A Model's Guide To The Weird Shit We Do

It's a funny old job...
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It's a funny old job...

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Diet Fads

If it weren’t for modelling, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have juiced a parsnip today. Practically everybody, everywhere (in the developed world, at least) wants to lose a few centimetres before a holiday or a wedding. Models want to lose a few centimetres – preferably inches - every hour of every day of the week, egged on by an image of our bookers, glaring sceptically at us with a tape measure in their hands.

Hence, upon being scouted, no model will ever be able to look at a plate of food again without a complex mental process involving intimate knowledge of the calorie and fat content of every piece of food in the world, balanced with predictions of potential shoots in the next month (coat shoot? Go crazy. Have two brazil nuts. Bikini shoot coming up? Watch that water consumption – it can totally bloat!) This explains why today I found myself balancing on one leg and risking full body rash whilst picking stinging nettles in the woods to juice (they’re fêted for their diuretic purposes!)

Handing Over Complete Life Autonomy To Your Agency and Placing your Life In the Hands of a Gay Man Named Fabio

I’m a clever woman. I really am. I have a sociology degree and everything. But until 17:58, every day, I simply do not know what I am going to be doing tomorrow, whereupon my day of castings or job will be emailed to me. That is because, by signing up to a model agency, I signed away my right to ever commit to attending an 18th birthday party/doctor’s appointment/wedding/holiday/family member’s funeral in case I get a job, or really, really, mega important request casting that I SIMPLY HAVE TO GO TO NOW NOW NOW!!! (this is where the client has requested to see ONLY YOU....along with 100 other girls who look exactly like you). Our clothes, our hair, our lifestyle choices and our life plans are plonked into the manicured hands of our bookers – generally along the lines of a ridiculously camp guy named Fabio with an extreme addiction to skinny lattes, nicotine and designer handbags.

Thus if you try to chat up a model and ask them out and they say, “talk to my agent,” you might, quite rightly, think “who in hells bell’s do you think you are?!” But have some sympathy – the poor model is actually saying that because they’re so very institutionalised by modelling that they’ve forgotten how to make a concrete decision for themselves. Tweet Fabio, see what he says.

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Models Have No Concept Of The Value Of Money

Modelling forces you to live in a bubble of unreality, where things such as ‘pension’, ‘salary’ and ‘worker’s rights’ are but distant and alien concepts. Ours is a bit of a feast or famine job, you see. One month the bookings are rolling in – what other job will pay a teenager thousands of pounds for one day’s work? These are, sadly, often balanced out by quiet periods in which you earn nothing. NOTHING.  Very often, models have been paid in clothes instead of money, meaning they can’t make rent – but are swanning around in outfits worth thousands.  Seeing as they’re plucked from a young age into this bizarre bubble of a world, lots of models have no concept of a wage, a real job, or what to sensibly do with their money. They’ll complain of being hopelessly broke and not working whilst fiddling on their Ipad and stroking their Chanel bags, bought during a busy period a couple of months ago.

Modelling Gives You A Complete Lack of Shame

No, I really mean it. Models will be told to wear stockings, suspenders and wellington boots to the casting, where the client will ask them to do the Funky Chicken to East 17 whilst pretending to laugh uproariously at an imaginary joke – underwater – and said model will do it all without batting an eyelid. Commercial castings are the worst for shameful experiences. Watch this:

And then imagine having to do it in a bikini and heels.

I thought that modelling would mean I would leave my gawky adolescence behind, and make me become a sexy, composed, model lady. Sadly, my job is not the glamorous, sophisticated world that those luxurious adverts in the magazines portray. This glamorous illusion was shattered when I walked into a casting in a pokey office and was told, in front of a huge panel of people, to wander round an imaginary meadow picking flowers whilst interacting with a shy unicorn. This was done whilst wearing a white bikini.  “The unicorn is shivering with fear. Approach the unicorn with caution. OH! He’s bolted. Look sad. Pick another flower and smell it.” You just have to do it. You just have to stroke that imaginary unicorn.

Like I said – it’s a funny old job.