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Lights, camera, smile

Hagerty+photo+ambassadors+pose+for+the+camera+to+promote+Karlie+Marinis+photography.+They+love+spending+their+free+time+modeling+with+their+friends.
Karlie Marini
Hagerty photo ambassadors pose for the camera to promote Karlie Marini’s photography. They love spending their free time modeling with their friends.

Many young girls dream of being a fashion model when they grow up. They practice strutting down the runway and posing for imaginary paparazzi in the mirror. 

These dreams became reality for juniors Addyson Laisch and Julia Spiess, who spend a free day once a month modeling for a local photographer with their friends, gaining new experiences and meeting new people.

Laisch and Spiess both help promote Karlie Marini’s Photography. While they may not get paid or earn volunteer hours, the other benefits definitely add up.

“I get all the beautiful photos for free compared to having to pay to get the photos back, which is definitely worth it,” Laisch said.

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While becoming a photo ambassador may seem like you have to know somebody to get picked or have lots of previous experience, that’s not how either Laisch or Spiess started out. It started from an ad on Facebook. 

“I saw an ad for it online and then I had to fill out an application,” Laisch said. “About a week later I found out that I was accepted.”

However, unlike Laisch, Spiess spontaneously decided to sign up. She wasn’t looking for any modeling gigs or apprentice opportunities before she joined, but she is glad she took the leap and applied.

“I never intended on modeling,” Spiess said. “[My friend] was like ‘There’s one spot open—you should go apply with me,’ so I did and I messaged [the photographer], and now here we are.”

Once or twice a month, Laisch and Spiess get a group message from a poll asking for their availability to model for a photoshoot. They check their schedules to make sure shoot days fit into their schedules and show up wherever the group decides to have the photoshoot. 

“We did photos at Rollins College; it was really pretty and it was during the sunset, I loved doing it,” Laisch said. 

And even though the photoshoot environments are very professional, the ambassadors still get to have fun too, often working with their classmates and friends.

I love getting to meet people from other schools and just connecting through photography.

— Addyson Laisch, junior

“My favorite memory is probably when we were in a candy shop and there was this life-size Batman statue and we all took pictures of us giving him a kiss and stuff, it was too funny,” Spiess said.

Karlie Marini is currently a student at Daytona State College and has been passionate about photography since she was 10. She grew up taking photos of anything she could get her hands on.

“I have a focus on bringing life to the ideas that belong to the people around me,” Marini said. “To find joy in big and small things, and to treasure the God-given details of living.” 

Marini has inspired her photo ambassadors to view the world in that same optimistic attitude—an attitude which has left a lasting impact on their lives.

“Everyone is there because they like photography, because they like to model, because they like Karlie’s message,” Spiess said.

I find such a deep passion in helping cultivate a side of people that should be brought to light.

— Karlie Marini, photographer

This modeling opportunity has also helped the ambassadors adventure and meet all sorts of different people. They encourage everyone to sign up if they can.

“I think that everyone should experience something like this to connect with other people,” Laisch said. 

Spiess loves being a photo ambassador, eagerly grabbing available photoshoot opportunities as often as possible.

“Honestly, [my favorite part is] the people, and I think it’s a fun experience to get to go to different locations,” Spiess said. “Being around people that want to be there and have similar interests to you is just really the best part.”

This story was originally published on Hagerty Journalism Today on September 8, 2023.