Exactly 20 years ago, I made my modeling debut in no other place but the pages of 20/20. No aspirations to be a model—I was just a budding marketing coordinator in Jobson’s marketing department. Former editor-in-chief James Spina approached me one day and asked if I was interested in taking part in the February issue’s “Real Women in Eyewear” photo shoot. I initially thought he was asking me to tie in the shoot with our marketing efforts. “No. I’m asking you to be one of our models because we think you look great in eyewear,” he said without any hesitation. I remember being shocked. Me?? A model? In my favorite magazine?! YES.

20/20’s fashion photo shoots usually feature professional models wearing the eyewear we select from our product reviews but every so often, the team changes up the concept, and in lieu of pros, we enlist everyday people to be the models. This always resonated with me because as much as I love looking at fashion photo spreads, it’s refreshing to switch gears and see the eyewear styled from an alternative perspective. After all, real people are the wearers of eyewear.

The day of the shoot, I felt like a star sitting in the chair getting my makeup/hair done. It still didn’t fully sink in I was about to model, but I thought it was going to be a piece of cake. I’ve always loved posing for pictures with my friends and family. How hard could it be? The 20/20 editors had me try on some frames and settled on two optical styles from Moschino and ProDesign. Things got real when I stepped on set and in front of the camera. The nerves hit me, and I froze. Where do I put my hands? Do I look in the camera? Should I smile? I started to feel silly thinking I could model. “Real people are not models!” I screamed inwardly. The photographer saw my stage fright and began talking to me. He helped me relax, and before I realized it, he snapped away. When the print issue came out, I felt so proud. It wasn’t so much about seeing myself in the pages of 20/20—more that I had the opportunity to show our readers how beautiful these frames were on face. In fact, it made me fall in love with eyewear even more.

Years later as a member of the edit team, I have participated in countless photo shoots. These days I’m not in front of the camera, aside from getting my headshots taken (thanks to photographer Anastasia Garcia for my newest one seen here). But as many as I’ve been a part of, each photo shoot still brings a new sense of excitement—there’s nothing like seeing the eyewear brought to life each issue, regardless of who is wearing them. My takeaway and hopefully yours: Everyone is a model when it comes to eyewear. Just slip on a pair and see in an instant how it can transform your face, your confidence, your aura. And you certainly don’t need to be in front of a camera to witness that transformation.

Christine Yeh
Executive Editor
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