My first insight into the modelling industry began early in 2015; a time when I was still in sixth form. When I was first scouted I had absolutely no reason to see why they had given me a second look and jokingly told my dad about it expecting him to disapprove of the idea and to just focus on swimming (which I did competitively at the time) and my studies. Despite this, my dad, friends and family told me to go for it and were completely supportive of me applying and respectively getting signed.
Since that time, I have been signed with three different agencies, and have gained experience in both shoots and runway, and experienced the opertunity of modelling internationally.
Despite these experiences which from an outsiders perspective may look wonderful, there are many things I have learned whilst modelling which means there are some flaws in the positive experiences I’ve had, as well as some valuable life lessons and skills I have come across.
So firstly, has been the self confidence of my body image I have gained/ lost with modelling.
To a large extent modelling has made me embrace aspects of myself which I’d originally seen as a flaw- which is of course primarily my freckles. Whilst when I was younger I used to try and cover them up completely, I now embrace them as much as possible as they are a unique feature of myself & a major feature which has allowed me to stand out during my modelling career and to get chosen for specific castings. Furthermore, whilst in the past I hated being tall and completely thought of myself as unattractive/ unappealing, modelling has eventually allowed me to embrace the positive comments from clients/ agencies and outsiders on social media which has really improved my confidence since being at school.
On the other hand, the industry which is known to be ‘brutal’ in the way models are seen as a commodity as oppose to real people, has and continues to knock my confidence over my body shape.
Despite my agency being completely supportive of my look, as well as many clients such as Bridal clients, the strict measurement regulations of the Industry as a whole has prevented me from many opportunities in the past. As a U.K. Size 10, I have been rejected from a top Manchester agency, a Milan Agency, and from numerous runways merely due to my ‘hips being too big’.
Although I try to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regime, the reality of losing weight to achieve these goals which could be possible, would mean to give up on certain exercise, stop drinking on nights out and to significantly limit my diet. At university this is very unrealistic and so it is difficult trying to get a correct balance of wanting to expand my career as a model, whilst equally enjoying my time at uni. I have seen many models who have an identical diet or exercise regime to me yet hve a naturally slim frame, meaning they automatically fit the modelling ideals and can persue with many top opportunities.
Linked to self confidence is the use of social media as a way of marketing myself as a model. At first I resisted posting many photos on my social media due to fears of appearing vain and fearing the response from friends, yet after a really positive reaction and comments really boosting my confidence I started being proud to post photos from shoots and jobs I was doing.
In recent years, many will know that Instagram is becoming the main method of promoting yourself as a model and so Eventually, I chose to separate my main modelling account to my social and home life account and so made a separate account for family and friends.
Overall I have continued to gain a positive response on social media and the comments and likes on my account really do brighten my day, however with the positives there are some negatives I have experienced during this. Mainly, has been the response from people ‘close’ to me who tend to mock the amount I post on social media or laugh at the content of what I am posting. Although they are mainly joking, I often find it frustrating to explain that I am using my social media account as a means of providing an online portfolio to clients and so the more I post , the more business opportunities I am likely to receive.
Alongside this, I have often experienced random messages or experienced real life experiences of people unknown to me or occasionally known to me which have have been responses.
Many are compliments or general support about modelling, yet I have had numerous occasions of people merely viewing me in a sexual nature or because I model, as oppose to taking me seriously or wanting to get to know me. It sounds stupid to say but there have been occasions of people popping up to me for literally one thing which really knocks your self worth. (I know regardless of how I phrased that, it will sound completely conceited, however Sometimes being seen merely as a ‘model’ can be quite demoralising in the way people react to it. )
A major breakthrough which really has improved my year this year and has made my hard work modelling and on social media worthwhile, has been the opportunity of becoming a Boux Avenue and a Coconut Lane ambassador. Both schemes have finally made me realise it is possible to achieve what you think you can’t, or that it is possible to be those people on social media you didn’t think you could ever relate to.
Overall, whilst having the potential to make you love and hate yourself alternately on a daily basis, I am pleased with the progress I have made as a model and the opportunities it has brought me through learning the skills of social media. Although there have been friends or outsiders who have been negative or have mocked me, and times I have considered dramatically losing weight to suit some markets of modelling, the overall experience has taught me to embrace the qualities I have. I intend on continuing learning life skills of trying to be proud of what I have achieved so far and to care less about what people think of me, which hopefully will result in a positive future.