During our time working as models, quite a few people have asked what modelling is really like.
Many girls start modelling around 14-15 years old but we started when we were a fair bit older about 19 and 21. Consequently coming into the industry that bit later we had some experience of other work and had both held down totally different types of jobs, therefore we could compare the modelling industry to other mainstream professions and we can say with confidence that modelling is is unlike any other job we have ever had.
Wikipedia Definition of modelling:
“A model is a person with a role either to promote, display or advertise commercial products, or to serve as a visual aide for people who are creating works of art or to pose for photography.”
It can be really exciting and fun but also quite difficult at times. For outsiders looking in it might look incredibly glamorous, seeing models jet-setting around the globe, walking down catwalks in designer gear, shooting fancy looking campaigns and so on. This perception isn’t entirely correct, although we do have moments when we think “How are we getting paid for this” but these types of jobs are far and few between. Most of the time it is extremely long hours in sometimes less than favourable conditions. There are a lot of myths about modelling, so we thought that we would debunk some of the most common we have heard.
- Modelling is incredibly glamorous
This is one of the most common misconceptions about modelling. We often get told that we must have “the easiest and loveliest job ever, being photographed in beautiful locations and being pampered all day”
We have an amazing job, we really do, we get the chance to see parts of the world that we might never had the opportunity to see if it wasn’t for our work. In reality, modelling isn’t always that glamorous.
As a model you are expected to just deal with things. Being cold, not getting fed, being addressed as an object, criticised in public, standing up for hours on end without a chance to just sit down to rest your feet. You are often working long hours, starting at 7 am and then working until sometimes 8-9pm at night without a lunch break. At times you don’t have any other option than to eat quickly in-between changes and sometimes you don’t eat at all! You are often shooting in cold conditions as you always shoot ahead of season so wearing summer dresses or bikinis in the freezing cold is standard.
Emelie shooting in an abandoned leisure centre in Belgium for a Canadian Magazine in the middle of winter (no heating, it was absolutely FREEZING!) But what don’t you do for the love of fashion 😛
2. Models are rich
Now, this is another very common myth about modelling. “Become a model, they said, you will be rich they said” Erm, not completely true, unfortunately. Although you can make good money modelling, it doesn’t make you rich by any means! Back in the glorious 80’s the so-called supermodels could earn obscene amounts of money for each booking. Brands would invest in their campaigns and pay models a generous fee. Unfortunately, the industry has changed somewhat and although there are still so-called “supermodels”, many of us do have money worries on a regular basis. Models wages have been in decline for a long time due to the economic climate, and because of this a lot of clients are drastically cutting their budgets. There are still opportunities to earn good money, big campaigns do come around once in a while but they are far and few between.
3. Models get to keep the clothing they shoot
Now, this rarely happens! Many start-ups offer their models clothing or items as a payment but getting paid and receiving free clothing rarely happens.
4. You have to be super skinny and tall to become a model.
The fashion industry gets a lot of bad press when it comes to sizing as many girls are forced to become dangerously thin so they can fit into “sample” sizes. And with editorial fashion, this is a recurring issue that never seems to be resolved.
It always struck us that is was pretty strange that the sample sizes never change, so instead, models have to change their bodies to fit into teeny weeny samples.
This is something that must change as it is giving young girls and boys a very screwed view of what a body must look like. Although the industry has still a long way to go there are significant changes and a greater variety of different sized models. Gorgeous models like the Australian super-duo that is Georgia Gibbs and Kate Wasley are showing the world that there is no such thing as “one size fits all”. It is so exciting to see different heights, shapes and sizes being represented in the fashion industry. Can you imagine a world where everyone looked exactly the same? How dull what that be?! Certainly not a world we would like to live in. So if you want to go into modelling, but you think that you are not “tall enough” or “skinny enough” think again. High fashion isn’t the only type of modelling you can get into there is a huge commercial market where height isn’t as important as having the right proportion and having the “right” look. It could be anything from a yummy mummy, a girl next door or a sporty girl with a confident persona that does yoga.
So, if modelling is something you really want to try out, go for it!
Don’t waste your precious time and energy on trying to fit in to a bracket that isn’t you and try the commercial market instead. Never knock it before you try it, better an oops than a what if we always say 🙂
5. Models eat clean wholesome foods, all day every day
“All models eat healthy as they have to stay thin”. This statement definitely isn’t correct. When Katrin and I discussed this we both strongly agreed it’s quite the opposite. Yes, some models are quite strict with their calorie intake to ensure they do not fluctuate in weight and change size too much, but we can confidently say that models eat WAY too much sugar and here is why.
Modelling can be pretty stressful, not only because you never know when your next pay cheque is coming, but it is also worth noting that models do not have a regular working pattern and this really takes its toll on your body and your energy levels. Everything is very last minute to a point that you can go to bed early and find out at 4am in the morning that you need to be on set at 6am! You have to be organised and make sure you have food ready to go in the fridge to take with you. It frequently happens that there is no proper food on set, only snacks, biscuits, chocolate and sweets. We all know what happens when you consume too much sugar, an initial spike in energy followed by a massive “sugar come down”. To keep up your energy levels, you just top up with more sugar. This is a common occurrence at most shoots!
6. Models are bitchy and not particularly bright
“What do you do for a living?” To us this can be a loaded question. We are not ashamed of what we do, we love our jobs but we are painfully aware that there is a stigma about modelling and models. For example, people seem to think that we are not particularly bright and probably quite arrogant. I can confidently say this is far from the truth! A lot of us juggle a number of things whilst working such as studying, holding down another job or starting up our own business.
Another thing that we get asked is, are all models really bitchy? And I think our resounding answer to that is NO! Modelling is incredibly competitive and because of this, some models can come across unfriendly or far too competitive around other models. This is normally caused by two things; Many are very young when they start modelling and being a youngster in such a chaotic world is pretty scary. Most are just really insecure and are just doubting their abilities to secure jobs, and this can sometimes result in fairly unfriendly behaviour.
The other thing can actually be language barriers. Models are moving around the world, working in foreign countries where they may not speak the language very well. This can obviously cause a barrier when they meet others and expressions can different in other coutnries and therefore they can be misinterpreted. Most of the girls we have ever worked with/lived with are lovely people and are not at all like the ice-cold unfriendly stereotype of a model.
So, there we have it, 6 common myths about modelling debunked. Have you got a question about modelling that you would like answered? Please drop us a line in the comments below or ping over an email as we would love to hear what you guys think 🙂
The Model Diaries