Monday, 2 September 2013

Model Body Dysmorphia

Supermodel quote of the day - from the mouths of babes:

"I tell people my breasts were made in Normandy from butter and crème fraiche" - Laeticia Casta

In this model wonderland, Alice is generally only allowed to take the small pill. The industry urges kinetic frames to jolt down the catwalk like uneasy water birds finding their footing in mangrove swamps, emaciated statues pose regimented for the camera, and the world finds it beautiful.

This has changed to a degree over time and you can feel the swing to healthy bodies happening gradually. Or even reverting to the curves of the 80s/90s supermodels.

In a shallow world of looks you have to play your strengths like a sport. I existed in the fickle world of skinny wars. I was cursed with hips, thanks grandma – she passed on to me academic ability, obscure card playing skills and hips. I was once asked to lose weight by my Italian booker, who I then made feel my hips and expressed ‘you can’t do much about bone’. Two days later I got a swimwear TVC and she told me how great I looked. How the tune can change.

Model dimensions are meant to represent those of a lifesize replica of Barbie. However being top heavy is very unusual when you are slim. Boob jobs can make it difficult to crack the editorial market, but they can be great for commercial work. They do seem to be becoming more prevalent as surgery and cosmetic procedures become more accessible, realistic and acceptable. Generally where the boys are concerned though any boobs are good boobs - right.

Botox is rampant and the cost of keeping up looks is a real challenge, at least it is all tax deductible. The pressure is immense to conform to a prefect ideal. Most girls look in the mirror and don't recognise the beauty looking back at them. They only exaggerate the faults in their mind.

One of the strangest anomalies of our society becomes spectacularly apparent when you spend a significant amount of time immersed in this industry – the most physically beautiful people are often also the most insecure.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Model Appetite

Supermodel quote of the day - from the mouths of babes:
"I never diet. I smoke. I drink now and then. I never work out.”
– Naomi Campbell (best runway model ever)

You have seen the shirts ‘don’t feed the models’, read the rumours and for Kate nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, so what is true?

The carb free world of modeling is allegedly replaced with the 3 ‘C’s - caffeine, cigarettes and cocaine... but the one ‘C’ that is perhaps the most bizarre is cotton wool balls. Yes if you have heard the claims, it is true that some models out there soak cotton wool balls in water and swallow them to fill their stomachs. Nothing is absorbed, no weight is gained and the hunger pains are kept at bay.

Unfortunately for me I have always possessed a healthy appetite, so cotton wool balls could never cut it for me.

The irony of one Sydney fashion week sponsorship was not lost on me. A Tiger Lily swimwear fashion parade that I appeared in was sponsored by Haagen Dasz. Well that is just cruel. A fridge full of ice cream behind the curtains and an audience full of judgmental fashionista's on the other side!

It's not all celery sticks, carrot juice and colonics though. There are Wednesday nights out (the unofficial Model Saturday) and sugary afternoon snacks on set.

The model diet is not so contrived as one might expect. The model repast of lettuce leaves is a fallacy. I guess at the end of the day it all comes down to moderation. Like most aspects of life.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Model 'get out of bed' rates

Supermodel quote of the day - from the mouths of babes:
“There’s a button that goes On and I’m On. And when I go on, there is almost no me: there is just a character who is doing all of this.” – Gisele Bundchen

I feel the need to address the fallacy that models get paid an exorbitant amount of money. OK there were periods in the history of this industry when that was sort of true. If we stepped back in time to revisit the rates from the 80’s or Japan in the 90's, we would see that it was all gold bullions and 1000 thread count sheets lined with diamonds (OK not quite that extravagant). Those rates have flattened out to almost fast food service hourly rates. The number of agencies has increased, the rates have dropped and the number of models purely making a living from modelling alone has diminished. It is true, there are some really great paying jobs, but they are few and far between.

We can of course look at the supermodels. As we know, Linda Evangalista won’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day, but what do they actually earn? The incomes of the top 10 supermodels in 2012 according to Forbes were:
1. Gisele Bundchen (IMG Models) $45million/year
2. Kate Moss (IMG Models) $9.2 million
3. Natalia Vodianova (DNA Models) $8.6 million
4. Adriana Lima (Marilyn NY) $7.3 million
5. Doutzen Kroes (DNA Models) $6.9 million
6. Alessandro Ambrosio (DNA Models) $6.6 million
7. Miranda Kerr (IMG Models) $4 million
8. Lara Stone (IMG Models) $3.8 million
9. Carolyn Murphy (IMG Models) $3.5 million
10. Candice Swanepoel (IMG Models) $3.1 million
* I am guessing IMG Models had a pretty good Christmas Party in 2012!

This however is the top of the game, it is not so easy for the rest of us.

Here is the model pay breakdown... High fashion magazines, think Vogue, Elle etc. beautiful magazines, contrary to popular belief do not pay well, they are on the lower end of the scale. So are high end fashion parades. However, cheesy commercials and cheap mass fashion labels are where you will find the ch-ching.

There is a literal short cut that many advertisers utilize, we models are cheaper from the chin down. The chin is the magic cut off point for dollars vs. $$$.

The other disadvantage we face is tight cash flow, many models face a three month delay in being paid. That is why they are so skinny. To be fair it is actually far more common overseas, Australia is very good in comparison.

We also have corporate advertising budgets being cut, which means, gone are the days of the free gourmet lunch, which you used to get in the middle of a shoot, or free clothes at the end of the day, or 8 shots/outfits in a day (now you have to get 50).

In short (from the chin down):
I pay tax to justify collecting flowers from public areas.
I pay commission to my agency for them to tell me to lose weight, send me to castings and try to make a living

Model Alumni - Bree Robertson

Bree was the first Australian to ever win an individual rhythmic gymnastics medal in Europe. Her flexibility, gymnastic talents and killer good looks made her impossible for the modelling world to ignore.

By the age of 13 Bree had moved to Sydney to train with the National Gymnastics Squad at the Olympic site in Homebush. She went on to represent Australia at an elite level all around the world. Bree is a talented contortionist, actor, model and dancer. She has even performed at an intimate private event for Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Interests: Fashion, film, sport, animals
Background: Australian, English, Scottish, American and Brazilian

Q1. How did you start? Years ago I was a rhythmic gymnast and I was asked to shoot a Samsung advertisement for Time magazine in the US posing as a gymnast. The photographer suggested I try modelling, so I went in to an agency and the rest is history.

Q2. What was your best job? There have been so many and it's hard to pick between the ones that were a big pay day and the ones that were just great experiences, but working for a week in Fiji with some of my closest friends was such a great trip, we had so much fun in such a beautiful country, it always brings a smile to my face when I think about it.

Q3. What did you buy after you received your first big pay cheque? I can't remember exactly but it would most likely be a designer handbag!

Q4. What was your worst job? Shooting a Korean TV commercial in the middle of winter wearing a bikini and having to film a scene where I ran out of the freezing cold ocean over and over and over again in the howling wind. Then to top it off the surfboard I had under my arm had been spray painted blue for the shoot and by the end of the day half my body was stained blue!

Q5. If you had a rider, what would be on it? Peppermint tea, tuna and avocado salad, C Coconut Water, blueberries and hot chips.

Q6. What was your most embarrassing modeling moment? I was doing a fashion show where we had to dance as part of the show's choreography and I was wearing a pair of high heels a size too big. One of the shoes was about to fly off so I tried to kick it off in to the backstage area but it didn't go so smoothly and it flew up into the air and hit the video screens behind me with a really loud bang!! It was pretty funny and luckily the client thought so too!

Q7. When was the last time you cried with laughter? Almost every day at work. I'm so blessed I get to work with my closest friends all the time.

Q8. What was the first music album you ever bought or received? Mothers Milk by The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Q9. What is your best/worst quality? Best - I'm very loyal. Worst - I kiss my dog on the lips...

Q10. What is the most unusual behind the scenes moment you have experienced to ‘get the shot’? One of my friends flashing me her boobs behind the photographer to get me to laugh for the shot!

Q11. What person dead or alive would you most like to have a cocktail with? What would you ask them? What cocktail would you order? I would have loved to meet my Grandmother on my Mother's side. She died of cancer before I was born. I don't know what I'd ask her, probably about her life experiences and little personal things to get to know her. I'd probably order a margarita.

Q12. Do you have any funny model anecdotes? I was in New Zealand for Fashion Week years ago. Some of us had black vintage lace glued to our faces by the make up artist for one of the shows. It wasn't until after the show, when we tried to remove the lace, that we realised that the makeup artist had used the wrong type of glue and it was really stuck on our skin. We had to kind of tear it off, which was really painful. I was lucky to get away with just a bit of soreness and some red marks but one girl was bleeding after tearing a little bit of her skin.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

A Model Universe

Supermodel quote of the day, from the mouths of babes:
“As a model you need to be able to do the craziest things.” – Heidi Klum

Let's sashay down the runway, pout seductively at the looking glass and delve into the carb free world of modeling.

I have had plenty of time to experience the idiosyncrasies and events that shape the lives of this particular enclave. I appeared in my first Television Commercial at the age of 10, became a Girlfriend magazine finalist, joined Vivien's, competed in a Miss Universe beauty pageant and modelled around the world. I have seen it all: a Naomi Campbell tantrum first hand, laser hair removal burns and a swimwear shoot in a Muslim country.

This is a model world where the emotions are high and the diction is simple. When the light of the flashes disperse, it is not all beauty queens and pillow fights in lingerie… OK there are some pillow fights in lingerie and also the odd pageant (Miss Universe, Lux, Ford).

I am hoping to open up an interesting concept for examination, that an intelligent model is not necessarily an anomaly or oxymoron...

OK not all models are cat walking their way through the halls of Mensa, but there are some compelling arguments that we are not all imbeciles either. After I completed university, I swiftly boarded a plane to travel the world. The ink didn't even have a chance to dry on my degree/s (the first indication that I was not cut out for the corporate world). An education (academic or worldly) can be a handy thing to possess in this industry and many models do.

It is not rocket surgery, but it is a lot of fun and often a passport to travel this amazing world that we live in.

So let’s take a trip! Sammy x