For Branden Rickman, dominating a reality television show was the easy part.
In the year and a half since Rickman won the second season of Bravo TV's "Make Me a Supermodel," the 20-year-old has moved to Los Angeles and appeared in a number of magazine photo shoots and a Giorgio Armani television commercial starring actress Megan Fox.
Rickman's successes are the high points of the day-to-day grind of casting calls and looking for steady work to pay the rent. This is the reality for many dreamers who flood L.A. seeking fame and fortune.
"It's super competitive in Los Angeles," Rickman said. "You have to get out there and work hard to make it in this business."
The Crater High School graduate surprised his mother for Christmas by showing up in the Rogue Valley. While here, he hooked up with old friends and did a little volunteer work for an elderly family friend, said his mother, Diane Rickman.
"He doesn't brag on himself very much, but he really went out of his way to help people while he was up here," she said. "The modeling life in L.A. didn't go to his head."
She said Rickman spent Christmas evening raking an elderly man's leaves and took another neighbor shopping.
"He really cares about this community, even though he lives far way and is trying to make it as an actor," his mother said.
Rickman will appear in the next issue of Self magazine, and the commercial will air sometime this year.
He hopes modeling will lead to an acting career. Rickman said he is interested in doing skit comedy like "Saturday Night Live" or action dramas like the new "Hawaii Five-0" reboot.
But until then, the bills need to be paid, and that requires something more stable than infrequent modeling gigs, Rickman said.
"Right now, I'm looking for a regular job — maybe a hosting job," he said. "That will allow me to afford to live in L.A. while I look for acting and modeling work."
He hopes to travel at some point to Europe for modeling work, said his agent, Teresa Pollman, who is the president of Image and Modeling Development in Medford.
He also wants to take acting classes to give himself a better show at landing a part in a film or show.
"Brandon knows what he has to do to make it in this business, and he is willing to work hard," Pollman said. "I've seen him grow up a lot in this past year. Moving to that city is a culture shock, and it's important that he has kept his focus on his goals."
Diane Rickman said the experience has changed her son — mostly for the better.
"He has become more comfortable with himself, which is strange to say because he's a model," she said. "I've seen my son really grow into a man."
Rickman said he doesn't plan to leave L.A. any time soon. The disappointments of the casting calls are starting to become easier to take as he's realized the process can be long and difficult.
"I'm starting to book jobs in Los Angeles and don't want to leave," he said. "And I've made a lot of good friends down there."
Rickman took time during his recent visit to speak to a group of aspiring models in Medford about the ins and outs of the industry.
"I'm going to tell them that modeling is hard to break into and too many people give up too easily," he said.
Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.