After a trip to Japan during the summer of seventh grade, junior Ally Gong fell head-over-heels for fashion. Gong, whose artistic talents far outdated her fashion pursuits, channeled her creative interests into starting a personal blog called “Ally Gong.” Since then, her blog’s success has opened doors to the modeling world and the beauty industry alike.
“I’m a girl, so fashion is always in the back of my mind,” Gong said. While building an initial audience was a slow-moving process, the blog’s readership has grown exponentially during the past year. Over the past few months alone, her blog has accumulated over 70,000 views from readers all over the world. “There is this girl in India who has been my fan for the past two years,” Gong said. “Just today, she told me that she got published in her school paper for sharing the books I recommended on my blog.”
Gong’s modeling debut started when a friend and part-time model suggested she begin to build a portfolio. She started to familiarize herself with the types of shots a modeling portfolio requires, such as three-quarter, full body and artistic photographs that capture her creative vision. Through online modeling networks, Gong was able to get in touch with professional photographers and model for their collections, while building on her own portfolio simultaneously. “I’m trying to show my flexibility in terms of modeling and the range of styles that I can pull off,” Gong said.
Recently, a videographer named Emanuel discovered Gong’s portfolio on a modeling network called Model Mayhem and asked if she would be interested in modeling for a commercial advertisement selling Monster headphones. Gong took on her first commercial job and was able to glance into the behind-the-scenes life of professionals in the industry. The Monster commercial is only the beginning, as Gong has multiple photoshoots and commercials lined up during her summer visit to Shanghai this year.
“Blogging and modeling are very tied together since my blog is very appearance-oriented,” she said. “I love being able to be a part of the fashion and beauty world.” Through both her online and modeling ventures, Gong has gained more popularity as brands send her makeup products and clothes to review for her readers. In fact, she might even be getting her prom dress through a promotional gift.
While Gong wants to pursue her modeling career during high school, she ultimately wants to go into business and marketing, a goal which may lead her back into fashion as a consultant to a big makeup or fashion brand. As of now, she plans to keep building her portfolio and continue blogging about her experiences. An idea for a fashion club at school is still in the works for next year as well.
For beginning models and bloggers, Gong suggests adding personal touches and be open to opportunities. “When you go after something that you really love doing, every opportunity that comes to you ties together in the end,” she said. “You look back at this comprehensive picture and think of how it all came to fit together.”