Twenty-four castings, five go-sees, six auditions and zero jobs. It’s safe to say that the start of my modelling career was not dripping with bountiful opportunities.
I’d been in dance classes, acting classes, speech and drama classes and even a modelling workshop throughout my childhood. I was tall, thin, toned and tan. On paper, I’d had all of the experience you’d think a girl could need to break into the industry as a model and actress. But when I moved from my rural hometown to the city, I quickly learnt that being a model on paper, doesn’t make you a model in real life.
I got signed to a small talent agency in the city a couple of days before I graduated. I wasn’t promised anything but it was strongly suggested that there were already a line-up of roles and jobs waiting for me to fill them once I made my move. I knew I wouldn’t become a star overnight but I honestly thought I’d be able to support myself and get a little exposure to the industry.
I was living in a share house so rent wasn’t crazy expensive and I’d gotten a casual job at a café to tide me over until I started modelling more so the free food made my living expenses pretty manageable. That was until I began having to give away or cancel my shifts to be able to make it to the castings and auditions my agent was sending me to. I honestly did mind skipping paid work for a casting but apparently my landlord minded when I came up short on rent for a couple of weeks in a row.
You see, I was walking into castings full of optimism and although I felt like I was giving them my best, I kept on getting turned down in favour of girls that really weren’t all that different to me. After going to twenty-four castings, five go-sees and six auditions without booking a single job or making a single cent, I had a realistic chat with myself and decided that for the meantime, I needed to bow out of the industry to be able to get a job that paid me real money.
I called my agent and told him that I was out, I quit modelling. It wasn’t as simple as tearing up my contract but he understood because he’d felt the same frustration as I did every time I was turned down for a job. However, the very next day, he called me at 7pm and told me that a well-known fashion label wanted me to work as their fit model. It was only a part-time gig but it promised a steady income earning more than I ever did working at the café so really, what did I have to lose? I treated the job as if it were just income while I looked for something outside of modelling that was full-time.
As you can probably tell from the title of my story though, that job as a fit model lead to shooting the look book and next season ad campaign for the brand and the following year to the opening spot in their runway show. Walking at fashion week, it was as if I now that I’ve walked one show, I can walk them all, because the next season I walked five shows and the next even more than that.
The modelling work eventually led to some small acting gigs. I kept a casual job throughout my whole career so I don’t know if I will ever consider myself as having ‘made-it’ but my experience certainly taught me that there’s no good time to give up on your dreams. Hard work pays off in the end.