WORKING AS A MODEL
Having been working in the modelling industry since I was 16 years old, with modelling as my main income for the last 6 years - this kind of strange world is all completely normal to me at this point. I mean, this is part of my everyday life here in London, so I don’t think much about it and how it might seem like a strange and alien industry to others.
I only really noticed after recently spending a two weeks long holiday back in Norway. There I found myself getting a lot of the same questions asked over and over again, questions about things I just take for granted I guess.
So I thought I’d write a post and tell you a bit about how my, and the other ‘THE 4 OF US’ girls, job works).
One thing people often ask me is how I get my jobs, and if I have an agent. The answer to that is yes, I do have an agent, a modelling agency, representing me called MOT models. They are the ones in touch with various clients who might want to use me for a photo shoot. It is the bookers at MOT who put me forward when brands send them a pitch for jobs, and it is also them who take care of the bookings, the payment and all other details that might need to be covered prior to and after a modelling job.
It is also MOT who send me to castings. We usually get our casting information sent to us the day before, so it all quite last minute - but that’s just how it works. In a day I can have anything from 1 to 5-6 castings all depending on what season we are in etc. And of course, some days there are no castings at all. If I have several castings in one day, I then end up spending the whole day travelling - sitting on the underground mostly. Audiobooks are whats saving me on those days!
At castings, you usually have to go in and show the client your portfolio (a book of previous work - images of yourself basically). The client looks through the images, ask you a few questions and then they take some photos of you. It’s fairly straightforward. To this, the response from people who don't work in this industry is often ‘isn’t it scary to go in for castings, where people are judging your looks and personality?’. Honestly, at this point I don't really get nervous anymore - it has become such a normal and familiar process to me by now.
However, when I first moved to London and started going to castings (in Norway it was always direct bookings), I was terrified! I still remember my first casting. It was for a fairly small brand who were creating a lookbook for their new Spring/Summer collection. The casting was near Carnaby Street and my boyfriend, Ben, kindly drove me there. I was an absolute mess and didn’t sleep at all the previous night. Once I got to their showroom, I was asked to try and a few items. The very first thing I put on was tiny, and not stretchy at all - I was determined to get into it anyway though and decided to pull it over my head and there was no way I would get it over my hips. I then found myself with my arms in the air, halfway into the dress and completely stuck!! My goodness, the feeling of panic not able to move, with the dress also covering my face, was unbearable - yet I was not going to let the client see me in my underwear with my upper body stuck in one of their dresses, so I couldn't ask anyone for help. After what felt like forever, I miraculous managed to get the dress on properly - and I walked out to do my first casting. It was, of course, a nightmare getting it off as well and the client must have wondered what was taking me so very long. I left all flustered, disappointed and embarrassed and was completely shocked when I two days later found out that I got the job!
I guess that castings are sort of like small job interviews. We go in, present ourselves and what we can offer, all in the hope of getting a job. So in a way, models go to job interviews several times a day, every day of the week. Some castings are much scarier than others, the normal ones consisting of a chat and a few photos are totally fine to attend. But sometimes (kind of often), you are asked to improvise a scenario of some sort which they tell you about there and then, already filming. So without knowing anything about it before going into the casting-room, they might throw something really silly at you, like 'improvise some dancing whilst imagine you are in a magical forest' - without music of course. You can probably imagine that it's not awkward at all dancing around a room full of people watching you with absolutely no music... Not that having music on would make the situation that much better, hehe. But you see my point - Castings are so much fun! :P
Each job is of course very unique, the brand, location and the team are usually different each time. What's required of you as a model is also quite varied from job to job. But what tends to happen is that you get a booking confirmation and call sheet the day before a job, telling you when and where to show up. When arriving the model usually goes straight into hair and makeup, which can sometimes take a couple of hours. Once beautified by a talented hair and makeup team the work starts. For e-commerce shoot (website lookbook type images like when shopping at Asos for example) you tend to shoot a large number of outfits per day, and the goal is to get as much done in a day. However, for things like beauty campaigns, we might shoot the same look for several hours without changing the styling and makeup. For these type of images, the detail in each shot is the main focus and it can take hours getting the light, angle, and look exactly right. Then, of course, it's the jobs where you get filmed rather than photographed for still-photos. These jobs are usually for TV and online Commercial and it's often a big production - much bigger than with still-life shoots. I love TV commercial shoots, as there are so much going on and it adds a whole other element to the model's performances, having to act things out whilst being directed and filmed rather than posing for a camera. If that makes sense?
Bye Bye for now!
I'm gonna end it here I think. There's, of course, a lot more to say about working as a model, but I promised myself (and the other girls) that I would keep this post fairly short, as the general feedback we hear is that people don't like to read too much text. But I just can't help myself - this post is already pretty long! Oh well, hope at least some of you liked it! :p