In conversation 
with Megan Puleri 

by Julieta Miquelarena

When did your career start?

My career started while in high school in New Albany, Ohio. I was the lengthy-goofy introverted-extrovert that parents who worked in fashion would tell “you should be a model.”

My first runway show was for my neighbours boutique Rowe. I was lucky to grow up exactly where I did because it allowed me to work with brands like Victoria’s Secret and Abercrombie, as the headquarters of Limited Brands is in Columbus, Ohio. Something like being in the right place at the right time.

I was the tomboy; soccer and lacrosse were my world. So modeling wasn’t quite on my radar. I was creative, though, in photography, and the arts is where I would say my interest in modeling developed from.

 

How did walking at the VS Fashion show influence your career as a Model?

Walking at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show gave me the confidence to know I could achieve anything I set my mind to. I grew up watching the show with my friends. [So] when I saw Karlie Kloss walk, I knew I needed to do [the same] she was a string bean like me. Her confidence and charisma were infectious.

Achieving not only walking the show myself, which only 152 people can say but closing the Pink segment with Selena Gomez and Taylor Hill by my side was incomparable to anything I had everdone before. I started my career with the one goal I had, and I accomplished it.

What challenges did modeling bring into your life?

The challenges in modeling are real and intense. You spend a lot of time alone in unfamiliar spaces, with unknown people. I experienced my most intense high alone in Tokyo, Japan, after my most intense high.

Modeling is not the glamour people tend to believe it is. It was what I needed, though. I developed a tough skin by hearing what sometimes felt like constant rejection. From being walked on, I became assertive and developed self-worth. Through determination, observation, and study, I was able to build a stable life for myself in New York City, traveling the world for a rollercoaster of a career.

I never wanted routine or predictable. I felt guided that every low I experienced throughout this career was necessary for me to experience the next high. I could write a book about modeling challenges, yet I am happy I experienced them because they taught me more about myself.

 

Social media has shown in the last years an explosion of models revealing their struggles with the “necessity” of following and maintaining the specific standards that modeling “requires.”

What is your experience with it? How do you reach your balance?

I have been aware of Mental Health from a very young age. My experience personally is not one I have ever written about. I have dealt with anxiety and depression my entire life. To be blunt, I lost love at 14 years old to suicide. Anxiety and depression have brought me to some scary places.

I have been on antidepressants most of my life; I decided three years ago I wanted to try adifferent approach. It has been difficult trying to get off of them, to say the least. Once your brain is physically dependent on a pill, the withdrawal from having less in your system is notfun. It is a slow and draining process, but I am taking it in strides as I know it will be rewarding.

I find my balance in my support system. My family and friends. I am lucky to have my partner and puppy at home. My pup Freddie recently changed my world. I cook food and dive into myartwork. I take baths, go on hikes, read and write… I make new friends from time to time.

I’ve made some changes recently and brought on new management [representing me]. I’m excited about the fresh opportunities that lie ahead. Now that I am spending more time in Los Angeles, I am exploring the acting world, taking my art and photography to the next level, and expanding my list of loyal clients.

Ultimately, manifesting a life full of love and happiness, surrounded by good food and good people.

Follow Megan Puleri on Instagram.

This story was originally published in November 2021 at DLAREZMAG