Hi Bridget ,
I am a big fan of yours and your post are so cool .
I always wanted to be a model but now that I have read your experiences I am really unsure if I should even try it . I am really an introvert and I dont know if I could handle all that body pressure . But it is really my dream . What should I do ?
Hi there! Thank you for your message 😀 I am far from cool, but I am glad my writing is something relatable out there!
I know my recent posts have been shining a light on the extreme pressures put on young women, but modeling is a job I have stuck at for twelve years now. There is so much about it and the fashion industry that I truly love, and I am so thankful for the life that has been given to me by my job. I think being aware of possible negatives is number one to not being blindsided and having the freedom to really make an informed decision with modeling.
First off – if you have the opportunity to be signed to a great agency, I think you owe it to yourself to give it a go. I don’t believe in a life that is so safe that you talk yourself out of anything that scares you. That to me is not living. I have spent a lot of time feeling out of my comfort zone in this job, but I have grown so hugely from it. I have a freedom moving around the world, and friends in so many places. Plus a good bank account and worldliness. I have also battled disordered eating, extreme insecurity and anxiety and burn out. But at the end of the day, I am still here. I could have quit (and I did come close many a time). But this job pushes me in ways that I enjoy. It has given me a platform, and as I have gotten older, I have found my voice around a subject that means a huge amount to me. So modeling is not all bad. Every job has its downsides, and as far as jobs go, modeling is an absolute gift.
Introvert to introvert, I would advise you to really know exactly what you need to stay sane and healthy. It took me a long time to realize that I was an introvert, and to recognize what I needed. I wished that I could keep up with my beloved extroverted friends night after night, but I just couldn’t do it and stay healthy. For me it is about saving my energy when I know I have a lot of work coming up, and really making sure that my down time was down time. On jobs I need my time out after shooting all day, and I need to ensure that I spend some time in a dark quiet room recovering. I learned this after trying to socialize and finding myself unable to sleep, with my mind whirring and feeling stressed and wired. So first and foremost, know yourself. Know what you like and do not like, and never allow those boundaries to be crossed.
Carry this self knowledge into all aspects of modeling. I am extremely selective about any nudity I do, and I did not do anything in this realm until I was around 22. And that was with an extremely prestigious photographer. I have not done any since, because I have no desire to. And I will not cross this boundary on set. If I know and trust the photographer then we can have a conversation about it. But I have very clearly defined limits in my head and they allow me to feel safe and secure in my job.
I keep coming back to know yourself. Dedicate your time to growing your interests and your sense of self. Meditation has been a huge tool for me for getting in touch with signals from my body. I feel that growing up I learned to suppress a lot of emotion, to be a good girl and not to get too assertive. But through mindfulness practices like meditation I learned how to listen to cues from my body. I learned what it was like to pay attention to emotions and how that manifests in my body. From there I learned how to cognitively deal with them and stand my ground. This is an essential part of being a human. Allow yourself to take up space in your life, and stand up for yourself.
I would encourage you to ask yourself why a lot. Why is modeling your dream – why do you want so badly to do it? Modeling is a fantastic job. But it is a job at the end of the day. I would highly recommend against going into it to feel important or even properly seen. Because it is a job that comes with a huge amount of pressure. I have started to outline that pressure, and at times I have completely cracked under it. I looked to modeling to give me something that I couldn’t identify, and by the time I had finally pulled myself out I had done some serious damage to my mental health. So I would really spend some time with yourself and identify your reasons why. Modeling should be approached as an amazing opportunity to see the world, make some great money, and gain some life experience. That is it. Anything more is a bonus. And anything else in the world of modeling that pulls you from that path should be isolated and scrutinized.
With exercise and nutrition I have the following advice. Coming from experiencing the extreme of both directions – it is always the middle path that works. When you are balanced, it is reflected out to those around you, and they are drawn to you. Eat well. Do not deprive yourself, but do not go overboard with the deserts. There is a time and a place for them, but maybe not every single day. Do not be afraid of entire food groups, and do not try to follow weird diets. Eat when you are hungry, and stop when you are full. Exercise to feel good, not until you cannot move from the couch. If any time you feel guilt coming in after eating something look at it in the face and ask why it is there. Clearly define your limits and how far you are willing to go for this job. And if the time comes that you feel you are getting too close to them, maybe it is time to reassess your situation.
Finally, I would seriously advise you to maintain interest in other subjects in your life. By keeping myself engaged and interested in other things such as oboe and studying, I have managed to keep my head above ground. Not getting jobs doesn’t really bother me, and I have never been too engaged in following the gossip and trends of the industry. Whilst I certainly had my goals in the industry, and was so happy to have achieved them, I never got swept up in the noise that accompanies this line of work. So keep yourself learning and engaging in new things. Because that brings me to my final point…
Modeling does not last forever. Save and invest your money, and keep your eyes focused on what you want to do next. More importantly, keep your eyes focused on who you want to be in the world. And do not let modeling pull you from that course.
I hope this helps!