By an anonymous model
There are regular models, and then there are supermodels.
The difference is pretty darn obvious.
The regular model attends the cattle calls and does a lot of shoots for free, that’s the way it is. In between the casting calls, they generally also have a regular job to pay the bills, juggling their time as the rat race harasses every waking moment. They work hard for regular clients, all the time keeping mentally alert for the Big Job that may launch them to superstardom.
As a supermodel, everyone knows your name. You’re shooting with the industry leaders, for the real big bucks, hitting the Victoria’s Secret runways and having people beg to take your photo at red carpet events. Your Instagram notifications have to be turned off because you’re hitting high 900k followers and most likely, you will often be seen dancing on yachts with the likes of Justin Bieber.
And then you have me; skirting that fine line between the two, which has been excruciating. Here, I explain why…
I stared modeling at 15 and my rise to stardom happened so quickly that it all seems like a blur now. I guess you could pin it down to that one casting where I was at the right place, at the right time. The art director saw something in me and felt I was the right model for a Vogue shoot; I had arrived. Being Vogue material attracted attention, so very quickly, everyone wanted a piece of me. I enjoyed my spot in the sun for quite a while…
The problem, I quickly realized, was that all the cool mags and top designers don’t need to pay for talent. There is no severance pay in modelling; big bucks one minute, no bucks the next! It’s really just about the circle you need to be in to make it in this industry. That’s what any agent will tell you.
My agent was right. For a brief moment, I became I star. Photographers, designers and stylist started to recognize my face and learned my name. I most certainly wasn’t Kate Moss, but in the industry, I was an ‘it’ girl, the flavor of the month…. That was until, all of a sudden, the next ‘it’ girl came along and I was instantly a second thought to all.
While I had become a recognized name, I was now back to square one, trying to fight for my chance at being ‘the one to watch,’ again. I hadn’t made any real money even during my most successful period, which highlights just how tenuous this profession is.
I hadn’t made it to the top, but I was hanging on by a thin thread, and that thread was suddenly holding more than it could handle. I was living the life of a star in the papers. In reality though, I was flat broke.
I couldn’t even cover my rent month to month and I had exhausted my agency advances to the point where they cut me off.
So then the moral dilemma; do I do the free jobs just to get inside the circle again? Or do I hold my status proud and wait for that big job to come to that once Vogue ‘it’ girl?
My decision was to maintain my status. I had to be smart and keep up appearances. A sort of fake it till you make it rule. I knew enough people to be seen at the right parties, and I would float around with friends, tagging along at dinner parties and events. When the cheque would arrive, I would suddenly disappear to the rest room, and on two occasions, I just shut the door and cried.
I had been living a lie and I couldn’t let my guard down, because let’s be honest, no one finds desperation attractive. I couldn’t show weakness and so I never did.
It would be so great to tell you there was a fairy tale ending to this, but no, I’m still just doing everything I can to hold traction; holding onto the the proverbial thread.
I’m still shooting the high fashion editorials that pay a pittance. I’m featured on every industry blog and I’m occasionally the first girl out on the runway. I’m the model that most fashion girls know, but no boyfriend has ever heard of.
Not just another model, but not yet super. So here we are; living the life of the high fashion ‘it’ girl… Flat broke, but oh, so famous!