Name: Lex Warnick
Claim to Fame: Warnick is a former winner of the Bailey Agency modeling search. She has also appeared in ads for Groupon and Comcast.
When Lex Warnick contorts herself to mold into a camera frame she’s familiar with what its owner is seeking. “I initially went to college for photography,” she told HelloBeautiful. She started modeling when her classmates at “Columbia College Chicago and Harrington College of Design,” began looking to one another to serve as subjects for their assignments. “Every time it was like, ‘Hey, I need you to do this project for me. Can you stand-in? Can you model?”
“I really loved the art and the expression of it,” she continued. “I ended up building a love for modeling.” Soon she was looking to find a way to explore that passion further. “ I was like, you know what? I can do this. You know what? Let me give this a try. So I went to an open call at Lily’s talent agency, which is here, located in Chicago, Illinois.”
Her education gave her an advantage at open calls. “It’s really great to have the aspects of being a photographer as well as being a model,” she revealed. She was able to gain the resources she needed for her portfolio through her school. “We had access to printers, cameras, studios,” she explained. “At that open call, I got signed on the spot, from there, my career took off.”
Warnick approached the auditions she was sent on with silent resolve. “Going to these go-sees and going to these castings, you never know what they’re looking for,” she said. “I never felt nervous. I always felt like, you know, if they like me, they’re going to pick me.” She was well liked. Warknick appeared in ads for Comcast, Groupon, and other major companies. “I started getting a lot more beauty campaigns for Groupon,” she said. “I did a lot of their campaigns for beauty, cosmetics, facials.” She was featured in editorial spreads for Elegant, Malvie, and Shuba magazines.
She was also featured in Nike and Puma presentations in a major Chicago fashion show called Surround Sound. She worked with a photographer and runway coach named Blake Martin to prepare. “I actually took a chance to start runway through him,” she said. “He really helped me captivate what runway was all about.”
Warnick was so encouraged by her bookings that she opted to “take a step back,” from photography but she continued working the day job that she used to finance her career. She fortified herself against the inevitable lean times with it. “There’s a dry spell that every model goes through,” she said.
She established the signature look would eventually snag her major exposure and the thousand dollar grand prize while working to “redefine,” herself after parting ways with her first agency. “I hate when people live in the stereotypical world where we’re like, ‘Okay, we need hair down to our butts. We need this to feel beautiful. I was like, you know what, I’m going to take it up a notch. I’m going to cut off all my hair.” The choice helped her stand out but Warnick still didn’t think her choice would lead to her being chosen as the winner of the Bailey Agency’s Instagram Model Search seeking fresh faces. “It happened so fast,” she said. “Just being attached to the Cynthia Bailey brand. It was a real blessing.”
She worried no one would want to book her with a “big old scar in front of my leg.” She obtained the scar during an incident at her day job at “a major airline.”
Her victory helped her bounce back from ”she worried would sully her chances of getting to the next level. “At the time I won, I just got into an accident at work and I split my leg wide open,” she revealed. The accident left her one credit short on her CV. “I was supposed to walk in a show in New York,” she said. “So at this time my spirits are a little broken.” She worked at “coming back with full force,” even posing for a photoshoot as she recuperated. “I found myself in this industry,” she said. “This is me. This is where I feel amazing. This is where I feel content. This is my comfort zone.”
The experience inspired her to use the social media presence she gained to speak for those with so-called imperfections. She showed off what some might consider shortcomings and encouraged others to talk about their struggles as well. Warnick hopes to expand from editorial publications into mainstream print soon so she can spread her message further.
“I love the fact that we’re starting to show girls, darker skinned girls,” she said. “Girls that look like me.” When she encounters ads that represent the change she is trying to contribute to she is sure to tell her daughter, “That could be us on that billboard. That could be us in that magazine.”