CONCORD, Calif. — Lindsay Barnett has managed to stand out from the sea of model and actress hopefuls in California.
The Plattsburgh native's modeling career started three years ago in Walnut Creek, a city just east of San Francisco.
"It had always been something that had been on my mind, but I wasn't really confident enough" to pursue it, she said.
In September 2005, at the age of 19, she moved to California with friend Kerrie Kingsley to do an academic exchange while the two were students at Plattsburgh State.
Studying at California State University San Bernadino, Lindsay met her future husband, Brian Barnett, who had modeled previously.
After the exchange had ended, Kingsley returned to Plattsburgh, but Lindsay chose to remain in California with Brian. She stopped going to school in 2008 and moved to Walnut Creek with Brian, who transferred to St. Mary's College in Moraga.
She nannied full-time until she had her son, Cooper, 13 months ago.
SIGNED ON THE SPOT
While living and working in Walnut Creek, a friend of Brian's mother whose three sons had modeled helped point Lindsay in the right direction, which turned out to be Models Inc. in Walnut Creek, then LOOK Model Agency in San Francisco.
Lindsay, daughter of Tammy Tyler and Jim Tyler of Plattsburgh, was signed on the spot for both agencies.
"I just walked in, they took my measurements, sent me up to take some pictures and signed me," she said.
Lindsay's past gigs have all been very different and have given her national exposure. So far, she has been in a magazine, on two book covers and in a music video.
Photos of her modeling dresses for Bella Bridesmaid appeared in two issues of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. She also modeled for book covers for author Caitlin Kittredge's fantasy novels "The Nightmare Garden," released in February, and "The Mirrored Shard," which is due for release next year.
Lindsay was five months pregnant with her son when she did the shoot for the first cover, and Cooper was 4 months old when she shot the second.
She and her husband are even toying with the idea of having their son model.
Lindsay took some time off from modeling so she could spend time with Cooper, but she wants to start working again and was recently offered a modeling job that involves hostessing a banquet for a San Francisco marketing firm on Sept. 12.
A modeling job well done often opens doors to other opportunities, Lindsay said.
After she left LOOK Model Agency last year, she was asked to model again for another of Kittredge's book covers because the photographer with whom she shot the first cover had liked her work.
"Like any industry, it's about who you know," Lindsay said.
At the second photo shoot, she felt like she knew exactly what style of modeling was needed. It took only about three and a half hours to shoot the cover, a short time for a modeling job.
"It was like I knew her (the photographer) forever" and could anticipate what kind of modeling she preferred, she said.
Lindsay was also featured in rock band Train's music video for the title song of their fifth album "Save Me San Francisco," which was released in 2009.
The music video is inspired by the film "The Graduate." Train's front man, Pat Monahan, races first by car — a red Alfa Romeo Spider like the one Dustin Hoffman drove in the the classic film — then on foot to a chapel, trying to get there in time to stop the woman he loves from marrying another.
When he arrives, he sees she is marrying another woman and abandons his quest. Then he sees an attractive guest at the wedding, played by Lindsay, and the two leave the church together and sit on the steps and talk as the video ends.
She was the first to audition in front of the music video's director. He asked her name.
"You're beautiful," he said.
He told her to act like she was talking to Monahan, like she would in the video, so he could see how natural it looked. And although she was the first audition, he told her he doubted he would find anyone better.
He said, "What you're wearing is great. Just bring your own clothes" to the set, Barnett recalled.
"I was on cloud nine that day."
For those interested in modeling, some basic tips that Lindsay learned along the way could prove helpful.
The modeling market is different in every city, she said. New York is the hub of high-fashion and runway modeling, which demands the stereotypical rail-thin model.
But modeling on the West Coast is more lifestyle-oriented, she said. Many Los Angeles models have had plastic surgery and model bathing suits and the like, she said.
The modeling scene in San Francisco is different, too. Models there do work for clients like GAP and Apple, both companies whose headquarters are in the Golden Gate city.
"It's not the high pressure of being very, very thin" in San Francisco modeling, Lindsay said. "That's not as glamorous as it looks."
For those who aspire to model, Lindsay advises building a tough skin and having plenty of confidence.
And sometimes, it's not just about how beautiful the person is, a popular misconception.
"It's more about how many people they have that are similar to you."
If the agency has signed five 5-foot, 9-inch brunettes, they don't need another one, she said.
But to break into the industry, sometimes all it takes is to get one person to like the model so she can prove herself. And if she does well, her work will speak for itself, others in the business will see it, and everything goes up from there, Lindsay said.
"That doesn't happen very often, but when it does, you're in."