Hi! I'm a 16 year old girl from Melbourne, Aus (it's so great to see Aussies so successful in the modelling world, love ya!) My whole life people have told me I should model (teachers, internship supervisors, even randoms in supermarkets) and I was actually scouted once but didn't follow it up. Still not sure if I want to get into the industry etc. So my questions for you are, 1) is it really really mentally pressuring and difficult to be in the industry? 2) is moving to New York and living in a model apartment/first apartment really as bad as it seems?
And 3) if you could give me some other advice, I'm currently at this crossroads with wanting to follow up modelling and obviously still going to school but not applying myself as much to extracurriculars vs just focusing on my grades (as I'm quite academic focused) and my high level extracurriculars/ university courses in year 12. If you could give some general insight on the sacrifices one has to make for modelling and all that would be amazing.
Sorry if this is too long. You're amazing and you're literally my favourite model! :)
Hi there! Thank you for your sweet words!
If you are 16 years old and in year 12, my instinct is to just say focus on finishing year 12, and start modeling when you’re done. Have the experience of school – it isn’t about grades, it is about enjoying your final real carefree years before adulthood begins. If you are academically inclined then I feel like you owe it to yourself to really apply yourself to your studies and your extracurricular activities and get the most out of that. Then once you have applied to your universities, maybe look at a gap year or two.
Modeling scouts have this way of making you believe that you need to start ASAP in the industry, and it just is not true. My career only really got good in my early 20’s and I was scouted at 14. And whilst I tried to do both modeling and school, I spent my final year of high school focusing only on schoolwork – something I am really glad I did. Modeling is a fantastic job, and it is a job that I really enjoy and get a lot of satisfaction from. However it is not for everyone, and the only way to find out if you like it is to go and experience it. High school only comes around once though, and you are only young and carefree once, so enjoy it. Life will happen soon enough.
I also have noticed that models are getting older and having much longer careers than they used to, thanks to social media. The most successful girls are the ones who are smart and who have interests outside of the industry. This last point is crucial – there is no way I could have kept up my job for 11 years if I didn’t have other interests. So use this time to grow (which it sounds like you are doing anyway) and really get to know yourself. The fashion world is like no other, and it takes a strong person not to get caught up in it all, and spat out the other side.
So to answer your questions:
It can be tough. You have to have a thick skin, and know how to present yourself. But it can also be hugely rewarding. This all depends on how you take to it; for me the benefits outweigh the negatives, and I have learned how to deal with the bad points in a good way. A key coping mechanism is a life outside of my job.
I never had a bad experience to be honest. I only lived in a model apartment for a few weeks before I got my own place, but I met some cool people in the apartments. It really is luck of the draw! If you have a good, reputable agency and are comfortable around other people, you will be fine. Moving to New York was strange and exciting, and I love/hate that city with a passion. It is very much home and feels small to me now, but it was a definite change from Australia. Again – just depends on your personality.
As far as sacrifices, when I was in year 10 and 11 I juggled work and school. In year 12 I only studied. I know girls who gave up going to their year 12 formals, who have missed birthday parties and weddings, and who had to drop out of school because they found it too hard to do both. I didn’t find it too bad, I had to get very organized (which I am naturally luckily) and had amazing teachers who made sure I got all my work ahead of time. I did have to miss social events, but again, not too bad. I have not made it to any of my friends 18th birthdays or 21st’s however, and I haven’t celebrated a birthday at home with family since I was 17.
If my daughter was in your position, I think I would encourage her to focus on school and enjoying her youth first and foremost. There will always be time to model – and always time for school – but you are only young and under your parents roof once. Enjoy the last few years of growing up, because they are pretty fun. Once you have finished school, and have deferred university, give modeling a year. If you hate it and are miserable, then you have your answer. And if you are thriving, then that’s even better! There is always time for a university degree.
I hope this helps!