Fashion Feature: Karen Patmas

Photo Source: Karen's Portfolio

First welcome to a new feature for the Abstract! The new feature is called "Fashion Feature" and it'll be a place where we talk to those who are part of the fashion world from the models, the stylists, and to the designers! Our first "Fashion Feature" is Karen Patmas! Karen Patmas is an International Model, an actress, and she's also a  Licensed Independent Social Worker (LICSW). So you could say that Karen is a very busy lady!

So here's the interview: 

1. First how did you get into modeling? 
I initially got into modeling when I was about 15 years old. I had a desire to be a model. I attended a local modeling school in the area I lived in at the time, which was extremely helpful for getting a good base. I did some work as a model but it was not a big area for the modeling market. I continued with some photo shoots and promotional work from time to time while my main focus shifted to education and family. After getting my Masters degree, I then continued three more years to get my Clinical licensure. I worked in many areas such as case management, Emergency Room triage for admitting to youth and adult psych units, had my own therapy practice, and helped start a behavioral health office for a large hospital system. I was also Trauma specialized. I worked as a therapist for over 15 years and had always had the passion for being full-time into modeling and acting. I also like to be in the helping part of the industry such as coaching and production and also on the side of being the model and actress. I returned to the modeling, acting, entertainment field about 1 ½ years ago. I have enjoyed being very seasoned in having an education and vast experience at networking and dealing with people throughout my years of work and now applying my confidence and skills to this field has been exciting and fun! I am truly happy pursuing my passion and find that my education has actually helped me in my return to this field.

2. Where is your favorite place to travel and do shoots at? 
This is a tough question because I tend to love all my shoots. Its always fun to do something new or try a new location.  For me it is art and every place and different photographer along with my ability to pose is what creates the art that ends up in print. Sometimes you catch the most stunning shots with the most unlikely background when the lighting is just perfect. If I had to pick just one, would pick the beaches on the Hawaiian islands. I love the ocean!

3. What's your favorite designer to wear? 
. One of the many top picks would be Armani. 

4. I see that you're a model coach for Spokane Ultimate Model, so can you discuss a little bit about that event? 
Spokane Ultimate Model coach is an exciting teaching opportunity for me that I was asked if I would step in to take the coaching role for the 2017 event. We are holding a couple auditions to select models for a show this spring in April 2017. This is an exciting opportunity for many females and males in the area. With an incredible crew of people from the owners of Bozzi media to this year's producer and some incredible judges this year, we have been in the planning for months to make this a very big event for Spokane. Myself as the female model coach and Mark Ritter as the male model coach will be training these models for the show. I am excited to be developing the curriculum and teaching the group. One of my  skills I did as a therapist was many years of developing curriculum and teaching many things including setting goals, building self-esteem and self-improvement. This is very similar. I will be working with these models on the many facets that go into being a model and in the industry. It is much more than a walk down the runway in front of people. It is teaching them professional behavior, how to carry themselves, how to market themselves, self-care, building self-esteem to be able to keep going towards their dreams even in the times it may seem like an uphill battle. Attitude and confidence is very important to continually cultivate. One who may think they have reached perfection with no more need for learning and growth , may not have the attitude that will keep getting them work. My goal in mentoring is not just skills, but to encourage and cultivate a supportive “build each other up” attitude.  It is important to be confident in the beauty they hold inside and out while always willing to accept areas they need to grow and work in.

My goal in my career is to be an inspiration to other women and I am loving all the opportunities that I am getting to be able to achieve this goal. I am enjoying not only getting to develop this curriculum for the Spokane Ultimate model, I plan to use it in various areas in my current opportunities to be a guide to other models.  I am currently working as a talent director for Preview Models. This is a company that gives a vast amount of exposure and help to aspiring models. This helped boost my career when I was chosen as a model for one of their fashion productions. I enjoyed the company and team so much I did not hesitate to join when they approached me to come on board to this  growing production company. The team I work with are among the most supportive people in my life and we often refer to each other as our “Preview family”.   Another project is building a business with a actor/model colleague of mine, James Kwong . I have models reach out to me daily to ask for help and guidance so we decided to start a Model/Talent Management agency.  James and I instantly connected with similar styles of dedication and inspiration to grow a successful company together.  Another recent development is being on an international web platform out  of Australia as a model and promoting my work and business.

5. Do you have any upcoming acting projects (or any past projects) that you would like to discuss? 
Yes, I have been cast into a movie called LA Jogger.  This will be filmed in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and surrounding beach areas. As the Producer and I discussed the script,  I was amazed at the connection it had to my academic degree and therapy experience. I had not submitted to the film, instead the producer reached out to me and then proceeded with meeting, turning in resume and reels, and auditions. The movie has a description on the website you can find at . It is about a therapist that treats abused Beverly Hills housewives. It is a psychological thriller so as expected there is more complexity to the story that makes it an exciting thriller. I am looking forward to working on this film and will start filming toward the end of January.

6. Above all that, you're also a clinical therapist. So as someone who has worked in the field, do you feel that people take mental health serious enough (especially our lawmakers in America and media)? 
I think there is some great support, but still needs improvement regarding taking it serious and stereotyping. There is a vast range is mental health which is from organic and chemical imbalances in the brain to environmental issues that can create struggles that cause people to not function to their fullest. One of my big passions that I am happy to see even some celebrities speaking out about is cyber-bullying. Tough skin is one thing, but undue harassment no matter who you are should not be tolerated. Yes, words do hurt. Continued hits on a persons psyche can cause increase in symptoms or create serious health and other issues to arise such as extreme stress, depression and significant low self-esteem. The reason I chose to point out cyber-bullying is because the use of social media for communicating has increased. People behave in ways on the internet and various social media differently than they would in public.  If they are not “seen physically” then they have less of a conscience about attacking and verbally abusing others and basically no manners.  It is many years of working with women and helping them rebuild their self-esteem and damage that was done by an abuser that makes me so passionate about the cause. Verbal abuse is very real and very damaging. I would like to see more laws regarding cyber-bullying.

7.You're big into charities, so can you discuss some of that charity work?  
This connects to many of my previous questions in this interview. My daughter participated in one of the Purple pageants. This is Regional Pageant that raises money for domestic violence awareness. I will also be involved in helping with the charitable aspects Spokane Ultimate Model. We will be collecting needed items and donations for the Women’s Closet in Spokane.

8. Lastly, what's your advice for inspiring models (or really to anyone who as a goal)?  
My advice is to build your support system. We are human and it is important to have supports around us. It is equally important to stay clear of toxic people who drag you down rather than build you up. Your goals are your goals and no one else’s. You have to live your life and no one lives it for you. I also advise that training and practice is important. Yes, we have natural abilities or lean toward certain careers because we do it well or simply love it, but cultivate that and make yourself shine. Network and learn from others. Getting my Masters degree and continuing education as a therapist did cost money. You will need to realize there are investments in everything you do in both time and money. It takes hard work , investments and dedication.  Learn from every situation in your life – whether it appear good or bad at the time. One closed door, means another will open for you. Don’t dwell on what did not work, rather learn, grow and focus on what you are toward.
And most of all, my biggest advice is not to give up on your dreams and goals. Do what you love and are passionate about. It does not happen overnight, so find what keeps you inspired. For me, it is surrounding myself with positive people and positive affirmation. I absolutely love the people in my life from the friends within the industry and outside the industry, and family. Network often and you find the people that match you and inspire you. Keep them close to your heart.

So I would like to take a moment and thank Karen on taking her time to do this interview.  Don't forget to check out her website here. Also you can follow her both on Twitter and Instagram.

Photo Source: Karen's Portfolio