Dec. 10, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— On a typical day at Illinois Wesleyan, one might find a theatre student like Priscilla Moy, acting major Class of 2015, hanging out on the Dugout’s couches near the Coffee Shoppe, coming out of McPherson Theatre after collaborating on a project in the Costume Shop, or headed across the Eckley Quadrangle on a Thursday evening to Actor’s Rep Class, where she will perform monologues from her portfolio and support her fellow actors.
However, there’s nothing typical about an encounter with Moy – the fashion statements that she models each day have spoken loud enough to attract the attention of photographers in association with KEEL, an international fashion magazine. The publication has featured the young model in an editorial story and on the cover of their most recent issue (purchase required).
As a young girl growing up within the Chicago city limits in Brighton Park, Ill., Moy attended school near her grandmother’s home in Chinatown, which limited her fashion choices with its regulatory uniforms. When her family moved to the suburbs, Moy experienced a struggle similar to that of many middle-school students. As a girl of that age, fitting in meant wearing pieces from expensive, label-heavy clothiers like Abercrombie and Fitch or Hollister Co. Once she realized she was only wearing these labels because everyone else was, Moy decided to take things up a notch. In her sophomore year of high school, Moy started dressing head to toe in couture, a lifestyle choice that has helped her to find her niche.
“I finally just started wearing what I liked,” said Moy. “In my spare time, I liked dressing up and being in front of the camera in my own little world. I started to look around at all of the different parts of art that I liked, and when I saw models in magazines, I realized that I wanted to be that girl. I also knew that I wanted to pursue a career in acting.”
During high school, she wanted to attend a conservatory to study acting. However, at the recruiting arena of the Illinois Theatre Festival, IWU theatre arts Professor Tom Quinn introduced Moy to the opportunities that an Illinois Wesleyan liberal arts education has to offer. After her campus visit and acceptance to the University, Moy decided that IWU was the place she wanted to be.
Ultimately, because of the flexible programs IWU offers and the versatility the theatre arts staff promotes, Moy has been able to pursue an independent modeling career in addition to her rigorous studies.
She began by talking to photographers who worked closer to her home and in Peoria as well to negotiate freelance photo shoots, enhancing her portfolio. From those photos, her name became better known amongst photographers from Chicago, and many of them started sending her inquiries about working together.
Throughout the summer of 2013, Moy worked with Moments by A (Adrienne Asbell) Photography, and Asbell pitched Moy an opportunity to work with KEEL MAGAZINE. They wanted to feature her in an editorial shoot, which took place locally at The Chateau Hotel and Conference Center in Bloomington. She was both excited and grateful, not really knowing what to expect.
“Working on location is like being put in the moment of a scene when you’re working as an actor,” said Moy. “You can breathe in the essence of each environment you shoot in, and that can translate through the photos. In studio work, you really just have to embody your confidence.”
When she learned that KEEL also wanted to interview her for a story, she knew that something special was about to happen.
“I was only slowly getting the fact that I was going to be featured in a magazine – I had no idea they would put me on the cover until I saw the copy,” said Moy.
Despite her early accomplishments, Moy acknowledges that she was no stranger to the difficult process of convincing close family members of the benefits and reality of a career in the fine arts. Overall, she feels that she has been blessed with generous support, especially from her mother.
“My family never pushed me in any direction I didn’t want to go,” said Moy. “It was just difficult for them to understand what I wanted. Now after I’ve gone through some of initial struggles, they have started to see the bigger picture of what I want for my future.”
Going forward, Moy said she would like to continue to pursue both of her potential career tracks. Though she feels more confident in modeling now that she has a full portfolio and some exposure to the business, she will continue to pursue her education with renewed passion.
Most recently, Moy appeared in IWU’s production of Hay Fever as Jackie Coryton. Eventually, she would love to work in California as a film actress, but she is always willing to keep her options open. Her passion in life is the pursuit of art with hope and perseverance, and her motto in life seems to be “one day at a time.”
Contact: Hannah Dhue ’15, (309) 556-3181, email@example.com