What Does Getting Scouted Feel Like?!
I would be lying if I said that, throughout my life, I hadn’t dreamt of getting scouted. There were different ways I got scouted, and it wasn’t always for modelling. Perhaps Tony from East 17….
…(showing my age) would see me in the crowd, intuiting from my face that I was different to the other girls, fall in love with me, and we’d be married. Other scenarios included discovering that I was actually a princess (this was pre-Princess Diaries) or a talent scout discovering my untapped acting genius in a school play. Being scouted as a model seemed even less likely than these scenarios, bearing in mind that I looked like this:
Though I have to say, I am still wearing outfits not dissimilar to that today.
I actually got scouted then rejected three times before I was signed to an agency, so it had lost it’s heart-fluttering, dreams-coming-true-yness by the third and final time, but I can remember each encounter so vividly.
I’ll focus on the first time, for now. Models 1 scouted me in Topshop, Oxford Circus on a Saturday. I was wearing a tiny crop top and huge flares, and train track braces adorned my sizeable teeth. So this is what happened: a lady walked up to me, purposefully, and I kind of knew what she was doing because I had watched a lady from Models 1 talk about scouting girls in Topshop on Lorraine Live not long before. Also she was wearing a Models 1 T shirt.
What’s weird is that in that instant you’re madly excited, but you also feel enormously, massively awkward. No one prepares you for this scenario! How does one act? Plus I was with my best friend. No one wants to be the friend that isn’t scouted, really, do they? Well I sensed that my best friend at the time, who could sometimes be a little fragile emotionally, certainly wouldn’t enjoy the implied rejection. I just had no idea how to handle being scouted whilst not letting her feel hurt.
Then the lady started talking to me, asking if I’d ever considered modelling, to which I lied, shyly, “no.” Obviously, like most girls, I’d considered it – and tossed aside this ridiculous dream! She said I had a great look (like they say on the TV shows!) and asked to take a Polaroid. This part is SOOO awkward. This was before the days of endless selfie-taking helping us become more aware of our best angles, and before the days of digital cameras with their blessed delete button. Pre-modelling I, like everyone else, tended to either give a forced, close lipped smile (to hide the braces) or (more commonly) avert my face as much as possible. It’s very tough to look into the camera and decide how to arrange your face, knowing that with a single shot your future might be altered. After taking the Polaroid, the lady smiled and said she might be in touch.
Walking away, my heart raced and I tried not to smile, aware that my friend might be hurt. It is a bit harsh, isn’t it – it feels like they’re saying ‘you’re pretty enough,’ to the scouted, and, ‘you’re not,’ to their unscouted friends. As I described in my previous blog post, it turned out that modelling is not about being straightforwardly pretty, but about being strangely beautiful. All the way home, my mind raced with daydreams of glamour, riches and camera flashes, all the while being dampened down by my rational side which told me ‘you won’t even get signed’. Meanwhile my sensitive side tried to quieten down this huge excitement that was pulsing round my body so as not to upset my friend.
All-in-all, being scouted is an instantaneous mini-rollercoaster; great, exhilarating, awful, unsettling, queasy and fun – don’t take it seriously. As I very quickly learnt, after being summarily rejected by Models 1 the next weekend – in most cases, nothing further will come of it…
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