Charming Cara is an aspiring actress and model who also enjoys working out to maintain her figure. She gardens in her spare time and enjoys doing yoga.

“People have these weird ideas about what it means to be a model,” she explains. “Like, they think it’s all about dressing up in fancy clothes and going to fancy locations and being treated like a queen. Like the people who work with you are just waiting on you hand and foot while you stand around glamorously looking devastating in a series of really nice outfits. I suppose that’s one way to look at it. The reality of modeling, though, is that it’s actually a lot of work. For one thing, you have to work all the time if you really want to make money. That means, allowing for travel time in between shoots, and meeting with agents, and arranging for the publications or trying to sell them around, you’ve got to be at it pretty much full time. You don’t get a break and you have to set a very grueling pace.”

Cara continues, “While you’re keeping up that pace, just kind of grinding from shoot to shoot, you’ve got to look out for your body and your physical well-being all the time. You can’t afford to get a sunburn, or do something foolish with your hair, or have something happen to your skin. You’ve got to watch your wait and make sure you don’t bloat up. You can’t afford to spend the night drinking and having fun and then show up red eyed with bags under your eyes when you go to a shoot the next day. It’s really pretty demanding, when the one job you have is looking sexy and good and you have to be able to do that at a moment’s notice. There are times when, with makeup, a model’s good looks are more a work of art than a work of nature, as the old saying goes.”

There is also the matter of the weather, Cara explains. “Catalog and other shoots are done out of season so that when the publications hit, they’re ready to go as the season starts,” she says. “That means that during the freezing cold months you’re dressing in string bikinis and standing on sunny beaches where everything looks great, but it’s still really, really cold. You’ve got to be able to stand there, smile, and pretend the cold temperatures aren’t getting to you. Then you’ve got to be able to do the same thing for winter shoots, except now you’re in the hot weather and you’re wearing winter clothes and jackets and trying not to look like you’re boiling alive. Through it all you’ve got to look sexy and like you’re having the time of your life. Sometimes I think it’s more acting than modeling, if only because of the face you’re trying to put forward.”

Gardening is how Cara finds her refuge from the workaday world. “I love anything that gets me closer to nature,” she says. “I think we spend so much time in our society surrounded by concrete, steel, and other things that isolate us from nature. We’re just these creatures of sanitized environments now. Nothing around us is natural. Kids today have a fit if there’s so much as a mosquito in the car where they watch their videos and listen to their MP3 players. I just don’t see how anyone can live like that, completely disconnected from the Earth. So I like to get out and garden. I like to get my fingers into the soil and just enjoy myself. I want to be rooted to the Earth whenever I can be. It’s a way of reconnecting to my roots.”

Cara goes on, “When you think about it, growing living things is one of the most amazing pastimes you can have. You put this seed in the dirt, you water it, you tend to it, and a little while later, this amazing living thing sprouts and grows. It’s so special and it’s like nothing else on Earth. It’s a gift to see life growing from lifelessness. Being able to appreciate that is what makes us human.”