I love my job. I love that I can say that I play dress up for a living. But if I could get paid time and a half for the crap I have to put up with as a model, well my student loans would be paid off by now (and I pay more on those bad boys each month – paying the minimum – than I pay rent). Needless to say, the life of a model is not as glamorous as you think it is, at least for most of us.
There are certainly the Naomi’s, Tyra’s, Heidi’s, and Giselle’s of us that live ‘The Good Life’… less in the plus modeling world where we only get a token for representation – but that’s another conversation for another blog post. Entywho, being someone who gets approached on social media nearly everyday from other girls aspiring to model, I wanted to create a post being very frank and let y’all know, modeling is hard.
Here are a few things I’ve noticed about this industry + things I’ve had to put up with, in an effort to give you more insight and possibly prepare you for a career in modeling…
It seems Chinese Foot Binding is alive and well in the modeling world! I’m being dramatic, but there are days after working with a client that I can barely walk on my feet without limping because I’ve had to stand/walk/pose for hours in 5inch heels, often a size (or two) too small. Sometimes they’re too big, and then I’m stuck trying to balance walking with wiggle room and posing so the camera can’t see the excess space. It doesn’t seem like much, but hours of toe gripping will instill the crippling charlie horses in even the strongest pair of legs.
You must be comfortable with nudity, there’s little room for prudes in this industry. Expect to get naked and change in front of everyone and anyone – not something I mind, but I have heard clients complain about other girls for not being willing to do this, because it slows them down. This is a speedy business, whether you’re blowing through 50 e-commerce looks, or need to change 3 times in a perfectly orchestrated runway show (you DON’T want to mess with a designer’s timed vision!), ignore the world around you and just strip!
Be prepared for everything! In my experience this means make sure you have nude and black underwear, including Spanx, strapped and strapless bras, your own make up, water and snacks – if it’s a long day than lunch too, and your own black and nude heels. Nothing is guaranteed and it’s always helpful to have heels you know will fit, undergarments that won’t show through the designer’s clothes, and in case the make up artist gets held up or bails, you can be self sufficient. As a diabetic and a mermaid, having my own water and food is always important. Most gigs will provide some food, but I’ve been in trouble before, and want to make sure others don’t get caught in that predicament. All of this should be in your Model Bag, a bag you can hold in your car and be ready for anything.
Lastly, a lot of companies work out of warehouses that are not climate controlled so when it’s cold, it’s extra cold, and when it’s hot, consider yourself a baked potato. I sweat very easily so I often pack a sweat towel so I’m not getting it all over the clothes, and can dab my forehead between looks. Some models I know carry little hand held fans for moments like these, and when it’s cold, bring layers. It can be hard to be prepared because the temperature outside will rarely match inside, so it’s best to just be prepared for both.
I hope this helps someone when considering this industry, or trying to navigate within it. I’ll write a second set in the future. I’m still learning and growing, and I hope to always be, and I hope you’ll stay tuned for more of my journey. Feel free to comment any questions you’d like me to cover in future pieces.