The modeling industry is highly competitive and can be difficult to break into. As models, we have to build connections, find the right representation and keep our books up to date all while maintaining our stats. Those things are strenuous enough, but what happens when circumstances out of your control prevent you from going to the next level with your modeling career?
Things were not working out with my agency. I wrote a heartfelt letter telling them we needed to part ways. With one final push, I took a leap of faith and submitted to one of the top agencies in LA. Success! I got a response that they were “very interested” in meeting with me. Now there’s interested, then there’s “very interested.” That’s another level! I was renewed by this opportunity and knew that it could be life changing for me.
Moments often arise when I think back on my years as a young model. The crazy stories, the frustrating ones, and the downright ridiculous. I am convinced that some of these were more like really weird dreams than reality. There’s no way that this stuff would happen in another professional setting. You hear these horror stories about models being taken advantage of and some of them seem like works of fiction, but remember predators often seek out the most vulnerable prey and there’s no shortage of that in modeling. Young impressionable girls are trying to figure out who they are while also trying to book jobs. I’m not saying all of my experiences have been nightmares, because if that were the case I wouldn’t still be waist-deep in this biz. What I am saying is that a wolf will dress up as a sheep, your grandmother, or a commercial director if he thinks he can get what he wants from you while also feeding you the false hope of opportunity. Ok, this may sound a little dramatic, but once I tell you this story you’ll understand.
Don’t Feed The Models were the words on a shirt my old roommate used to wear. I get it. There’s a common misconception that glamazons starve themselves for fashion. That we only eat celery and drink water to prepare for a photo shoot or a fashion show. We never indulge in anything sweet. And that we all have eating disorders. Ha! On the contrary, we do enjoy food. Some of us even like to cook. In this edition of Blank Like A Model, we’ll explore the eating habits of those wild creatures on the catwalk.
About Face explores the lives of some of the world’s most successful models who have mostly retired from the industry. Greats like Isabella Rossellini, Jerry Hall, Christie Brinkley, Pat Cleveland, and Carmen Dell’Orefice are just a few of the extraordinary women featured in this piece. Filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders creates a series of intimate portraits of these legends as they discuss how things were when they were top models, and also the complex relationship between beauty and aging.
Just the other day my friend and I are perusing our fave social networks when we see a few profiles that catch our attention. I decide to check one out since I like connecting with new and interesting people. So, I click and the words “top model” practically jump off the screen. But when I look further at the girl’s bio, she’s just an everyday girl. Immediately my friend I scream out “Oh no she didn’t!” We felt like she was faking the funk by claiming to be a model when she clearly was not. Then again, maybe she’s just speaking it into existence. This brings me to my question:
Can you call yourself a model if you don’t do it professionally?