I won’t lie, I was living the good life when I was working as a model. Everything I’d grown up imaging about the realities of a modelling career were true. Big pay checks, overseas trips, fabulous parties, free entry, designer clothes and an impossibly beautiful posse alongside me wherever I went. The more success I earned and the more money I made; the bigger the perks I enjoyed. And I couldn’t get enough. It felt like a dream, I wasn’t even anywhere near as popular or famous as a model can really be, comparatively I was fairly unknown outside of the fashion circles I ran in. It had me thinking, if things were this good now, how much better can they be?
During the peak of my career, I was sharing a Soho apartment with another model friend of mine and was travelling overseas at least once a fortnight for work. At the time, I was loving life and beyond having to fight off serious cravings for nacho’s and working out even when I didn’t feel like it, I really couldn’t fault anything about my life.
Now though, when I think back on that time, I think I was masking my problems with all of the glamour and freebies because I was scared of looking like I didn’t appreciate the fortunate life I was living… I’d built up such a thick skin that I think I had made myself immune to being really in touch with my own fears, feelings and worries.
It wasn’t until fashion month rolled around and I was staring at my schedule (which was way more packed than I’d ever seen it before) that all the numbers I was seeing began to overwhelm me. Forty-five days, five countries, seven flights, countless catwalks and a number of other jobs in between. It was my first really hectic block of work and whilst I felt proud of my success and excited for all of the opportunity, I couldn’t shake the feeling of a stomach full of butterflies. Probably the most triggering though, were the numbers that made up measurements my agent had sent me. The thing about these measurements was that they weren’t mine, they were what I was expected to be when I showed up to all of the castings and fittings across the upcoming fashion month.
I did my best to power through and push aside any feelings or anxiety and trepidation and for the most part, it worked. I put myself onto a strict diet and exercise regimen that led right up until my first casting for New York fashion week and went about living as I had before.
It wasn’t until I was nearing the end of my schedule that I began to lose grip on life. New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks were all through and I was back in New York doing a look book shoot for a local designer when, whilst sitting in the hair and makeup chair, I began to break down. I was absolutely exhausted. I felt like I could barely move. Every stroke of the hairstylist’s brush through my completely destroyed hair, a causality of being overworked during fashion month, felt like my skull was being pulled from shoulders. I was covered in acne, had missed my period and was the thinnest I had been in three years, about 9 pounds down on my weight during my first fitting for the season.
I called my agent, feeling completely miserable and overwhelmingly guilty for not being able to perform my best for the job I was on. To my complete shock, she told me I needed to suck it up and do the shoot.
The next call I made was to my Mom, begging her to come and pick me up.
Thankfully, the designer called me an Uber and sent me home with genuine fear for my welfare. Later that night, my parents had driven from their home inter-state and helped me pack all of my belongings into the car. I was done with modelling and was leaving New York.
I haven’t really looked back since. Sure there’s things I miss. Living in LA now, I do miss the buzz of New York City every now and then and wish I could keep in closer contact with some of the friends I made during my adventures. When I sit in my economy seat on overseas trips I reminisce about the times I was paid to take glamorous trips but I don’t feel sad. I feel calm. I was so fatigued when I quit modelling. I was looking at myself in the mirror and all the perks of the job just couldn’t justify the way that I was feeling in that moment.
I was recently asked by a friend that if my future daughter wanted to get into modelling, would I let her? And you know, I probably would. Modelling can provide you with such incredible opportunities but my god would I make sure I protected her as much as possible from the struggles I faced.
I think everyone in the Fashion industry has a responsibility to protect these young girls that have the world handed to them without proper warning of how quickly the world actually spins when you’re holding it in your hand. I think that’s why I felt compelled to write this story. If nothing else, I hope reading this can at least make one person create even the smallest of changes to better theirs, or another models life.