To say I’m irritated is an understatement, it’s more like infuriated. Here’s what happened. I was booked to do a show nearly three weeks ago. It was a fairly big show, but not one of my largest. I was hesitant about taking it in the first place because the client was very demanding. But my agent insisted that it was worth the hassle. I should have known then.

The first sign was at my initial go-see. We were fairly confident that I would get booked, but we had heard horror stories about this client. I went in with an open attitude. I currently had nothing going on, and I was in need of some more money.

When I showed up, the casting manager immediately sighed and muttered, “1 inch.”

“Excuse me?” I asked, smiling politely.

“I need you to lose an inch from around your waist. You’re too… Well, just lose it okay.”

He then scribbled in his notebook and nodded me away.

Over the next two weeks, I dieted and exercised until my waist was exactly 1 inch smaller. It wasn’t that much of a problem, but it was definitely an inconvenience. Then I got the call from my agent.

“Hey, you’ve booked that show at the end of the month but the client wants all of the models blonde. They’ve also requested that you go exclusive until the actual show.”

“Wait, so I can’t book anything the next three weeks?”

“Yeah, but it will be worth it – you’ll get great exposure on this one..”

So I sat it out but decided to make the most of my time. I posted about my booking on Instagram, showing off my smaller waist. I posted about my fitting. I posted pictures of my newly blonde hair. I figured if I wasn’t allowed to work the next three weeks, I might as well be working on lining up my next contract.

When the day of the show came, I was ready. I had prepared, gotten plenty of sleep and had everyone’s well wishes. I mean, honestly I was more excited about getting it over with than anything else. This one show had tied up so much of my life the last month that my walk down the runway was similar to crossing a finish line. In my mind, I was about to do my victory strut!

Makeup finished, clothed pinned, I was standing in line waiting for the moment of truth to make my big debut. I had butterflies in my tummy, probably because I couldn’t stomach any food for fear of jumping up that one inch. We were on the final run-through, daydreaming about the flashing cameras, the media and publicity that would roll in post show, when suddenly I felt a hard poke on in the shoulder.

“You – out” an assistant wrinkled their nose and pointed at me while speaking into their headset and in the background I see the designer looking at the girls in the line up and pin pointing me and one other to hang our head and be removed from the crop.

I had gotten pulled from the show. It was the other thing this designer was known for –changing his mind. My heart sunk harder than anything I can possibly remember.

As I walked quietly out the door, tears started to run down my mascara all over my face. All I wanted to do was run back and give that designer a piece of my mind, and then push onto the runway and tell everyone in the crowd what a beast they were applauding, how tortured, sad and exhausted every model in the show was, how damaged my poor bleached blond hair was, and how I never would ever model again – but instead, I grabbed a makeup wipe, wiped down my tears and bowed my head underneath my hoodie past the paparazzi to leave the show.

Four years later, I am still modeling and count my lucky stars I didn’t make a scene, but still – no matter how much money I make or how good a client is to me, I will never forget the heartbreak of that moment. It never leaves you.