On Monday night the UMass Campus Center Auditorium was graced with the presence of Camille Kostek, the Sports Illustrated 2019 Rookie of the Year and girlfriend to the newly retired Pats player Rob Gronkowski. She visited campus as the designated annual Spring Speaker to share her story in the modeling industry.
I didn’t know who Camille Kostek was until 10 minutes before I entered the waiting line for her talk. I also didn’t know the influence she’s had on social media (I’ve been living under a rock, I guess?). Known for her modeling career (obviously) and her #NeverNotDancing movement, she’s been able to connect to large audiences on several platforms. The 27-year-old began modeling after years of rejection from agents, due to her unwillingness to conform to the industry standard of beauty. When she was told to lose a certain amount of weight, she would walk out of the meeting room, and waited until she was approached by Sports Illustrated.
Not only is Kostek drop-dead gorgeous and really funny, but her stage presence was vibrant and the energy she brought to campus was admirable. In a room of full of girls AND boys, she successfully encouraged us to work harder toward self-love. She reminded us of how easy it is to get caught up in trivial things that are said online, but said to instead focus on what really matters in the grand scheme of life, by pursuing our goals. “If you don’t believe in yourself,” she emphasized, “no one will.” Audience members left inspired to work harder in following their passions, as Kostek reminded us that if we work toward something hard enough the universe will reward us with that.
It’s pretty cool that UMass Programming Council (UPC) brought a model to talk to us about her experiences in the industry, her hobbies, her life, etc. It’s even cooler that, given our current political and social climate, they chose a woman to come and speak of self-love: something everyone should be reminded of every once and awhile.