Be kind! A social influencer is, by nature, a role model. Be the person that the younger generation can look up to and imitate. I try to do ten or twenty genuinely sincere nice comments per day on my Instagram account. I keep it real because I want to be recognized as credible. I make time to respond appreciatively to the kind comments that people leave on my accounts. Be kind — you never know whose life you might change.
As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Paityn Jea Madich, a 14-year-old model, dancer, and influencer. Paityn has a delightfully silly side and is known for her easy laugh and winsome smile. She loves shoes, pizza, Billie Eilish, and all things fashion.
In 2017, she signed with Niya Model Management and began traveling internationally for a variety of modeling opportunities. Paityn enjoys runway work and has participated in the prominent New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto Fashion Weeks. Paityn also loves commercial, print, and editorial modeling, and has relished working with a number of notable photographers.
Along with more than a decade of competitive dance and cheerleading, Paityn’s hobbies include art, yoga, rock climbing, archery, paddle-boarding, swimming, snow skiing, and collecting shoes. She recently began to transition her blog into a review of shoes and clothing trends. To say Paityn stays busy is an understatement, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. You can follow her journey on Instagram @paitynjea.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I am an only child of an only child, so I have the benefit of a ton of attention and family support. I was born in Arizona where I began dance and cheerleading training at the age of two. When my parents decided to relocate to a smaller city, their main concern was what the area would have to offer me in the way of education, dance and cheerleading opportunities, and extra-curricular activities such as snow skiing and water sports. In our seven years in Idaho, I have taken advantage of these opportunities and more.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
About five years ago, my parents set up an Instagram account to share my cheerleading experiences with family, friends, and the competitive cheer world. A well-known athletic apparel company noticed me online and asked me to represent their brand. It was like an explosion; in a matter of months, I was receiving messages and emails almost daily from companies seeking models, influencers, and reps for everything from clothes to makeup, bags, athletic equipment, school supplies, and more. Initially, I accepted a lot of offers but quickly learned to be more selective. My love for fashion has taken me almost exclusively into representing only clothing and shoes. I love shoes. I really love shoes.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Wow! The first thing that comes to mind was a complete hair disaster at Toronto Fashion Week. The designer wanted all of the runway models to have very teased, very full hair. My hairdresser couldn’t get my long, naturally straight, blonde hair to stand out so she kept teasing and spraying and teasing and spraying. I mean seriously, actual birds could have taken up residence in my hair. After the runway show, it became readily apparent that no amount of brushing was going to get the tangles out. We worked on it all night and a hair solon worked on it most of the next day. Ultimately, I had to have my hair cut and yes, my mom cried.
Can you share a story about a mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
In the beginning, I was super excited to receive free t-shirts, toys, school supplies, makeup, and just about anything else in exchange for a picture and a tag on my social media accounts. I didn’t even think about what it was costing me in time and expenses to get pictures made to promote these products. Shortly after I signed with my agency, a more experienced model told me not to sell myself short, and to remember that I’m only as valuable as I hold myself out to be. I realized right then that I needed to make sure that I was paid a fair wage for my work; if my only compensation was a free t-shirt, I was essentially getting paid 10 dollars or 15 dollars for an ad that took me several hours to create. Now, I don’t sell myself short, and I don’t work for free.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
In the past year, I took over my social media accounts and began writing my own blog. In keeping with my passion for shoes, I am transitioning my blog into a review of fashion trends and … SHOES! I love writing articles for the blog and hope eventually readers will seek out the articles for both the informative and entertainment value. But, even more fun than the blog, is creating vlogs. I recently started a YouTube channel and I am really excited to be learning filming, video editing, and everything that goes into creating my own vlogs.
Most young people your age don't have to balance work and school. Can you tell us how you manage to balance your schoolwork and travels for modeling opportunities?
My days start early, usually, around 5:30 am. I brush my teeth, eat a bowl of cereal, throw on the outfit that was laid out the night before, and leave for school in the dark (typically swinging by Dutch Bros on the way for a caffeine boost). Laying clothes out in advance is key! I am in dance classes several nights a week so I sometimes use my lunch hour to get ahead on homework assignments or study for exams. I attend a specialized arts academy where I am a dance major, and I’ve been super lucky that my school is completely supportive of my career and the time that it takes me away from school. They allow me to take a study hall a few days a week, and I use that extra time to make up from work absences or prepare for trips; the study hall is also especially helpful on those days that I go straight from school to competitive dance team practices and don’t get home until after 9 pm. I try to coordinate most of my traveling over a weekend so I only miss a day or two or school. On most trips, I do homework in the airport, on the plane, or while waiting around on set. Local photoshoots are typically scheduled on Wednesdays or Saturdays. Planning ahead and organizing are essential. I try to never leave homework, packing, or anything else to the last minute.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Wow, that’s a tough one. I am thankful for so many people who have come and gone during my lifetime. Some didn’t even know they were helping me, but I am thankful for the contributions they made. Teachers, coaches, dance instructors, family, and friends have all made an impact on me, but most of all I am grateful for all the love and support from my parents. Everyone says their parents are the best, but mine really is. An example that comes to mind is the year my mother asked for a good camera for Christmas. She’ll tell you that she’s not creative, and she doesn’t have a passion for photography, but she spent hours and hours learning how to work that camera and all the software needed to make good pictures for my social medial. She did that for me. Yeah, I’m super grateful for my parents.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s jump to the main part of our interview. What are your 5 things I wish someone told me when I first started and why.
Ok, first: Social media numbers are not necessarily a measure of a person’s success. I don’t have big numbers, but I have genuine accounts, and that makes me feel good about myself. Be real and be honest.
Second: Don’t procrastinate! Don’t ever, ever procrastinate. I never know what is going to happen tomorrow that might throw a kink in my plans to pack or study for a test. Get it done now, and maybe tomorrow there will be time to relax. Even something small like a last-minute movie date or an unexpected pool party can throw plans out of kilter (or might have to be missed altogether because homework isn’t finished). Don’t procrastinate.
Third: Squeeze in a few minutes every single day to breathe, de-stress and be good to yourself. I began practicing yoga a couple of years ago to help with my flexibility and balance in cheer and dance. I continue to practice yoga to reduce stress and improve my concentration. I especially love doing yoga outside in pretty weather; it is so peaceful.
Fourth: Be yourself! This is particularly important when presenting yourself on social media. I try to let my personality come through in my pictures and captions. I allow people to see my qualities and skills along with my limitations. I let them know I am shoe-obsessed and a pizza freak. These are relatable characteristics.
Fifth: Be kind! A social influencer is, by nature, a role model. Be the person that the younger generation can look up to and imitate. I try to do ten or twenty genuinely sincere nice comments per day on my Instagram account. I keep it real because I want to be recognized as credible. I make time to respond appreciatively to the kind comments that people leave on my accounts. Be kind — you never know whose life you might change.
You are a person of enormous influence. How do you think you can use social media as a platform to be a positive influence to your fans, and for society at large?
I think I already touched on this; my goal is to always be kind, helpful, and encouraging. I also try to be a positive influence by using my modeling experience and my social media platforms to support various philanthropic events and charities as an ambassador for such companies as Pura Vida, Love Your Melon, and IzzyBe Clothing. I also support and promote a variety of cancer awareness programs.
If you had the ability to choose to work on any TV show or film, or work alongside any co-star, or with any director, what or who would that be, and why? You never know who might see this article, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would love love love to appear in a Brat film. Brat TV is a digital media network featuring teenage programming on YouTube. I wouldn’t be picky about which stars or co-stars I might work with; Annie LeBlanc, Mackenzie Ziegler, Grant Knoche and so many more! My goal is to someday work in digital media advertising, and an opportunity to work on a Rob Fishman and/or Darren Lachtman project would be a life-changing experience.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Famous Birthdays: https://www.famousbirthdays.com/people/paityn-madich.html
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!