Modelling is a wildly misunderstood job. There is the idea of what we do — walk runways and attend fabulous parties, which is often a stereotype enforced by TV shows — and then there's the reality, which being a model for around 13 years now, I can tell you it could not be more different from what you might think.
So let me clear a few things up for you all.
Do models get to keep all the clothes?
We never get to keep the clothes. Sometimes during Fashion Week we may get paid in clothes (in industry speak, we call this 'contra'), and if you are friends with a designer you may get to keep an item, but this is rare. On photo shoots the clothes and jewellery can cost more than a deposit on a house, and brands sure aren't going to just gift those away.
Is everyone really bitchy?
Of course, there will always be girls who are less friendly than others, but the majority of the models I have met have been lovely, friendly girls who found themselves in this same unique position as I have.
Models always travel, that must feel like a holiday, right?
Nothing screams 'glamorous' like flying for 20 hours, going straight from the plane to a photo shoot set, working a 14 hour day in freezing weather (swimsuits always shoot in winter), then going from the beach back to the airport to shower, hop on another 20 hour flight, straight to location, work another 12 hours straight. You get the drift. Yes, the travel is amazing, but it's not a holiday — it's work. You don't just clock off at the end of the day and return to your home and family.
How do models find success?
This isn't a job for the faint-hearted. The most successful models are willing to work hard and pass up every major personal milestone, spend hours in the gym, and get lots of sleep (your skin has to be in tip-top shape).
Successful models dedicate time to growing a personality outside of work, by continuing their education and building meaningful relationships with their clients. But most importantly, they understand that it is a fickle job. They save their money, invest wisely, and future-proof their brand.
Modelling has shown me the world, and through it, I've been lucky to meet some of my closest friends. It has also handed me some of the hardest mental challenges, and put me in positions I would never want my future daughter to deal with. But I have come out stronger for it. And I would not change a thing.
Treating it as a job, seeing it for what it is, and staying true to my boundaries has made modelling an incredible experience for me, and not a day goes by when I don't feel fortunate to do what I do.