Nigel Garcia walks into the room–tall, beautiful, confident, demanding the attention of everyone in the room. She gives me a friendly smile when I greet her, and I am stunned. We’ve been talking online, but it’s always different when you meet someone in person. She welcomes everyone in the room and sits in the makeup chair while chatting up with the makeup artist about the tricks that she’s learned as a model. The shoot begins, and we finish in less than 15 minutes. She stays to chat with us and take a few more photos with the photographer.
Nigel has a lot of notches on her belt.
A model, photographer, and a videographer, she’s a multi-hyphenate content creator who started as a model with an affinity for everything involving fashion. Like most millennials, she has never really pictured herself being where she is right now–a full-time content creator across many platforms–but her dream of working in the fashion industry led her to evolve from being the person in front of the camera to someone who works behind it.
Here, Nigel talks about her beginnings as a model, her work ethic, and the advice she would give to the younger generation.
You’re a model, photographer, art director, and so many other things. How did this happen? Was content creation something you’ve always wanted to do?
Modeling came first before everything else. I have friends that encouraged me to try it out, and so I went for it. It was for fun, and it was something I could do on the side. I loved doing it and meeting the team behind the shoots and show. I’ve always wanted to be a part of the fashion industry, and I figured that this could be it.
Being the person behind the lens came second. Before entering college, I had zero knowledge of how to use a DSLR. I was taking up Communication Arts—I knew that I eventually had to learn how to use a DSLR, shoot, film, edit, and do everything else in between. I guess from there it just naturally flowed, knowing how to work the camera and the creative process of it all. I wanted to practice my photography outside the university, so I shot at a fashion show. It was that gig that got me shooting more. I started practicing studio photography in a friend’s studio. I met a lot of people involved in the fashion industry too, because of that. It was great—I still get to work with them until now.
Creating content like this was never really my plan. I never pictured me this way. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do in “the real world” when I was younger. Always thought I’d land specifically in the fashion industry. I’m super happy where I am now, though, because I get to be flexible in my field of work and reach out to other industries.
Do you ever get insecure about your work?
All the time. I get super anxious, because there are so many people out there with amazing work, and it gets intimidating. Things can become so fast-paced at times, too, and it gets me pressured because, of course, I don’t want to be left out. But you know, I want to put myself out there so that I can learn more and improve myself. Everything’s a process, and you have to take things, step by step.
Who are your most significant influences?
Margaret Zhang! She’s an all-around fashion creative—she does photography, writing, styling, directing, videography, and the like. I was fangirling hard deep inside when I met her a couple of years ago when she was in Manila for an event. She’s super inspiring, and her work is amazing!
What’s one advice that was given to you before, and that you continue to live by?
Do something—you can keep dreaming and wishing for something, but if you don’t act upon it, nothing’s going to happen. You’re not going to magically learn how to create an award-winning film just by sitting down and hoping that the film gods will suddenly bless you with incredible filmmaking skills overnight. You have to do something. Watch tutorials, ask help from friends, play around with your gadgets. Little by little, you’ll end up mastering whatever you’ve been practicing.
What advice would you give to young content creators?
Enjoy what you’re doing. Don’t be too hard on yourself when things don’t turn out perfectly. Practice and application are key when you want to be better with your work.
Also, don’t be discouraged when your work gets rejected a couple of times. It happens, all the time! Use that as a tool to power yourself to do better and show the world how great you are.