#SocialSpotlight: Model & Runway Coach, Dominique Ruffin
Updated: May 1
Being in the #ContentCreator realm, I get to work alongside models often, especially when working with clients in the clothing and beauty industries. With that, I have been introduced to a wide range of both seasoned and aspiring models right here in San Antonio, Texas that have a wide variety of tips, tricks, and more than anything, questions, about the industry.
As we watch the Texas modeling scene unapologetically make a name for itself, it's always good to hear some words of wisdom from someone with an abundance of knowledge within the industry. So, without further ado, it is with great excitement that I introduce San Antonio-based, independent model, Dominique Ruffin! With her modeling career going on twelve years now, Dominique's expertise and experience in the industry is truly undeniable. Continue reading below to hear more about her journey, her teachings, and her future.
How did you get into modeling?
Growing up, I used to love watching my mother, aunt, and grandmother put together the most fashionable pieces for the best prices. From that moment on, I’ve always been in love with fashion and my obsession with runway shows started to form. I’d imagine myself in the shoes of supermodels and my mom picked up on that; finding an opportunity for me to attend a model development school.
Can you tell me about the first show you were in?
My first fashion show happened during my time at the model development school I attended. There wasn’t any particular designers because we were using the space to work on skill and technique. It was an exciting experience for a beginner model.
What type of modeling have you done since then?
Whew I’ve done quite a bit, but I’m always looking to continue growing and expanding. Throughout my professional modeling career I’ve done runway, commercial, print, high fashion, editorial, swimwear, fitness, master of ceremonies (MC), music videos, college sports reporting, model coordinating, and model coaching. I’ve also been published in both domestic and international magazines.
How would you describe the type of model you are compared to the type of model you were?
I would describe myself now as someone who is more aware and patient in the industry compared to how I used to be. I’ve done a lot of growing and maturing since I started my model career in my teen years and I now know how to uphold healthy boundaries while finding the right balance to avoid burnout.
"I love everything about modeling! The ability to express yourself and tune into your highest, most confident self, while experiencing some of the most amazing and creative spaces; all in the name of fashion." - Dominique Ruffin
What has been your biggest modeling accomplishment so far?
My biggest modeling accomplishment so far is becoming a Model Development Coach and having the resources to continue to strengthen those skills. At one point I didn’t even know I had the skill or potential of becoming a model coach until my fellow models, colleagues, and friends encouraged me to give it a try.
Do you plan to get signed or have you seen more value as an independent model?
I see the value in both, depending on where a model is at in their lives, what their career goals are, and what their niche is. As of right now, I am an independent-freelance model however, I am always open minded to agencies and management companies. I am just a bit particular in what I’m looking for.
What do you love about modeling?
I love the ability to be able to provide value to my fellow models where I can. I don’t know everything and I understand that I will never know everything about modeling and the industry, but that’s the beauty of one’s journey. I’m in it for the long haul and I’m enjoying every bit of growth along the way.
Teaching and Tips
How do you handle negative feedback?
In an industry that can be very cutthroat, it’s important to take everything with a grain of salt. Take in the important pieces or the “golden nuggets” of information that can help you grow and let the toxic or negative stuff go in one ear and out the other.
What are three important factors to remember when attending a casting call?
Step 1: Follow the casting directions word for word, bar for bar! Don’t assume anything more or less than the information posted for that specific casting.
Step 2: Bring a comp card and the right pair of heels. Runway heels should be comfortable, simple, and around 4-5 inches.
Step 3: Keep your hair out of your face! Think sleek, chic, and slick back buns or ponytails. Natural hair is fine, but make sure the judges can see your face.
"The biggest tip I have for freelancers is to build your network. Find trustworthy professionals in the industry that you can work with, network with, collaborate with, etc. Having a strong network is how you get jobs. Don’t be scared, get out there and find your people!" - Dominique Ruffin
What tips do you have for models interested in building their portfolio?
Look into TFP (trade for pay) or collaborative work if you are just starting out. It’s important to invest in quality photographers that will have your portfolio stand out amongst the others. Don’t go spending thousands on photographers, but research their work and invest wisely. Always be vigilant and aware when working with new people.
Where do you see yourself in the next 3-5 years?
All I can say is that I see myself achieving all of my professional model goals within the next few years.
"If I could tell my future self anything, it would be that you prayed for this moments and to enjoy it!" - Dominique Ruffin
Where can we expect to see you next?
I have an amazing fashion show coming up on May 21st in Dallas, Texas. I'll be walking in Emerge Dallas Fashion Week and I’m super excited about it! Be on the lookout for new content.
As said by Amit Kalantri, "Modeling is not just beauty and smile, it takes boldness and style", two characteristics that Dominique encompasses effortlessly. With a presence that is truly model-esque, Dominique is a sight to see both on and off the runway. You won't want to miss any part of her modeling journey as she makes a name for herself and San Antonio.
Connect With Dominique!