Roarie Yum – The Unknown Path

Missing her flight back to the U.S., Roarie opted to remain in Europe and go down the unknown path. Going down that path galvanized Roarie’s modeling career. Check out her story below. 

Say hello to Roarie:

“I’m young once, let me have bad ass pictures to remember it.”

Where are you from?  Where have you been?

Born in Florida, currently home free. The list is pretty lengthy for places I’ve been. I started backpacking three years ago and have been to Asia, Europe, Australia, India, South America, Africa, New Zealand and even Russia briefly.

What’s your favorite place in the world?

I’m in the honeymoon phase with every city I visit. I typically don’t stay long enough to grow tired of it.

What’s on your “bucket list” of ideas to create?

Ideas are endless, though I’m more of a photo collaborator. I study a photographer’s style and try to fit myself inside of their world. I want to create something that is better than just either of us alone. As the French say – chacun apporte sa pierre à l’édifice.

You’re renowned as an androgynous beauty – have you always embraced your androgynous looks?

I’ve always been more on the tom-boyish side, the jeans and a t-shirt sort of girl. Though part of my style is for safety reasons. Traveling solo as a female is easier when I appear to be a man.

Photo by John Ng

You’re currently a freelancer – what factors went into that decision versus going to an agency?

When I first got started, I was under the impression the only way to make a career out of modeling was to be signed with an agency. So I got signed. Ultimately, it wasn’t for me and ended up making me miserable. One of the biggest reasons I freelance is because of my ability to hand pick the shoots I take. I don’t have to take jobs just for the paycheck, and I’m far happier in the long run.

Tell us about your career.  How did you get into it?

My best friend worked at an agency when we were in school. When she told me about modeling, I scoffed at the idea of it. Wearing makeup and playing dress up seemed absurd to me. I was more interested in climbing trees and going on adventures. A few years later, a local photographer reached out to me about shooting. The shoot went ok, but I wasn’t sold on the idea of modeling. Through that photographer, I met my mentor and first, real creative partner. He showed me photographers I’d never heard of, discussed nudity in art, and European fashion nudity. I was intrigued by these strong women who appeared so in control of themselves and their appearance.

Photo by Bastien Vaucher

Modeling is very competitive.  How do you stand out?

As a freelance model, I don’t feel that sort of pressure as much. Then again, I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum and never minded what other’s were doing. I spend more of my energy creating things that make me happy rather than comparing myself.

What do you like most about modeling?

Being able to see myself through other’s eyes.

What’s a deal breaker for you when deciding to do a shoot?

I have to like the photographer’s work. I’ve been living a low budget, minimalist lifestyle for the last few years, as a small price to pay for doing what makes me creatively happy. Also, communication is a huge factor. Please be prompt in responding, have all the details sorted in writing, and able to provide references.

Photo by Ryan Myers

What do you want people to remember about you after a shoot?

I’m hoping it’s my passion and lust for life. If not, I’ll settle for my ability to make myself laugh and also fall over.

What’s one of your biggest fears?

Living a life with regret. I’d rather have tried and failed than worry about the “what ifs.”

Who do you want to give a shoutout to?

To everyone who has worked with me, thank you for saying yes. This has been a long journey, and I am so grateful to each of you for the time you’ve invested and the work we have created. I’m even happier when there’s a second or third time!

Biggest struggles in life currently, while growing up, and ones you’ve overcome?

Biggest struggle in life currently – never having enough time. There is so much of the world out there and only so many waking hours!

While growing up – never fitting in. Though it works for me now.

Struggles I’ve overcome – meeting normal people at hostels or couch surfing and explaining to them what I do for a living is always interesting conversation.

What is the most life-changing event that you’ve experienced?

Missing my flight back to the US – that’s what started this whole adventure. In that moment, I really had to decide to go into the unknown and stay in Europe, fight to make it work, or pay an exorbitant amount of money to go back to the US where I knew I could find work and speak the same language. I chose the unknown.

What’s your greatest achievement, and how has it shaped you?

Every time someone books me a second time, shares a kind word about my work, or tells me I inspire them, it reminds me that sticking to my guns about what I believe and doing it my way was worth all the sacrifice in the end.

For anyone that wants to get in touch with Roarie, here’s some contact information:


Facebook: Profile

Instagram: @roarie_yum

Tumblr: Page

MM: Profile

Roarie, thanks for taking the time to share your story with us! 🙂

If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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