Oh Balls! You Can’t Just Be a Model These Days!
All you’ve ever wanted is to sashay down the catwalk in funny hats, and strike a pose like Madonna in Vogue. If that’s your dream, I’m afraid you’re going to have to work a lot harder at it than in the olden days, when it was sufficient to merely own a face.
I’m sure you, and this model, always dreamed of walking the catwalk looking like this…
Now you have to be something. Your own brand. You need an ‘angle’ – clients now ring up the agency and say “what does she do?” Rather than “What are her measurements?” (although they still care about those, unfortunately). So this girl, Gracie Van Gastel, is an amazing hula hooper – and was snapped up by Hedi Slimane of YSL to make a video. And just look!
I love this video. Click on the link below to view.
She looks exquisite, swaying gracefully, showing off the movement of the clothes. The video is entrancing, and she has become more than just a model to being a fascinating, absorbing character, which adds more to the video than just the usual of ‘model sat on a suitcase, looking miserable in the desert’.
Oh wait, that was Shania Twain.
I need this outfit…
In some ways, it’s a bit irritating. I used to just turn up to castings and shoots, be myself, and it was enough to be a good model with a pleasant personality. It got me booked and rebooked which is all you want, taking off my ‘modelling hat’ when I got home to watch Dancing on Ice or walk the dog. Now you have to work at your image, your brand, your social media presence all the time. I used to go on holiday and turn off my phone, not go near a computer, and enjoy a ‘cyber detox’. Now I tweet/Instagram pictures of my romantic holiday (#holiday! #bikini!) and make sure I’m not too out of the loop. I actually don’t always like it – it can feel invasive and a bit all-consuming sometimes. Though other times I embrace and love it – it’s about learning balance with these things.
However, I think that this development is a great thing on the whole. It’s democratising – models who might not have made it as big can take control a bit, working at their social media following or skills they want to capitalise on – presenting, writing, hula hooping, rollerskating – it’s endless!
You know why else it’s great? Because models have never had a voice before. We’re booked for our faces, our walks and our ability to wear terrible clothes and make them look desirable. Because we’ve never had a voice, other people have been able to label us, to insult us and to pigeon hole us: stupid, boring, pointless, anorexic, bad role models…And we couldn’t answer back.
Now we do have a voice! Through your Instagram pictures, your tweets, your ‘extra-curricular’ you can show how great lots of are: we do interesting things with our day, we study…How much we eat! I’ve gone from being ‘just a model’ to a writer, working at Friends of The Earth as a ‘Model and Bee Activist’ and an Ambassador for People Tree – and I didn’t just get that from possessing a symmetrical bone structure! It’s all because of the person I portray in person and in the cyberworld, as well as my writing.
So what I say to you is: DO STUFF. An Instagram feed of selfie’s are excellent and will get you lots of male followers commenting ‘beautiful babe’…But show parts of your life that set you apart as well: perhaps you love working in the dog sanctuary, or maybe you’re keen on yachting. Follow your passions, whether they’re in the fashion industry or completely set apart, because clients want more than just your best facial angle now. They want your whole life to be a fresh angle: they want models to be interesting as well as beautiful and even though it means more work, I also think it’s a wonderful development! I think that’s….
If you don’t know the Fast Show – check it out!!!
I’ll definitely be going into more detail on how to take control and turn yourself into more of a brand, as well as asking fellow models who have gone on to become much more than 5″9 and pretty, including presenters, chefs and actresses, so stay tuned!