I spoke to Shannen De La Motte, a lawyer based in Australia who has a successful career as an in-house financial services lawyer and as a model.
I was so thrilled when she agreed to share her story with me because women like Shannen show us how it is possible to have a successful, fulfilling career whilst also having side hustles or passions and inspire others.
Photo courtesy of Shannen De La Motte
1. Can you tell us about yourself and career journey?
I live in Melbourne, Australia and I finished my Bachelor of Law/Arts in 2016. I was then admitted to practice as a lawyer in 2017. For my Arts degree I majored in legal studies as I was unsure of what I wanted to do outside of the legal field. In hindsight, I would have completed a Law/Commerce or Law/Finance degree as I enjoy the intersection of legal and business issues, which is why I enjoy my current role as an in-house lawyer in the financial services sector!
In relation to modelling, I was never the standard size 6-8 that was splashed all over the media so I never considered it an option. Luckily times have changed! In 2020 I was scouted by a mother agency and I signed to an agency shortly after as a curve model.
Two years later I am still working with the same agencies and have not looked back. Lately I have been doing a lot of ‘fitting modelling’ projects for curve clothing brands and brands looking to extend their size range. I am effectively a ‘live mannequin’ where I model garments for the designers to see what amendments could be made to ensure they are functional and appeal to the target demographic. Occasionally I will also do campaign and e- commerce shoots for clothing brands which is also a lot of fun!
2.Does your modelling career impact your legal career? Did you face any obstacles in pursuing both?
I find it easy to keep the two spheres separate. Initially I was nervous to discuss it much in the workplace but I realised that a lot of my colleagues (legal and non-legal) found it interesting and were very supportive.
So many lawyers have interesting passions, creative outlets and side hustles (such as baking, podcasting etc.) and I don’t see modelling as anything different. People are multifaceted and I do not see any issues with embracing this!
3. Do you feel that there are transferable skills that you can draw on from both?
Definitely! The most obvious one would be confidence. A great way to build confidence is to get outside of your comfort zone and modelling has definitely helped me to do that.
As a model you expected to be confident in front of a camera in order to sell the brand. In the legal profession you are required to confidently communicate your advices to the business unit. In negotiations you need to confidentially put forward your non- negotiables to the other party. It is all a learning process but placing yourself in situations that take you outside of your comfort zone can accelerate this process.
4. Do you think both the modelling and legal industry are doing enough to tackle diversity?
There are a lot of individuals and organizations speaking up about increasing diversity in both professions which is great. Change takes time, it is a slow process but I have seen both industries become more inclusive over the last few years.
5. What advice would you give to anyone interested in pursuing modelling alongside law or another profession?
Obviously make sure any creative outlets/side hustles are cleared with your main employer for any conflicts of interest! If all clear and you can manage your time, then go for it! Covid has showed us how unpredictable (and short) life can be.
I get so excited when I hear about my friend’s side hustles and I want to see more of it! If you have a passion or skill that you love to do then do it. It demonstrates that you can step outside of your comfort zone, time manage, take risks and think creatively. If you are profiting from it, chances are you are also developing your business acumen. Plus your creative endeavour can differentiate you and be a great talking point at professional networking events!