You know that nagging feeling you get when there is something you have to get off your chest? Well, I have been having this feeling for a little while now. In my mid-teens, I was always referred to as the "ugliest child" in the family. So can you imagine the surprise when Nikki from Ford Models of Canada called me into the agency office one Tuesday afternoon!?
When I got signed with Ford it was by accident. I walked in to the agency office on Adelaide Street with a friend who wanted to be a model. As she filled out the "personal stats" form, I took the form as well and goofed around trying to fill it out too. Not knowing any of my own personal stats like height or weight, most of the form was left unfilled. It was a surprise when Nikki (I will never forget her name) gave me a call one day informing me to come in as she described my physical appearance perfectly. How could she remember the colour of the Club Monaco jacket I wore to the office a few days prior let alone the fabric? As soon as I got in she sent me to a Arlene Malakia who then asked me to strip to my panties (arrrrrr) and wrapped me in a make-shift torn burlap sack fabric. "Stand there." "Look over here." Flash, as she began taking pictures, shots which became instant profile shots for my portfolio. From then on I was on one high after another as I would meet photographers, fellow models, stylist, make-up artists who gushed over my petite frame, calling the "black Kate Moss". Who is that? I had no clue who she was. Being signed as a Ford Model was a huge ego booster for this often berated, former street food hawker (Confession #1)
My life as a model was sweet and at the same time frustrating (confession #2). I had many adoring supporters and colleagues. There were some haters but not enough to make me super famous like Christy Turlington or Naomi Campbell. I enjoy being liked too much to be concerned with revelling in the idea that you have some haters (confession #3). That is not to say you don't deserve all of the hate mail you will get because some models have a huge attitude problem (not including yours truly...I was only an insecure angel...LOL).
I was such a novice. A completely naïve, innocent 19 year old going on 12 years in the ways of the world (confession # 4). Wait, naïve? Yep, the club scenes, smoking, drinking, corrupt wannabe agents who tried to align themselves with you just so that they can keep chasing their youth were always around the corner .Their job was to tell you all you need to hear as long as you agree to attend their "parties". Little did I know that to some 'agents' were just using your presence at their party as a promotion tool for their illegal party business (Confession #5). Aren't all models totally full of themselves looking for every and anything to keep them on a constant high? Not this one. Had the occasional cocktail. Never smoked or engaged in cat fights or took part in any lewd activities (Confession #6). Ever. Maybe that's why the entire scene started to bore me after just two years. Maybe that's why this modelling "star" faded so quickly? Hmmm...lol.
Modeling career gave me the confidence to survive my late teens/early twenties. Thanks to Nikki (spelling), I still look back at my modeling years fondly. It was good for building my personal image. I learned how to dress properly, good posture, skin care...etc. All the good habits that make one feel like a million bucks I learned as a model. Never mind what else was going on inside. Being in front of the camera made me feel highly inadequate about certain parts of my body. Yep. Fashion models can be some of the most insecure people you will ever meet (confession #8). Maybe other environmental variables contributed to my feelings of inadequacy as well. Who knows!
I would actively model for around 4 yrs while holding a full-time job at a bank. Modelling was a good experience but I never viewed it as a career. Correction, I never knew how to view it as a career. It's not like there is a classroom where you can go to learn how to be a self-centered, obnoxious, spoiled young girl. There was a lot of 'hustling, ass-kissing and acting' involved which were all new concepts to me. Frankly, it's exhausting to be pretentious. (Confession #7). In hindsight, I don't think I lazy to do the who modelling thing because I am not known as such. I think I was too cerebral a person to survive as just a model. I needed a career more fulfilling than acting as a model because I had other more pressing priorities. (Confession #9).
The moral behind this post is: if you are thinking of modeling, get mentally and emotionally prepared for the job and the journey. Very few models become "super" models - the ones who get sought after no matter what fashion show, movie premier or promotion is being planned. These kinds of models are a few. The vast majority of the models on the market are not super models. The industry was (and still is) very competitive and one dimensional. Unlike any other profession, modelling is the only career where 'the book is judged by its cover'. If your look is IN, then your are game. If not, too bad. Next. Accounting, not so much. If you are a good accountant, it matters not what you look like. It is a models job to be at the fore front of what message is trending and put themselves in that sphere. So, you must be prepared to go the distance in order to make a "true" career out of it.