Typically what you see on the internet makes everything in life seem oh so rosy but we all know that’s just not how it is. I actually prefer social media that way. The last thing I want to see online are daily depressing quotes or political battles but a blog… a blog can show many emotions and that’s exactly what I plan to do with this post.
If you follow me on any social media, it looks like I’m living the life and I have all the time in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life and wouldn’t trade it with anyone! I’m so lucky to do what I do, to see the world like I am and to meet so many amazing people, but that’s just not what it’s like on a day to day basis. Do you really want me post pictures of a studio after studio, weight room after weight room? Boring! Personally, I find pictures of beautiful sunsets, incredible food and amazing views far more interesting.
Modeling is much the same way. When the general public thinks of modeling, they automatically assume that we all have naturally perfect bodies and can eat whatever we want or have an eating disorder. People assume that we’re rolling in money and just take some pictures in amazing locations and that we don’t really work. While sometimes in certain markets, that may be true, for the life of the average full-time female model, it’s simply not. (I can’t speak for guys and plus models as the business works differently for them.) Based on my experience, here are some of the myths you may even believe yourself about the average full-time female model:
1. Models have naturally perfect bodies: We’re far from picture perfect. What you probably don’t know is that most models don’t look like “models”; they’re not so tall, not that thin and have break-outs just like everyone else. Think about it. Look around at the advertisements that surround you. No, not Cover Girl but the ad on the bus that just went by or the woman on the billboard you just drove by. Do you really think they’re all six feet and skinny as a rail? News flash! Models come in all shapes and sizes. Ok, yes, we all won the genetic lottery on some level but most models don’t look like the supermodels we get clumped with. As per us all being super skinny, let me preface this by saying I bust my ass to get my body to look the way it does; I work out consistently and eat very clean. (I don’t do it to be thin, I do it because I enjoy being healthy.) There are girls that are naturally thin and don’t have to take care of themselves but chances are, they are what has been coined “skinny fat” (because they’re not tone).
2. Models have all the confidence in the world: Overall, models are the most insecure group of people I know but put up the best front. Imagine going to 4-8 job interviews in a day and getting turned down each time. In markets like Cape Town and Istanbul, that happens to us several times a week. Think of what that does to your self confidence alone and now add people laughing at your pictures, critiquing your appearance and telling you to fix things about yourself continuously. Markets like Milan take your measurements weekly to ensure you maintain your ideal weight. A friend told me that when she was living in Milan, her flatmate was reporting to her agency what what was eating. And in this business, if you’re 25+ years old, you’re old. Not to mention, you get to compete with girls 10 years younger. Eek! Now what do you think all that would do to your self confidence?
3. Models don’t work: When I go shopping, I detest trying on clothes. When I can’t motivate myself to get to the fitting room, I’m the girl standing in the middle of the store throwing on clothes on top of my clothes to try to gauge whether it fits. The reason for this is primarily because in a day’s work, I’ve had to put on up to 200+ pieces of clothing! Jeans are the worst. If I ever didn’t know what chafing was, I do now. Some work days last for as many as 14 hours and may even shoot through the evening. As always, there’s a flip side… we may work a 10 hour day and only actually end up working one. If you’ve ever worked as a sales associate in retail, you know what I mean when I say it’s like being on the floor for 10 hours and only actually having customers and clothes to fold for one. It can be more painful than being swamped or if you’ve ever waited tables, it can be more painful than being “in the weeds.”
4. Models are dumb: Now that’s just rude. If you believe this one, answer this: how many models have you actually met to even make that assessment? I’m guessing none. Young girls that are thrown into this business are forced to grow up far quicker than most. We have to compete with hundreds of other girls, each one prettier than the next, for a single job so the young models can’t help but develop wit and personality quickly. In America I wouldn’t dream of hanging out with most girls 10 years younger than me but the girls I’ve met modeling internationally are more mature and worldly than their age and have become some of my closest friends. Additionally, there are plenty of models with degrees or pursing one and there are those who successfully juggle second jobs with families and finally, those that move on to other careers (because we’re so gosh darn smart)!
5. Models don’t eat: Oh please. The sheer amount of food I can eat would put a grown man on the floor. I’ve witnessed many model friends eat just as much. They’re just more likely to make healthy choices and exercise regularly. Unfortunately, there are still many models are constantly trying to lose or gain weight because of pressure rather than making an effort to be healthy. Ultimately, these girls end up stressing over everything they put in their mouths. But like I said, most models eat.
6. Models are rich: We’re broke. If we want to go to Paris or Milan for example, we have to pay for it. After we get there, we have to pay inflated amounts for comp cards, living arrangements, website fees and more. The commission our agencies earn off our rates go up as high as 50%. I’m not even going to get into taxes. Sure, rates in the states and Germany can be really good but rates in places like Turkey and Greece often only put $150 in our pocket for a full day (and remember a full day can easily be 12 hours). Oh, and don’t forget all the time we put into going on castings and don’t earn a penny.
7. Models always work in amazing places: My Instagram may look like I’m always working in exotic locations but I typically work in a standard studio. Part of the reason I wanted to become an international model was so I could travel; I wanted to experience different cultures, meet cool people and see nature in every way possible. Luckily I wasn’t naive enough to think that it would be all flowers and candy. If I’m not working in a studio or the occasional stunning location, most of the time I’m spending the day running around to castings. And it shouldn’t be forgotten that all this time we’re in these cool places, we’re far away from home. You know the saying, “there’s no place like home.” There really isn’t and no matter how beautiful a shoot location may be, there’s still “no place like home.”
As you can see, modeling can be emotionally taxing but one thing is for sure, it really helps you grow as a person. I’ve learned so much in the last year and have grown so much, I hardly recognize myself. Even though the reality of modeling may not be what people think, it has it’s perks for sure. (Those will be saved for another post.) Please note that as always in everything, there’s an exception to everything! Now… I’m going to not go searching the internet to look up plane tickets to go home and start looking up pictures of Greece and my next adventure. Right. Cheers!