A US Marine veteran, whose photo has been circulated across social media for years, has become a model. She now reports for duty in such exotic locations as the cover of Maxim.
Minnesota native Shannon Ihrke enlisted into the US Marines at the age of 19 and left the military in early 2012 as a Sergeant, serving four years in the smallest branch of the military. During her time in the Marines, she did administrative work at the South Carolina-based MCAS Beaufort and then served a stint as an Inspector-Instructor at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois, a state she would later settle down in.
Following the Marines, Ihrke took on any modeling jobs she could find and competed in the annual Loop Rock Girl competition, which involved doing a modelling shoot for a local radio station. By 2013, she was not only the Loop Rock Girl of 2013 but maintained a permanent modeling position at the station.
The transition, however, was not always easy.
“When I got out of the Marine Corps I was a sergeant and I could tell a group of people to do something and it would get done immediately without any questions asked,” she said in an interview with GI Jobs. “Civilians just do not work that way. Another huge difference was that the military made a lot of decisions for me. The Marine Corps decided where I lived and for how long, how much I made, where I ate, when to work out, and the only bills I had were on my car and my cell phone. Civilian life forces you to make your own decisions, and that was really hard for me, especially that first year of being out.”
In addition to modeling, Ihrke also works in marketing and represents the company 1776 United, which makes patriotic apparel.
Ihrke has also made her mark on Instagram, with nearly fifty thousand followers at her command.
Being successful after the military is hard work, according to the Marine veteran.
“A lot of people think that just having a military background will open doors for you, but unfortunately it’s just not that way,” she said. “A lot of people have military backgrounds nowadays so it’s important to find other things that make you stand out as well. You have to put together a great resume, work your tail off, and let any rejection you might receive motivate you instead of discourage you. Have perseverance. Make sure you’re constantly working to improve yourself by taking college courses, volunteering, or anything else that might help to impress a potential employer.”
It seems -at least for Ihrke- that success was met with a photo finish.
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