Modelling industry appears to be all glamorous, sent from the heaven profession, with models wearing the latest, most expensive designer brands, get sponsored by beauty brands, have time to follow a “glam” “health” routine and so on. In honesty, only the most recognisable models, who have reached the elite level experience the above. The industry, in reality turns out to be cruel, demanding, depressing and exhausting. Most models end up working locally, long hours and for not so high pay.
Since I have experienced that myself, I thought it would be good to share the reality and the disadvantages of being a model.
#1 Stressful work environment
For both the client and the photographer a model often times turns out to be just an object, clothes hanger. Not many will care about your feelings. It might be cold or too hot, you might be hungry, tired, wanting to take a break. If other staffs are not satisfied “yet” they will push you to a point when you won’t even know your name and will only feel like sleeping for the next 10 days. Moreover, some photographers may want to use you, your body. The may even ask you to spend a night or a few with and sometimes threaten to refuse to pay if you disagree.
#2 Crazy long hours
Let’s start with that a model can be called in for a photoshoot any time, any day, whether she is ready or not. That said, ANY magazine, ANY ad and basically any photoshoot you can imagine hides HOURS of work and I do not mean 8, 10 hours but 18 or 20. A model will first spend a long time getting her skin damaged by excessive make up, hair damaged by excessive heat, touch ups and then crazy long hours in front of flashing lights making the job even more exhausting.
#3 Body image, comparison
Models are being under constant pressure of their agents telling them whether they are good enough or not. They are being compared to other models on a daily; put on all kinds of diets, athlete-like workout plans. That all often leads to disorders such as body dysmorphia, eating disorders etc. No one should feel like they are not good enough and a model should be appreciated and loved for her/ his uniqueness and not be aiming to look like someone else.
#4 Variable pay
It is funny to me how the pay differs depending on how “elite” you are in the business. The more recognisable the more you will get along with sponsorships and free trips. If you are pretty new, or just didn’t have enough luck to get to the elite level, even when you’re absolutely stunning you will have to work for the locals and expect to be paid bare minimum.
That said, I hope I have cleared out some common misleading opinions about the modelling industry. It’s not as glorious as most people think and it definitely requires confidence and strong mentality to survive and not go crazy.