Service Members and Families Model in Japan
Story by MC2 Michael Doan, Photos Courtesy of Alicia Brunson
Military family members overseas may find themselves unable to locate jobs within their skillset due to either differences in culture and language, or a lack of demand for their abilities. One unique opportunity available to Naval Air Facility Atsugi Sailors and their families is an opportunity many people only dream of.
Modeling prospects in Japan are not out of the realm of possibility for service members and their families. NAF Atsugi already has a history of those stationed here pursuing modeling. For those interested in opportunities to model or exploring other jobs in the Atsugi area, the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) is hosting a special event to help you get started.
“We’re sponsoring a modeling and job fair on the 30th of March,” said Melanie Brassfield, FFSC’s Family Employment Representative. “We have invited local employers, organizations on base and modeling agencies to recruit family members interested in modeling and other job opportunities in Japan.”
For some families, going from two sources of income down to one can bring unforeseen challenges. Opportunities like these in foreign countries may help provide some breathing room or a buffer between expenses. “I think, unfortunately, that a lot of family members who come to Japan and have much more limited job opportunities than they would have stateside,” said Brassfield. “That effects people’s morale and also the bottom line for people and their pockets. We want to make sure everyone is aware of all the job opportunities in Atsugi and for those who are not looking for jobs, a chance to showcase the potential of being able to model out in town.”
Alicia Brunson, whose family is currently stationed in Japan for a second time, first got involved with modeling here more than ten years ago. “We lived in Yokosuka from 2006 to 2008. My youngest son was born here and I already had a 3-year-old,” said Brunson. “I heard about a modeling fair that was taking place on base in Yokosuka. I took them to the modeling fair. I had a blonde hair blue-eyed baby and a redheaded 3-year-old with freckles. They took pictures while we were at the modeling fair and it wasn’t long after that we got some calls saying they were interested in some auditions.”
Brunson went on to explain that the modeling agency she and her family worked with spoke English and the language barrier never stopped them from booking jobs. “I want to let other parents know that there are more opportunities than just still photos for magazines and ads,” said Brunson. “Cole (Brunson’s youngest son) has drawn pictures for a Honda commercial where he wasn’t in the commercial, but his drawing was. Cole has also been filmed as an extra in a Japanese movie and has auditioned for commercials.” Depending on your level of involvement with your agency, job requirements for modeling can vary greatly. “You have to be flexible,” said Brunson.
“Sometimes you don’t know until two days before that you could be doing a modeling shoot and don’t take it personally if they don’t call you back. You never know what they may be looking for. They could be looking for someone taller or shorter, older or younger.” Not all modeling is going to be the same and what agencies are looking for can differ.
“We do have a decent list of modeling agencies and they’re all looking for different things, so don’t exclude yourself from trying to model because you don’t think you are what they want. It is a very unique experience that you might only get a chance to do here in Japan,” said Brassfield. “I would encourage everyone to try it at least once. It’s educational, fun, and, it gives you a chance to earn some money.”