I work in an industry that is supposedly constantly evolving, expressing and creating new fashion truths on a whirlwind of sewing machines, caffeine and camp strops. So it’s funny that, once you’ve done it a few years, you find yourself reeling out the same ‘madcap’ shoots, which are ‘pushing the boundaries,’ of expression. However, in an attempt to assuage the client’s ever-neurotic ego, telling them you’ve never encountered such a genius idea, you need to pretend that you’ve never seen a shoot like it before. You just somehow naturally know how to interact with a tarantula...
1) Deep Sea Modelling
“Hooray for this one!” The entire model population just cried. Oh wait, they were actually crying. At the traumatic memory of being immersed in a vat of freezing cold water/standing for 12 hours in a glacial waterfall/shivering in shark infested waters as the rest of the crew shoots from the boat, shouting “can’t you smile a bit? Try not to look so cold and fearful of your life! Happy happy let’s sell make up!”
Also under this category is the ‘laughing whilst being playfully splashed’/pelted with icey water and the ‘shower scene’ – luxuriously soaping yourself up under a shower that ran out of hot water hours ago...
2) Cemetery Modelling
Ooooh! Fashion! Surrounded by dead people slabs! Pretending you’re a bit thrilled, a bit naughty and very comfortable to be lying on a crumbled crypt, whilst spiders who feed on the bugs who feed on the dead crawl up your pants. Not to mention the guilt you try to hide as mourners walk past, bearing flowers for the graves of their loved ones, their outfits sneeringly assessed by the camp hair stylist who’s resting his tongs on their deceased baby son’s headstone.
3) The Weather Inappropriate Shoot
Bikinis in the Arctic Tundra/Cambersands in February: pretending to be sunbathing whilst a Siberian wind tickles your nipples. Or, winter wear in the Sahara Desert in direct sunlight 1pm, doing the ever-beloved ‘leaping shot’ in high heels whilst you soldier on through the sunstroke.
4) Insect Modelling
“Sweet! You want to strap a live insect to my face! Can’t wait to see how grumpy a tarantula can get after 3 hours on my eye under a searingly hot flash bulb!” You enthuse, pretending you don’t have arachnophobia in the casting so you get the job.
5) Landmark Modelling
So we’re doing a shoot a round capital city’s famous landmarks! A tiny pair of hot pants and nipple tassels are most appropriate for a pose where I’m dare-devilishly balancing on the rails of Tower Bridge, praying I don’t fall to my death (whilst hundreds of tourists secretly pray I do). And I’ll try not to notice the giggling group of foreign student boys who can quite possibly see my fanny from that angle.
6) Modelling with a short/old/ugly/blue collar worker randomly picked from the street
“I have a great idea!” cries the art director. “How do we show off how great our clothes make people look? By standing a beautiful, 6 foot 17 year old wearing our swimsuit next to the shortest, oldest oddity off the street we can find!” I always find this rather uncomfortable and patronising to the poor, sweaty palmed unfortunate they pair us with. Their favourite victims are always, for some reason, a podgy builder, half way through his sandwich, or a short, jovial Chinese man.
7) The Balloon Shot
The cutesy shoot. The balloons are behind my back *cheeky face*. The balloons make me so happy *laughs beatifically* The balloons are carrying me away! *jumps in the air whilst the balloons take with them any remaining dignity*
8) The Party Shoot
Every model will do this. And every model will learn the hard way. Do not drink on a shoot. It seems like a good idea, drinking at 11am, as the client tries to booze up a room of hungry, glammed up models in the hope that at least a couple of them cop off for a picture. But you will probably be unrewarded with a double page spread of you looking cracked out, triple chinned with a nipple swinging free, whilst stood next to a vision of perfect Californian beauty – she never smokes, she never drinks, she’s always a composed pro. The pic’ll then go in her portfolio, and clients worldwide will see you being the ultimate ‘ugly best friend’.
9) The Male Model Make Out
It sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Paid for a day of snogging a hot model! Turns out, you’ll probably be paired with the most egregious, nauseating, foul breathed twat you’ve ever had the displeasure of meeting in your life. I remember one particular chap that I truly HATED within 3 seconds of meeting him. He looked like a rat with pecs. He had disconcertingly large nipples. And he wouldn’t leave the cheese and onion crisps alone. Just gross. Not only did I find him repulsive, but the snogging shot is very mechanical – turn your head this way, make sure can see the logo on the bag, try to look to camera. It’s hard not to dribble after a few hours. Bleurgh.
10) Sliding Down the Bannister, Smiling
KILLS YOUR VAGINA!!!!!!