Follow the journey of a model through the ups and downs of a typical day on the job.
It starts out like any other typical journey for the average disgruntled commuter.
Embarking upon a fairly unpleasant journey via London’s metallic, roaring leviathan otherwise known as the Tube, I begrudgingly check my phone to glance at the time, hoping not to be late. 7:18am. I have twelve minutes to change stations, catch yet another train, and then rely on an unsteadily wavering 3G connection to find my way to work.
Just another day in the office, you ask? Yes, for me it is, because I sheepishly admit that I model part-time. Enduring unorthodox journeys to far-flung nooks of East London and heeding horrific call times are just two such aspects I must adhere to if I want to add a few more pounds to my bank account.
At the shoot, everything is a blur. A conglomerate of garishly bright make up, an array of clothes fit for a princess – or a budding Shoreditch hipster – and a cocktail of foreign languages completely undiscernible to my English ear.
I plop down on my seat, soon to be my best friend for the next couple of hours, bracing myself for the inevitable smattering of aromatic foundation, and eye shadow so asphyxiating and thick that a raccoon would be envious of my appearance.
Meanwhile, the process to prepare my bramble of hair merits an entire article in itself. I feel myself floating in the heady aroma of beauty products, allowing my frame to be yanked, tugged at and scorched by the aggressive bite of hair tongs and straighteners. My reflection no longer reveals a tired girl, adorned with eye bags and a less-than-perky disposition. Rather, I see an alien creature, most likely to be captured and thrown in a zoo if it were to venture out in public.
Every shoot is like this. Having modelled since the age of fifteen, this somewhat tortuous experience comes naturally. I am practically paid to wait around, doing nothing particularly mentally stimulating. I can, however, vouch that my small talk skills are top notch and my ability to pose fully flexed in position, in a bikini, comes second to none.
No amount of staggeringly high shoes or runway shows will ever be able to salvage my lack of talent at walking in heels, but I can say with a fair bit of confidence that incidents involving face-palming the pavement have decreased a pleasing amount.
As if all of that didn’t sound glamorous enough, I have yet to reveal the stunningly well-organised process of casting. It takes me an hour or two to reach the building, whereupon I hand over my portfolio, walk, and maybe even do a twirl if I really want to push myself.
I am sent out having achieved my work in a whopping thirty seconds. If I fail to book the job, there is no informant or notice that tells me. Instead, I take the deadly void of silence as sufficient rejection. If, however, I do manage to hire myself for the day, I am informed a solid eight hours prior to shooting. Certainly enough time to completely drop any important plans I had previously.
Payment is also fairly partitioned. After sacrificing time and your own money to travel and attend castings, you finally land a job for a great amount of money. After three or four months of waiting, you receive your wage in its full, brutally commissioned glory. A palpable shadow of its former self once promised to you by an overly enthusiastic booker.
Yes, this is the world of modelling through a cynical eye. I have chosen, however, not to touch upon the wonders this job has given me – confidence, thick skin, social skills, an opportunity to travel, incredible friends, health and fitness, a chance to be vocal for my own beliefs in this industry. Quite frankly, I think no amount of rain-drenched commutes or incessant emails from an agent can overshadow these priceless rewards.