Cassandra Van Zeyl has been a passionate primary school teacher for six years, however, she has been working with children for more than fourteen years. She has been a swimming instructor, before and after school care coordinator, and an integration aid. She got her foot in the modelling industry after being scouted by BGM models through Facebook. After that, the rest you can say is history. StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Cassandra and here’s what went down:
How were you actually ‘discovered’? Chance encounter on the street? Audition?
I was scouted by BGM models through Facebook and had a successful interview at a prestigious hotel in Melbourne. I was confident walking into this interview because I knew that BGM represented curvaceous women. I felt very empowered and accepted in this type of environment. My mantra has always been his should be highlighted and not hidden.
What are your favourite down time activities?
Swimming at the local pool.
Hosting fundraising cocktail events/Gala Balls
Getting involved in local community events
Competing in pageants in Australia ( eg. Miss World Australia / Miss Australia Pageants).
How did you start with modelling?
My beautiful mother was extremely well known in the modelling world and used to model for Vivian’s. I couldn’t believe it when BGM merged with Vivian’s. It was such a coincidence. I started modelling because I knew I had unique energy and a confident personality. I felt that I could offer the modelling world a fresh perspective and as a curvy modelling ambassador, I wanted to remind all woman that no matter what your size, you can do what you put your mind to. My mother was my inspiration and now I help other women feel comfortable and happy in the skin they’re in. My mother was a size eight and I’m a size twelve and whether you are a smaller or bigger size, you have the same opportunity to succeed. Size does not determine your success.
What do you like most about the modelling industry?
I love the forever friendships you form and the connections you make through modelling opportunities. It’s such a diverse industry and I am absolutely in love with fashion and how modelling can help you express your emotions in ways you didn’t think you could. It’s such a powerful industry and you can complexly immerse yourself in this world and the incredible amount of confidence that comes from putting yourself out there and presenting multiple challenges is mind-blowing. I surprise myself daily when put under pressure to perform and I think failure is a big part of success.
The downside to being a model?
At times social media can portray the perfect body type and this can have a dramatically negative impact on mental health. There shouldn’t be the ‘perfect’ body type. There are just simply different body types. Why should we feel pressure to conform? You create your own reality and create your own idea of perfection. Perfection and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What has been the most memorable experience of your life as a model so far?
My very first modelling shoot was absolutely fantastic and I remember the photographer saying you should be modelling as a cover girl for ‘forever new. I often hear this said a lot. I have been asked multiple times about being at Home and Away. This is an opportunity in the future that I look forward to pursuing.
I’m guessing you’ve been in the industry for a few years now, what has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned. This can be about the industry or about yourself. Or both!
Don’t compare yourself to anyone! Love yourself and embrace what makes you different because this is how you shine.
Working in an industry whose only emphasis is on the outside characteristics of a person, how have you stayed grounded?
My first priority has been and will always be my family. I love my core values and I wouldn’t compromise these to fit anybody’s expectations.
Is your family supportive of your career?
My mother is extremely proud of all my achievements. I have a very supportive family and feel very blessed.
What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.
I was thinking of opening my own business as a youth mentor or remain in the Department of Education. I look forward to seeing what my future holds. I will always be working with children though. There may be an opportunity for me to enter into news reporting.
The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:
1. Last good movie I’ve seen: Unhinged.
2. What do you consider beautiful and why? The ocean – Calms the soul.
3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Travel to Europe.
4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d be…” Scuba diving with sharks.
5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? Being a very forgiving person.