I still feel beaten up, like hit in the face, fallen to the ground, hurt and slightly lethargic. It’s been 2 weeks now and so I am slowly coming up again. I fall and now I have to get up again, and I thought to share my journey in this blog. It was the closest battle I ever fought in any contest ever before. I felt sooo exhausted too, like it was a real fight!
I got invited with a message saying: “Maxim wants to send YOU to Australia.” Heck yeah I love Australia so I had a feeling that I had to go for it! I created my profile and uploaded a few photos, the main profile photo was actually from a photoshoot from Josh McLeod at Bronte Beach in Sydney back then when I was calling Australia home.
Last year I tried for the Maxim USA contest more or less for fun and only posted about it on my social media, I made the top20, top15 and top10 cut off in my group, but the best I got to was place 8 only. That experience made me realize that this time I have to put in more work than just posting about it on social media. The contest started September 8th and goes till October 29th 2020 with several cut off rounds and the winner is decided by audience choice, whoever gets the most votes or has the most loyal and supportive fan base. Price is the Maxim Australia Cover photo shoot and $10,000 cash.
I started posting and sharing it on my social media and asked a few friends and got my first votes coming in. September 10th I created a FB group “TeamAnja for Maxim Cover Girl Contest” and invited all my Facebook friends to it. The challenge started to explain people that I need votes every 24 hours again, so for example even just 100 people can contribute 3000 votes in 30 days (100 people x 30 days = 3000 votes). But barely anyone was understanding that even though I posted once a day in the group the vote reminders. Even some friends messaged me that they voted and then left the group. I had to private message and explain it again in the most simple way possible, so some people were rejoining the group and finally started voting every 24 hours. I also created group chats on Instagram, as one group chat can only have 25 people or so, it was a lot of group chats! The same issue was on Twitter and Linkedin where I created tons of group chats too, as they all have a limited number of people only. But it worked, even though I posted about it in my Instagram stories every day, people only started voting after they received the private message in the group chat! But even there some people just ignore their messages as it gets to many notifications, and I was only getting more votes once I sent them a private message that I added them to a group chat and need a vote once a day and not just once in the whole contest. My nerves were getting tested for sure! Also people messaged that they just voted but actually didn’t, as I could see the last 3 votes in the dashboard. They must have clicked something wrong I suppose. So I did a screen recording tutorial to show how to vote and only then I saw that those people actually voted! Lesson learnt: Never assume because something seems super simple and easy for you to understand, that others will understand it equally as easy.
September 17th was the first cut off for the top15 in each group. The battle was so close! I was 3rd at that time, but then got pushed back to 5th. September 19th back to 4th for a few hours and then was back to 5th place! Then back to 4th and the morning of September 20th woke up moving to 3rd place! It really made me realize that every single vote counts, and 1 person can make a huge difference and especially when you vote every 24hours and all the votes add up to loads! I was reaching out to more people every single day, going through all my contacts and messaged people for several hours every single day. As an exciting announcement on September 21th I was 3rd, just asked 1 friend and he voted and I was 2nd after his 1 vote! The battle was so extremely close just between 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th. On September 23rd I made it to the popular page for the first time ever in the contest. A friend commented: “Voting for you 6th then 4th then 5th now 2nd . Good luck ”
On September 24th the top10 cut off was made.
I almost dropped my Laptop September 25th when I saw that I moved up to 1st place! Couldn’t believe it! Was 2nd, one friend voted and moved up after I refreshed the browser! How close battle! Literally one person can make the difference to win this! Omg! With only posting I got to 5th place, but with group chats and private messaging hundreds of people moved up to 1st place!
I could maintain 1st place for almost a week, then September 30th was a rollercoaster! Woke up being pushed back to 2nd! Actually the girl who was 6th moved up to 1st!!! After a few hours I was 1st again, that girl was pushed back to 3rd. Basically 1st, 2nd and 3rd had only a handful of difference in votes. Scary! Every day counts.
Top5 were decided October 1st at 11pm EST and I was staying 1st place consistently. Then October 8th at 11pm EST, only the Top1 in each group advanced into the quarter finals round. I was 1st place consistently the whole day of October 8th too. 2 hours before the end at 9pm EST I got pushed back to 2nd! In panic mode I spammed my social media everywhere and posted about the contest every few minutes and private messaged several people and they all shared with their friends too. It was incredible how many more votes I was getting in the next 2 hours! After 1 hour at 10pm EST I was back to 1st place until the 1 minute mark before the end time at 11pm EST! The timer was ticking and counting down and at literally at the 1 minute mark at 10.59pm EST I was in 1st place! At 30 seconds mark at 10.59pm and 30 seconds EST I refreshed the browser and was 2nd place. I was crying, screaming “No!” Panicking and posting more on my social media and group chats. I was devastated and crying! Maybe just 1 vote meant that loss! One of my friends even told me that at the 30 seconds mark he was buying some votes and the transaction went through, so it may have been a glitch! I was watching the timer going down 3 seconds, 2 seconds, 1 second and over at 11pm EST. Then the screen showed that they will check and finalize all the votes. I was hoping and praying that his votes in the last seconds still counted, but nobody even knows! I don’t even see it in my dashboard anymore, it’s crazy! The next day it said that I placed 2nd, unbelievable!
It was one month of hustling for votes every single day from September 8th till October 8th 2020 and it was the hardest I ever worked for before in any contest ever, countless hours of messaging people, posting about it, creating group chats in all sorts of platforms like Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Xing, Stage32, Starnow, model-kartei, Modelmayhem and more! I got really exhausted from the overwhelm of messages and my fingers were hurting from typing so much, my nerves were tested as so many people did not understand how to vote or did not understand to do it once every 24 hours or constantly forgot to do it and so I had to remind them over and over again. Now even I still have lots of messages I did not answer yet as people keep asking me why they can’t vote anymore, even though I messaged them what happened. I will get back to each of you individually but it’s just overwhelming with hundreds of messages to get it all done and after that loss I just felt extremely exhausted and didn’t even want to reply, getting constantly reminded about that loss. I needed some time to rest and take a break from messaging so much every single day and to get up again after I got beaten up!
It was an experience to really see who is there for you! Some people ignored my messages, or even blocked me and unfriended me! I was in shock as it takes 2 seconds and it’s free to vote! But it was amazing to see how many people supported me what I would have never imagined. Old Facebook friends I haven’t talked to in like 10 years were willing to help, friends from friends were getting excited too and helped, random strangers saw my social media posts! Just to name a few people who have shared, thanks so much Monika Uremovic, Jordan Cook, Emmanuel Cotton, Film Freak, Karrion. You didn’t just vote, you also shared it so we could get more votes! Hundreds of people really wanted me to win and so many, just to name a few Chazzy, Rastagirl, JRod, Neo, Marlins, Fanessa, Lunakye, Goldenbaby, Eliyah, John Rogers, Alrav Nyn, Bruno Kaiser, even surprised me with paid votes that support the charity K2 Foundation to help individuals with life challenges and disabilities. I never experienced that kind of support ever before in my life and I want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! You are all amazing!
I got tons of encouraging messages that really touched me and so I picked a few to mention them here:
“You did well to fight your way to the top and it really was super super close... crazy how close it was. There will be other opportunities and this is a competition but one day Maxim or another magazine will call you to be on their cover. Well done on getting so far and remember to be kind to yourself.” Menno Tabbernal
“We all love you and to us you are always the winner!!! Cheer up hun, and work harder to get it next round! I have faith that something else will come your way and be much more promising!” Sean Khan
“2nd place is still incredible and we will win next time!” Rave With Shai
“Anja! You are still a winner! We love you!” Linda Wong
“I am so sorry it came to the last 30 seconds. That’s heart breaking.” Becky Smiles
“Sorry I was voting, I didn’t even know you could snipe like that.” Ice
“We tried that’s the main thing. Good fun getting involved. “Chris Willows
“Don’t worry. It wasn’t meant to be. Something better will come up soon.” Sabrina Davis
“Sorry to see you didn’t win, but great job either way!! You rocked it and got all that exposure!” Big Dan
“Are you doing OK? I am sorry you didn’t win the Maxim Cover.” Angelfaithh
I was close and fought myself to the top and did much better than ever before, I still lost in the last 30 seconds in the 1 month race. This competition is an extremely tough one to win regardless, but looking at it in perspective how far I have come, has shown that anything is possible when you dream big and set goals and work hard. I felt strong emotions and expressed them. I tried my best, failed and now I am getting back up, that’s what resilience looks like. Maybe it’s just not meant to be yet, patience and perseverance are needed. Even though it seems hard right now I have to celebrate the progress and embrace the adventure of life and the challenges that come with it.
If anyone is reading that far, when you subscribe to my Newsletter by October 31th, you get entered into the draw to win one product in my shop for free. Go to the Home section and subscribe there. I added a poster from the main profile photo from the Maxim Contest.
But in addition there are art prints of my handmade original drawings, face masks and more.