Why I’m Thankful To Modelling
When you haven’t worked in 3 weeks, you’re looking at your size 8 body and worrying that your thighs look fat and your booker calls you up with a last minute casting in zone 4 for a job you know you’re never going to get for a client who never even looks at your book, it can be hard to love modelling.
But every now and then I do or experience something that I think ‘modelling gave me that.’ Shout out if you agree with the below, and I’d love to hear what modelling’s given YOU in the comments below!
1) My ‘devil-may-care’ attitude
OK this discounts the daily anxiety I feel about money/pensions/will I ever work again/am I too old for modelling BUT!
My modelling, blogging and writing send me into all sorts of situations. On Saturday, I went to review an afro beats/dancehall exercise class in Brixton where I was the tallest, gangliest, most uncoordinated person in the room and did it matter? NO! Because I’ve learned that if you’re going to do something a bit embarrassing, it’s much better to just throw yourself in than look all self-conscious and too-cool-for-school.
This is because since the age of 16 I have been dressed up, essentially, as a naked dead Victorian lumberjack in Epping forest. I have worn lingerie in front of huge teams of people. I have had to pretend to stroke an imaginary unicorn and look sad when it runs away. I’ve been told to dance at 9am and I’ve had more fake boyfriends and husbands than I can remember.
Getting to snog this male model, Andrew, on three separate shoots is another reason I’m rather grateful to modelling….
I think us models forget how self-conscious many other people are, because we are so inured to, well, shame. And it means we really get to experience life because we’ll probably be in another country tomorrow, anyway.
2) My (often fake) Confidence
Since a very young age, we’ve been able to walk into a room, shoulders back, heels on, say hello to a panel of people detachedly judging us and make polite small talk whilst subtly displaying our best angles.
I still feel nervous when I get to a shoot! Or when I have a big casting! But no one would know cos I’ve learned to fake it til I make it, and that really is a skill that’ll serve us well throughout life.
3) I Think I’m Beautiful
Modelling gives us an objective appreciation of our good and bad points. So while I know that I don’t have e-com perfect thigh-gappy thighs, very toned arms or the cellulite-free legs that my airbrushed pictures suggest…I also love my big eyes, my long thick eyelashes, my shapely waist and my thick hair. I work them all in pictures and I look after them every day and I LOVE them. And even my ever-retouched nose is actually one of my favourite features.
I’m sure many models out there, no matter how self-deprecating we are, have things about them that they know are extra-special and take advantage of in shoots, be it ultra long legs, piercing eyes, an atypical nose, pouty mouth, gap teeth. We can think it objectively, not vainly, because we make money from these things.
It’s only when you talk to people outside of the modelling world you realise – Dear God, no one knows what makes them special! People are so self-conscious of bushy eyebrows/flat chests/big bums/pale skin and it’s so sad because we learn, from an early age, that it’s what makes us different that is what makes us stunning.
I’m a fan of my nose!
So even though modelling can grind down our confidence in some (many) aspects, relish the ways in which it gives you confidence and spread that out to everyone you know!
4) I Worry About Money, But I’m Not All About The Money
Things I spend my money on: raw cacao, mortgage (for others rent), bills, nude thongs, face creams, travel, coconut oil.
Things many of my friends in ‘gainful’ employment spend their money on: rent/mortage, face creams, coconut oil, travel…Flat screen TV, work clothes, work socialising, shoes they don’t really need, meals out, presents for people in the office, the latest gadgets, STUFF.
When your job is pretty much selling all this ‘stuff’, you don’t really need a lot of said stuff. Most models have spent so long being nomads that even when we’re settled we don’t amass a great deal. In terms of clothes, we generally have loads of jeans, a fair few boots, casual trainers, heels for castings, workout trainers, vest tops, a leather jacket, a warm coat and a really nice dress we got free from a designer. A big jumper and workout clothes and a blazer once we are older and ‘commercial’ and that is basically every model’s wardrobe. At the back of most drawers are the American Apparel ‘disco pants’ that we all bought and wore with a body for one season, too. Aside from that, we haven’t done trends. Our style has barely changed since we were aged 16.
Basically what I’m saying is that, despite a reputation for being materialistic airheads, our peripatetic lifestyle has actually freed us from the clutches of materialism. We get to dress up in fancy clothes and get fancy make up at work. The rest of the time we can lounge around in yoga harems and let our skin and hair breathe. We don’t invest in things like TVs and cushions because we can’t fit it in a suitcase.
5) Not Having To See The Same People Every Day
I know this sounds really mean. But I’d just hate to see the same people day in and day out. While I despise the lack of security I get with modelling and money, I also love the lack of routine and the variety of people I meet. And of course I love working with regular clients and the intense bonding on trips, but having to share an office with the same people every day, who don’t wash up mugs properly and who sneeze all over your keyboard and steal pens and do the same annoying things all the time…I couldn’t hack it. Or rather, one day I might have to hack it but I’m glad I’ve avoided it for so long.
6) I Am Unselfconscious About My Looks
This is sort of 1-3 combined. I can go out without make up. I can have a massive spot on my face and be only moderately shy about it. I can wear the most disgusting slobby outfit to the shops. I can have frizzy ‘bad hair days’ and wear the last of the clean clothes that look terrible together. I WAS NU RAVE!
This is because I know that I *can* look really great on a shoot. I can be sophisticated, I can be a bride, I can look sexy. That knowledge frees me up to be the local cat-and-bag-lady rolled into one that I am, my true self.
The Real Me (lucky Theo)
I’d love to hear what you’re grateful to modelling for.