Name: Wellington Bullings
Claim to Fame: The model and prestigious musician flashed her pearly whites in an Olay commercial.
The beauty that landed Wellington Bullings in an Olay commercial is a family birthright. “So both of my parents were models,” Bullings told HelloBeautiful.
“My father in particular was a model for about seven years and he’s the one who kind of encouraged me to try it out,” she said.
“My mom modeled for Aveda when she was a lot younger, she didn’t really get into it as much as my dad did. My dad actually grew up in Jamaica and when he came to the States, he was basically scouted by a modeling agency. He had dreams of opening up his own restaurant because he was a chef and he modeled so that he could start his own restaurant business.”
The singer and model initially resisted following in her father’s footsteps. “I was kind of a shy girl and I also was interested in so many different things. I love to sing. I loved acting. I was an artist and something about the modeling world seemed a little superficial to me,” she said.
The culture at the first agency she met with did little to change her mind.
“They basically wanted me, but I wasn’t interested at the time. They wanted me to change my gap ‘cause I have a gap in between my teeth and I just didn’t want to do that,” said Bullings.
Years later the modeling industry would decide that gapped teeth were the height of height fashion, but at the time they were grounds to insult a beautiful young girl right to her face.
“I’ve always felt good about my gap and I think there was that self-assurance pretty early on about myself and not changing who I was for anybody,” she said.
“When I first started modeling I wasn’t as confident as I am now and I am glad that I did start a little bit later because I, I feel like if I had started at a really young age, it wouldn’t have been good for me because I wasn’t fully confident in who I was and in my body,” she continued.
Instead of tweaking her appearance so she could sit in front of a camera she spent her time spilling her thoughts into a “little black recorder.”
“I think it was my mom who bought it for me. I started writing music at the age of nine years old and I didn’t know how to necessarily read music, but I would just sing a melody and some lyrics. I would spend every day just writing songs and I discovered my voice that I had a voice through writing. And I just found myself singing all the time. And then finally I started taking some voice lessons when I was in high school.”
She was understandably reluctant to meet with another company after such a dismal introduction but later she agreed to give it a second try. This time she learned there was more to the world than she thought.
“Then at about like 19 or 20, I started to really get into it and I signed with Donna Baldwin agency in Denver,” she continued.
“I just had a good feeling about it and it seemed like the right decision,” she added. “The first job that I got, I was working with a lot of really nice people who didn’t, weren’t interested in changing me at all. They wanted me to be comfortable on set and it was very easy flowing and it just felt really good.I thought that the industry was going to be super toxic and I was going to experience a lot of characters that would be constantly criticizing me and trying to change me. But it was the complete opposite.”
She continued to freelance model as she studied music at the renowned Berklee College of Music. The work presented a flexible method of earning an income that suited her “intense course load.”
“It was, you know, solely a music school and you know, it wasn’t like a typical college where, I dunno, you have like five or six classes. We had like nine, eight or nine classes plus you have to practice. And it was just a lot and I, but I really enjoyed it and I learned a lot.”
Bullings loved that she was able to bring her entire self to set, no matter where she was working.
“The journey was me realizing that there are so many different types of modeling. I think a lot of people think of modeling as this very glamorous, like high fashion world. And there are many different avenues that you can go through in that world. And, you know, living in Colorado I was experiencing more like lifestyle types of types of shoots.”
Unlike runway modeling, where women are often expected to all meet unrealistic body standards, lifestyle modeling often presents opportunities to celebrate the uniqueness of the models.
She participated in “shoots that were really centered around me being myself and not having to really change much about my appearance.”
“That felt really good,” she said. “The moment I got into it, I realized that I loved it and I loved finding out that it was a real art. And I didn’t think that it was going to be like that.”
Modeling helped Bullings hone a skill set that she would grow to value as a performer.
“Modeling in general isn’t that easy. Like to a lot of people I think it seems like you’re beautiful or you’re not and you’re basically just posing for the camera, but there’s so much more to it. Like how to pose so that you look relaxed in your body. So much of it is about body awareness and that’s the one thing that I started to get more comfortable with and started developing that skill as a model.”
She is using her music to inspire others to use what they have to go after their dreams the way she and her father have used modeling.
“My new single, ‘Because I Want To’ was just released two weeks ago. And it’s about really going for what you want in life and trusting yourself in the process and creating the life that you really want. And the song means a lot to me because I feel like it’s very parallel to my life right now where I’m really trying to go for my dreams.”
Bullings is willing to adapt her method of pursuing her dream to today’s reality. She acknowledged how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered her plans for promoting her work.
“A lot of my income comes from live performances, both in the acting modeling field as well as the music field. It has changed drastically for me and financially I have definitely felt the hit. I think that because things are changing so fast as an artist, I have to stay alert and acknowledge how things are changing and kind of follow certain trends that come up in terms of live performances online and different ways that I can reach people through the internet.”
Just as she was willing to alter her thoughts on modeling she’s willing to change her approach to music.
“It’s been a process that I’ve had to adjust to. But I think that since a lot of people are at home and are listening to a lot of music, we do have that to our advantage as well. I think there’s still hope for us.”