was always cheering me on in anything I chose to do, and I miss her so much. However, shooting this calendar, in a spot that she loved, really helped me feel connected to her, and I know she is proud of me. My 2022 Calendar sold in RECORD numbers and is now sold out. That crazy 2 day shoot also produced some of my favourite images of my entire career. I am SO proud of this calendar, and I’m considering printing a limited amount more, if there would be any interest…so if you missed out and would like a copy…let me know in the comments!
.So, now that we've covered the good, lets talk about the not so good, the bad, and the ugly. Well, first, the obvious…the pandemic stuck around and seems to have only gotten worse. It felt like everytime things started to get better, and hope started to return, a new variant or wave came through. It fucked up SO many plans for me…but I know I'm not the only one by a long shot. I had to cancel so many fun things I had planned. I was planning to be in California for 4-6 weeks this year…that had to be cancelled as the land borders weren’t open yet, and I would need to drive. I had to cancel trips to Mexico, Hawaii, Montreal, Toronto, and Vegas too, all because of the pandemic, and all because I just didn’t feel safe, or comfortable travelling yet. I am high risk, with my asthma, and my entire family has health issues that make them high risk, so, as much as a vacation would have helped my mental health, I just couldn’t justify the risk. I would have never forgiven myself if I had travelled, and then gotten sick or passed it on to someone I love. I did travel within my beautiful province of BC, and even ventured to Alberta and Saskatchewan when numbers were low, and those tips were wonderful, but, I cannot wait to get on a plane again, and more importantly, I cant wait to get on a plane when its SAFE to do so for me and those around me. I am SO happy and grateful this year, to be double vaccinated *come on booster shot* and that my family is all vaccinated and as safe as can be at the moment. I know not everyone is as fortunate, so I count my lucky stars daily. I was asked to join the "This Is Our Shot" campaign, which is totally volunteer based program spreading information and educating canadians on the importance, and safety of vaccinations. Its a cause and campaign I believe in fiercely, and am so proud to be apart of it, along side some Canadian icons, such as Ryan Reynolds, Sarah McLachlan, Clara Hughes, Jann Arden, and many many more!
Speaking of mental health, mine has not been the best this year. At the end of 2020, I decided to go off my anxiety/depression meds. I did this for a few reasons. I had been on the same medications for 5 or 6 years now, and felt they had stopped being as effective. I was still quite depressed and anxious with them, and I forgot what I was like without them. It was bad timing admittedly…but, when I made that choice, I had no idea what 2021 would have in store, and in turn, I actually ended up making my depression far worse. I’m very good at hiding my mental health symptoms when I am out in the world…but inside I felt like dying, and during some of my darkest days this year, I thought that maybe if I died, the world would be better without me, and I wouldn’t have to suffer anymore. It isn't so much that I didn't want to be alive anymore...it's that I didn't want to be in pain, or feel like a burden anymore. It’s the first time I had had those thoughts in a while, and it really scared me, so I sought out therapy again after taking a bit of a pause, and reminded myself that there is no shame in admitting that I needed help. I also found a brand new family doctor (I had been searching for one for over 5 years) and got a new prescription to help with my mental health symptoms. It’s so nice to have a family doctor who knows my medical history, both physically and mentally, and who I feel actually listens, cares, and supports me. I was also diagnosed with ADHD this year, at 37 years old. My diagnosis helped me sort though some of my thought and behaviour patterns, and I am learning new ways to cope with my new diagnosis everyday. I share because I am not ashamed of my mental health status or how I handle (or mis-handle) the symptoms, and there is no shame in needing and receiving help and support. I am happy to say that I am feeling better at the end of the year than I did at the start of 2021, but I have a long way to go still in my mental health journey. Actually, the past month, hasn’t been great, and I still have bad, sad, and hopeless days, but mental health is a daily, life long journey…and even through my struggles, I feel like I am on the right path, and have the support I need. That's quite a turn around from how I felt at the beginning of the year, and that is what truly matters.
This year, I also lost my Instagram account….twice. The first time in April, it was back within 24 hours…this second time however, which happened mid December, and seems to be more challenging to get back this time. Ive been sending reports and appeals in multiple times a day but haven’t heard a thing from Instagram. I also got on Tiktok this year…and then had my Tik Tok account deleted at 80K followers…so I kinda gave up on TikTok this year too. Social media has NOT been kind to me, and many others this year…but I haven’t given up hope yet, and will have much more on that, in a separate blog post, i'll be releasing later this week, so be sure to check back for that. In the meantime, please make sure your following my facebook page (www.facebook.com/rubyroxxmodel) and my backup Instagram account (www.instagram.com/rubyroxxbackup), and if you want to support me further and see much more, exclusive content, you won’t find on social media, consider pledging to one of my fan pages!
WHAT'S TO COME?
So whats next for Ruby? Well, this is where that “Big Announcement” that I promised comes into play.
For years, I had been saying that when I turn 35 I would retire from modelling. I thought that by 35, I would be aged out of the industry, and would have accomplished most things that would have wanted to in my career. I have been modelling since I was 19, and this year, I will be turning 38! While my view has changed, and I continued modelling beyond 35, I do feel like its time to start slowing down and making time for other passions and things I want to try out or get better at. At the end of 2019, I decided that my age wouldn’t stop me from modelling and that I don't have a shelf life in this industry, and I still believe that! I never want to fully give up on modelling because I really do love it, and it fills my creative cup, boosts my confidence, and has given me so many amazing friends, and opportunities throughout my life, but, I have accomplished almost everything that I wanted to accomplish in this industry. There are other things I want to learn, and do in my life, and if I continue on the path im on, i'll never have time to do any of it! So, as of, right now basically, I am semi-retiring from modelling. Ill still likely do 1-2 shoots a month (as opposed to the 5-10 I was doing this past year), but I will be FAR pickier about the shoots I do. Bucket list, and dream photoshoots, will take precedent, as well as new exciting creative shoots and dream team opportunities. So, this certainly isn’t the end of my modelling, but there will be a shift. Also, with my Instagram account being taken down, it really feels like the universe is trying to lead me down a different path. So, what else will I be doing you ask? For starters, I am planning to up my own photography game! I have already signed up for a couple amazing photography retreat/workshops for 2022, and cannot wait to get on the OTHER side of the camera a bit more! I also want to do more writing, both for magazines, a book I’m working on, and for this blog. I would also like to teach more workshops, and share my knowledge of the industry, how to get started, be safe, build confidence, pose, market yourself and more! I plan to do more workshops, with Dane Halo and Nicole Nu, for the Curves Ahead Workshop, as well as doing some by myself, both in person (when its safe) and online via zoom. I would like to do more design and maybe design my own line of lingerie this year. And as I mentioned before, I would love to have my own studio space, and have more time to commit to producing more podcast episodes. And of course, if its safe to do so, I would love to travel MUCH more in 2022! So, with less time spent modelling, ill have more time for other creative endeavours that I have wanted to jump into for quite a while. Ill be saying NO alot more, but in turn will be able to say YES, and designate time to projects and ideas that I have wanted to focus on for a while. So this isn’t the end of Ruby by a long stretch, but 2022 will bring out a new version of Ruby, which I cannot wait to share with you!
No matter how 2021 treated you, or what you wishes, dreams, and plans for 2022 are, I hope this new year brings everyone kindness, health, safety, healing, forgiveness, understanding, and love. I can't wait to see how this year unfolds, and am so fortunate to be able to share it all with you. So, from my home, heart, and family to yours, thank you for all your support, this past year, and next, and