Natasha Duswalt of Peak Models & Talent

Colorado Springs moms have many aspirations for their children as do all moms.   Given the great education system in Colorado Springs, the outdoor and sports opportunities, the top notch colleges including the Air Force Academy, those aspirations can ve quite varied.  Sometimes, those aspirations may include getting their child(ren) into the entertainment/modeling industry. 

If you are going to get your child into the entertainment/modeling industry, it is a good idea to do your research first and contact someone who really knows the field well and can provide you with sound advice and a good direction.  That person is Natasha Duswalt.  When you read her inspiring story, you will see why she has developed such a passion for helping people succeed in the entertainment and modeling arena

Natasha, please tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, the youngest of three children.  At the age of 10, my mother passed away while on vacation in Germany on my birthday.  I returned to live with an alcoholic father that was not fit to raise a child.

I ended up in foster care for a year until my grandmother could move and take on the role as my guardian.

As I grew up, I realized that in order to succeed, I would have to create a life for myself.  At 17 I was on my own, going to school, working and living in my own apartment.  By age 19 I had opened up a window covering company, but quickly found that I did not enjoy that industry.

Tell us about your business.

At 19 years old I helped out a friend that needed a model for a hair show.  I then found that I was booking modeling jobs back to back.  I continued booking well into my 30s.

At 27, I married Craig Duswalt and we have 3 boys.  In 1997 I opened up Peak Models & TalentPeak Models & Talent is a SAG franchised modeling and talent agency.  We book with many high end clients and our focus is on FIT MODELING, catalogs, print, runway, commercials and commercial print.

In 2010, I wrote Modeling Secrets Revealed – Everything You Need to Know to Become a Successful Working Model.  The book, CD set and action guide can be seen at www.modelingsecretsrevealed.com .  Over the years I noticed that many models were being misdirected in the industry, so I created a product that could help aspiring models and pro models looking to up their game.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

My biggest challenge came in October 2008 when I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma Blood Cancer.  With a 2, 4 and 6 year old, I was stunned and overwhelmed.  The news completely turned my life upside down. 

I quickly turned to UCLA to save my life – I went through 12 chemotherapy treatments and a few surgeries over the course of a year while trying to maintain my company and family life.  My diagnosis came as a shock and I decided not to own the cancer – it was passing through.  I am now completely cancer free for four years.

What has come the easiest for you?

What comes easiest to me is seeing what is possible.  I have always been able to  see where there is an opportunity and create something out of nothing.  As a survivor I believe that my childhood taught me how to take care of myself and how to create what is needed to thrive.

Where do you advertise…or do you?

I advertise via word of mouth and direct calls and mailings to clients.  My company has bloomed over the years due to the fact that we care about our models and clients.  Peak Models & Talent  has been the top FIT MODELING agency including print, catalog, runway and TV commercials.  We represent woment, men and kids for modeling jobs.

What would you like to suggest to a mom who is interested in starting her own business?

For a mom that is starting her own business I would suggest making a defined schedule of when you are working and when you are with your kids.  The lines can be blurred when you work at home, so it is important to have your whole family understand tht when you are working that you cannot be expected to do the laundry so perhaps someone else can chip in and help out.

My second suggestion is to find a way to get some help with your household duties so that you can spend your time with your kids when you are not working.

Lastly, try to work when the kids are at school and be there for them once they are home.

Many, many thanks to Natasha Duswalt of Peak Models & Talent.  Her story is very inspirational and proof positive that moms can achieve pretty much anything they set their mind to.  Please visit the Peak Models & Talent website, the website for her book and her facebook page.

Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

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