Have you ever wondered what it's really like being a model? You have ? Well I can assure you it's not as glamorous as you probably envision. Below are my top 10 things I wish I knew before I started modelling.
1. Develop a thick skin. There have been times when I arrived at castings and was told "NEXT" before even being allowed to open my book. I have also had images taken and barely recognised myself with alterations to my eye colour and hair. A lot more work goes into re-touching images than most people realise. Sometimes a model can be completely altered in pictures from the way they normally look. There are many tricks used to create that perfect image. I have attached an image of our models having worked over seas. The first image is one of our model Lisa after working in Hong Kong, the one on the left is a natural image. Can you tell what's been altered ?
2. Models do in fact eat. Believe it or not, very few models live on sticks of celery and two grapes a day, the majority of models actually eat a normal healthy diet, and can even enjoy a Big Mac or KFC pack. But don't tell anyone...
3. Models don’t always get paid for shoots. I am a big advocate for models being paid even when in development and building up their experience however, there are many shoots that compensate in trade, either with photos or clothes.
4. Photo-shoots are not always as they seem. A lot of work goes on"behind the scenes" to perfect a photograph nowadays. There is a whole team of makeup, hair, stylists, creative directors etc behind a photo shoot. Many models including myself have had to work on a really cold or hot day wearing completely the wrong type of clothes for the season. In fact I recall having to be up at 3am for hair and makeup with a snake draped over me, standing in a waterfall and covered in goose bumps. I have also had to frolic in waves in the middle of winter and ended up sick with the flu of course with tricks of photo shop I looked like i was having a blast in the middle of summer.
5. You have to be on your guard. With so many camera phones backstage at shoots and runway shows sometimes someone will try and capture models at times when they may not want to be photographed. Be careful - you do not want to be changing and snapped in the back ground topless or worse, naked in someones "selfie" and have in posted world wide.
6. Despite getting to wear the most beautiful, expensive, glamorous outfits, models unfortunately don’t actually get to keep the clothes. Sometimes you may get lucky and get to keep something, but this rarely happens.
7. Regular bookings are rare. Unless you are a well known brand (supermodel) many models find it tricky getting regular bookings. There can often be periods of time with nothing but castings before work starts coming in. In these times, always touch base with your mother agent perhaps discuss why it is you're not being booked. Is a change of hair necessary ?
8. Models are often waiting for something; whether that’s waiting to get your hair or makeup done, waiting for the photographer to set up, waiting to get your photos back, waiting for runway shows to start or waiting to be seen at castings. I always suggest to models that this is an ideal time to expand your skill set, learn a language, read a novel, study your uni homework. It is also a great way to start conversations with the crew surrounding you- remember that crew is often working with another team, and seeing you read a book learning "French" may just start a conversation about working in Paris... we can only dream 🙂
9. Your expectations don't always match reality. There can be the rare occasions whereby a model can apply for, or turn up at a shoot, expecting one thing (e.g. a fashion shoot) and find that the photographer wants to try and change it to a topless or nude shoot. In this instance- NEVER stray from the story board agreed to by your agent for two reasons- 1/ changing from a fashion shoot to and implied nude maybe a bad choice for you and the direction of your trade, your agent and you can agree on this together. Secondly, if its a paid job- changes like going from fashion to topless is not the same rate. If your comfortable nude etc (and that's your choice) then you'll need your agent to re negotiate payments prior to shooting. The model should never be the one to refuse a job it makes you look difficult, an agent knows how best to handle these situations and quite clearly that's why you have us.
10. Models can be any age. A common misconception is that you need to be young in order to model, however there are so many different types of modelling, if you have the right look, there are plenty of opportunities out there for the more mature lady. There is more work for younger models- but if you look healthy and are appealing to look at it's never too late.
Hope these tips have been helpful.