Naomi Baker said she grew up watching Disney Channel television show “That’s So Raven” and dreaming of becoming an actor, singer and model.
“I used to love Disney and always wanted to be on television like Raven. Really, acting and singing was my passion, but modeling came with it,” Baker, a fourth-year in journalism, said.
Now, Baker can be seen modeling in high-profile ads for major brands. Her latest venture has found her on the front page of Foot Locker’s website, modeling Nike athletic apparel.
“I was really excited. I’ve shot for Finish Line and JD Sports, so I’m used to athletic brands,” Baker said. “It was really cool. The whole team was young, and it was a nice, chill day.”
Baker said she participated in fashion shows throughout her childhood, starting at age 5, which led her to sign to LModelz in 2016 — a modeling agency in Indianapolis that helps build aspiring models’ portfolios and sends them to companies in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. She said she traveled to Indianapolis when she was booked for a job, because it isn’t far from where she grew up in Dayton, Ohio.
Leslie Turner, owner and agency director of LModelz, said the modeling agency is small, with around 90 models, ages 14 to 37. She said once the models develop all of the skills needed — mainly comfort in front of the camera — she works towards getting them national and international jobs.
“Naomi has grown a lot from day one. She came in the door with natural skills that just needed to be polished,” Turner said. “She’s a perfect fit. She had the business skills in place and the mindset.”
Baker said Option1, a modeling agency in Chicago, reached out to LModelz in 2017 after seeing photos of her on social media. She said she signed with Option1 and started receiving modeling jobs for brands such as Kohls, Von Maur, Stage Stores, Sears and Ivory Ella. Baker said these bookings helped her build her clientele.
She added that within the past year, she has worked with JD Sports, JCPenney and ASOS in London.
“Getting to go to London was my favorite moment because it’s every model’s dream to book an international client, and for it to be a brand like ASOS, it gave me validation that this can be a career,” Baker said.
Baker said she struggles to balance being a full-time student and modeling.
“School has been my biggest challenge while modeling because I like to get A’s. I was valedictorian in high school, so I try to stay on it,” Baker said. “I have to try to decide whether I’ll take a job or not based on what I have going on at school.”
Baker said that Tuesday, she will be modeling for East Bay — a partner of Foot Locker and an American supplier of athletic footwear, apparel and sports equipment.
“Naomi has had longevity in the business because she gets it. The clients don’t have to teach her or show her what to do. She knows how to do the job for which they’re paying her for,” Turner said.
Baker said she plans to continue her modeling career after graduation.