After class, it’s not unusual for Megan Sawey to dart off to a photoshoot.
Sawey, 20, a sophomore advertising major with an English minor, is balancing a full-time course load while modeling for Institute and Vigor magazines.
“When I get a day where I have nothing to do, I don’t know what to do with myself,” Sawey said. “I don’t feel like I’m living up to my potential, so I stay busy everyday.”
Sawey said her modeling career wasn’t carved out for her, but something she crafted herself as she joined Model Mayhem – a Facebook -like website for aspiring models – connected with local photographers and started building a portfolio she felt comfortable presenting to Wilhelmina Models, a local modeling company.
Building on her first shoot with an unknown photographer, Sawey said she has been featured in Modcloth twice, including a spot in the company’s 2012 New Year’s Eve spread. She’s worn designs from Never Too Spoiled and Tatyana, the latter of which is best known for its exclusive vintage line Betty Boutique on Walnut Street near 16th Street.
Since she was 12, Sawey said she has looked upon modeling not just as an art or a hobby, but something that she could fall in love with. She grew up in rural town in Western Pennsylvania and booked her first shoot with a professional photographer when she was 17.
Sawey enrolled in the Honors Program at Temple in the Fall 2013. Now that she’s in college, Sawey said she models on weekends and frequently attends casting calls for local branches of famous modeling agencies.
Despite her success in the modeling industry thus far, Sawey said she wants to stay on track to pursue a degree in advertising, a field that might allow her more financial stability, she said. Sawey initially considered culinary school, but left shortly after she realized it wasn’t what she wanted to do.
“Modeling is something that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to pursue exclusively,” Sawey said. “I deluded myself with those thoughts while I was at culinary school. Few models make enough to even feed themselves.”
An English minor, Sawey said she tutors athletes at the Donald and Nancy Reznick Academic Support Center. She also participates in the Temple WELL program, through which she helps youth and adults obtain the required literacy and math skills and GED to enter post-secondary education and training.
“I got into advertising because writing is something I’ve loved since I was little,” Sawey said. “[But it]…was another thing I didn’t think I was good enough at so I talked myself out of it. When I got [to Temple] and started to write for my class, it was a rebirth of my passion.”
When Sawey isn’t busy, she said she spends her spare time training for the next Philadelphia marathon. In the future, Sawey plans to dedicate more of her time to modeling. She recently started modeling for Tatyana’s Boutique in Rittenhouse Square.
“You definitely feel [the stress of modeling], but you just have to roll with the punches,” she said.
Lora Strum can bre reached at firstname.lastname@example.org