Is skinny the new fat?

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With media “turning the tide” against the traditional skinny models, it seems that we’re heading into a more tolerant and equal world.
Except that we’re not. The media isn’t as altruistic as they want us to believe they are. Let’s face it there are a few certainties that sell stories, the obvious ones being sex, wars, horror headlines and now the open debate on fat vs thin.

The current discrimination that women and men of today are experiencing over their weight seems to be a topic that everyone can get involved in. I’m sure that everyone in their life at some point or another has either felt not 100% happy with their body, or had someone comment on their weight.

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So many things wrong with this post. All of them are amazing women. and these photo’s are from completely different eras.
Each to their own, neither is hotter than the next…

So where does the media turn first in this supposed war on “size zero” role models.

Ok here’s the thing. For all the people out there saying Size Zero isn’t a real size. Don’t blame us (the models, consumers, anyone that wears a size 0) Firstly in European and Australasian sizes they are “xs” and “size 6”. these are very different numbers.
The US introduced size 0 as a way to provide clothing sizes for their smaller and asian clientele (It first came about in LA, you can google it!)
It was a way to combat “vanity sizing” where companies would create clothing in larger sizes and keep the smaller label size on it so as to make the customer think that they were buying a smaller size. Hence if the customer thought that they were a size 6 vs a size 8 at brand “XYZ” then they would be more inclined to purchase again from that brand as they would feel thinner and better about themselves.*1
Without going too much into it, size 0 and 00 are in fact 2’s and 4’s.

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Wearing a size AUS 6 on the runway, but at the same show I also wore an 8 and a 10!

Equality is fantastic, I welcome it completely. It’s been a tough run for girls getting fuller figured models recognised and used in the fashion industry. I applaud their hard work at getting “fuller figure” or “Plus size” recognised.
But they’re not the first ones to pioneer a new path for inadequately represented models. Lets rewind to a few years ago. How many models on runway were anything other than Nordic, European white?
The answer is less than 1%.
These days that number is a little higher, New York Fashion Week had 9.75% Black models, 7.67% Asian models, 2.12% Hispanic and an odd 0.45% “Other” (what is other? The rest of the races that aren’t white that they can’t lump into the former 3 categories??)
Either way that leaves a whopping 78.69% of white models. *2
But I digress. This is a debate about plus size and the hate against them and the hate for them. Let’s take a look into why we don’t see plus size models regularly on the runway.
To answer that, economics. The same reason that runway girls are rail thin and tall, the designer makes clothing for the collection that will fit the one uniform “Sample size”.
Sample size varies within different parts of the industry, in runway it’s a small size, measurements usually being something like 32-23-33 and 5’11”. However Lingerie and swimwear runway the girls are curvier (not to be confused with plus size) measurements being more like 35-25-36 and anywhere between 5’7” and 5’10”. *2

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Labels that other women give to each other. How about “Happy, healthy, loving, caring, kind, generous”.. Things that actually matter?

Since the designer has not put their clothing into full production yet, the clothes you see paraded on runway are usually the only ones of their kind in the world. A designer doesn’t have the time to make 5 or 6 different sizes of the same outfit, just for their show.
Of course the clothing will be made in various sizes once it’s been put into production, but runway has always been a good gauge of how which items are going to be best sellers. (So they know which ones to produce more runs of.)
Commercially it’s the same story. The company receives the sample clothing months or weeks before they hit the shelves. Therefore the only clothing available to them are very specific sizes.
Look on any plus size board on reputable international agencies and you’ll see that their measurements vary by a lot. It’s great, it’s showing diversity and range in body types. But can you imagine being the stylist on the shoot and not knowing if the model was in fact going to fit the sample size clothing?

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Walking for a student showcase at fashion week, the student didn’t know who was going to model their outfit until the day of the show. Therefore they followed standard measurements of runway models, and thankfully everyone’s outfits fit them perfectly.

It’s the requirement of being a commercial fit model, or a runway model that you have to be a certain size, just as it is being a plus size model.
In researching this piece, I found so many great sites where women of all sizes said “It’s not ok to hate plus size or skinny girls.” So many people were against any sort of hating or shaming, it was really great to see everyone standing up for each other!

But now the media is pushing onto us that there should be absolutely no skinny models in commercials and on the runway. Let me get something straight. Anorexia is never ok being promoted and romanticised by the modeling industry. However naturally thin girls, and those that work out and maintain a healthy diet should not be blocked out of working in the industry.

How does this equate into other areas?

School.

There’s probably plenty of people sputtering right now and saying “pfft yeah right, the tubby kids get bullied way more.” And I don’t doubt that there are some kids and adults out there who are getting bullied at this very minute for their clothing size. But now there’s skinny shaming to add to the mix.
Pretty much every female model I know, grew up being the ugly skinny gangly kid at school. Limbs that were too long, clothes that looked oversized even when they were a small, and always being told to “eat up”.
Now it’s not just a case of a few backhanded jibes here and there, times have changed. Now models get hate comments sent directly to their instagram, public facebook pages and various other social media’s.
The comments are things such as “She needs to eat, she looks so disgusting I wouldn’t touch her with a ten foot pole.”
or “sack of bones is so unattractive, real women have curves.”
Now I’ve said it in previous posts. But ALL women are REAL women. Regardless of clothing size, race, hair length, sexuality, job etc, You are a real woman. If you identify with being a woman, then you’re totally a real woman!

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I blurred out the name, because it was a plus size fashion label commenting on this. I agree that the model is absolutely gorgeous, and most definitely a real human being. But is she any different from a “Skinny” model? Not really. She’s spent hours in the makeup chair as would her counterparts, had a stylist and great photographer work the lighting and angles, and in the end she’s had the picture photoshopped just as any other campaign picture would be.

It’s like a fight you can’t win. Look at a picture of a gorgeous fuller figured model and there’ll be people saying “She’s so much hotter than those ugly skinny stick girls. I like real curves and not feeling like I’m going to break a girl.” (firstly I highly doubt that either model would be interested in a troll commenter..) vs “Yuk, so unhealthy, can we stop promoting obesity.”
then you look at a post of an elegant runway model. “So pretty, she’s the ideal weight not like those plus sized girls.” or “Ewww, why do designers use bags of bones and zombies to walk the runway for them? A REAL girl would be so much better.”
As I said before both are as real as each other, and both are going to attract haters and likers. (Would be nice if the haters could keep their hate all for themselves, and the likers should definitely share the love around more!)
Although it does seem that people are more inclined and find it way more socially acceptable to write hate comments on skinny girls profiles rather than plus size. Comments usually more personal and scathing.

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This one I also photoshopped, because I took serious offence at what they put instead of “THIS IS NOT”. Comparisons are never going to work. Not that this needs defending, but you’re comparing a photo shopped campaign picture (where the model is smiling and looks vibrant) to a runway snap that hasn’t been photoshopped or lit, and her makeup and hair is vastly different to the other models.
I tried to find information on the model, but all I could see was that she was under 16.. Yeah I totally looked like that at 16. Not now that I’m in my 20’s, but the age debate on runway is an entirely different story.

The way I look at it, the “skinny girl” hasn’t taken over from the “fat kid” at school. But now it seems that no matter what you look like, what your clothing size is, you can’t get through high school or life, unscathed.

Hang in there, be confident in yourself! Your size doesn’t make you beautiful or smart. That’s all in the personality.
So who cares what anyone else says. Your friends and family are the people who love you and find you awesome, so listen to them and ignore the haters!

I did a lingerie show a few years back where there were women of all sizes, heights, racial backgrounds… Everyone was having fun, no one was putting down anyone else or making backhanded comments about body types. Sometimes I think this “war between models” is something made up in the media machine. We were all there to do a job, and have a great time doing it whilst respecting our colleagues.

*1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanity_sizing

*2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/18/runway-diversity-report-jezebel-new-york-fashion-week_n_4808263.html

 

** There’s so much more I wanted to write on this topic. I personally have gotten through life very lucky. I was super skinny during my school years, but being a considerable nerd no one focused on my body or looks. I’ve grown up with fantastic secure friends and family who know my strange eating habits (will eat an entire packet of tim-tams, but hate and avoid cake at all costs).
I’ve had the occasional designer or agent tell me to lose weight, put on weight, tone up or change something. But that’s the nature of the job I’ve chosen.
All I can say is ladies and gentleman, let’s not make it any easier on companies to sell us slimming or weight gain products. Let’s tell each other how awesome we are and support each other!
Awwww, fell the love <3

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What’s in a “Like”?

Social Media… those two little words can mean so much. They can be make or break (and also the cause of many online addictions and stalking!)
But I’ve been studying what exactly is behind a “like” on Facebook. What it means to an individual, a company and to Facebook itself. There’s a fantastic article where a guy tries a social experiment of liking every single page, comment and picture that comes his way on Facebook for 48 hours
You can read it here: http://www.wired.com/2014/08/i-liked-everything-i-saw-on-facebook-for-two-days-heres-what-it-did-to-me/

To explain how a like can affect different people let me start with models.
As you may have read in previous posts, models are sometimes asked to list their instagram handle and/or Facebook fan page so that a company can see how many followers they have and what kind of image they portray.
It’s commonplace for business/corporate companies to look into potential employees via Facebook to see whether they like the latest “cute kitten pic” (standard) or that politically incorrect joke that your friends has posted (may raise some alarm bells for HR)

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(Yes I’m the first to click like on this adorable kitten… )

For a model the more followers and likes you get on your selfies is a great way for companies to see that you’ve got something that the public like and can relate or aspire to. So the more likes, the better!
For a musician however it’s a different story. If you’re getting more likes on your pictures of your face, rather than your music links, it can be a little heartbreaking. And this happens to everyone (I guess humans are just visual creatures more so now with the introduction of smart phones, social media and instagram)
Take Sam Smith for instance, known for his heavenly voice and beautiful music. He posted two very different posts last week. One was a link to his new video clip “Restart” that just dropped. That gained approximately 15,500 likes. Whoa that’s a lot of likes, but then you forget that he has almost 2 million followers. So he had about 0.7% of his entire fan base liking that post.
Then you look at the second thing he posted up, A selfie where he’s walking onto his tour bus. Nothing too exciting, but a nice glimpse into the life of Sam Smith backstage. That got a whopping 50,300 likes (2.5%). Why is this number so much bigger than a post about his music (the thing that Sam is renowned for)? Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great looking guy, however I’m sure when he set out to become a musician he never thought that people on social media would be more interested in his selfies than his music.

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But is this a true indication of the way people are thinking? Perhaps not.
A quick click onto the link of his video “Restart” and you can see that there are close to a million views (and I’m sure in the next few weeks it will surpass that number)
So do we treat friends and family the same as we do with celebrities on social media? Expecting them to feed us exciting pictures of a life we dream of, and refusing to like anything that involves clicking or researching further??

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Feed me more, more, more! (Ok but seriously, Beyonce is a great entertainer!)

I like to post the occasional picture of myself, giving into narcissistic needs that everyone has. But for the most part I prefer to post things that I’m doing, articles that interest me (and that I think would interest others) and things of importance. At the bottom of my list is a picture of my face. Yes it has its place and time for sure! (and to all my friends please don’t get me wrong, I love seeing your faces!)
But for myself I would rather have people interacting and having a real conversation, what can I say, I guess I’m trying to actually be social over social media!
Although looking at my page the most likes I’ve had are on photos. Although I can happily report that after selfies, the post about Emma Watson speaking at the UN about #heforshe and another post about racism and cultural diversity in my home country of Australia, both received plenty of likes and started a good healthy conversation on both. (I love you friends!)
I love to read my friends blogs, listen to the music their making, see how their jobs are going, what they’re thinking about in this world right now. I share their stuff with other friends who I think might find it interesting. This is a social network after all!
(And I have many creative, talented and interesting friends!)

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(A great campaign amongst many others.)

I have a friend who unabashedly posts his views on Facebook whenever he feels like it. He has strong political and moral views and isn’t afraid to share exactly what he’s thinking. Does he rub some people up the wrong way? I’m sure he does. But I absolutely appreciate his honesty and the fact that he doesn’t try to be so diplomatic about every single thing.
It’s almost like we started out with this grand idea of using social media to share amazing and great ideas across the world, keep in touch with friends who lived in different countries, and find out the real stories instead of relying on media to give us an opinionated view.
Then something changed, companies started vetting potential employees, friends had falling outs over mundane disagreements. Suddenly people were playing it safe. (or maybe it’s always been like that, and it’s just my wishful thinking and idealism that wants social media to be a place where healthy debates are sparked daily, real news is being reported and of course there are all the pictures of my friends and family doing awesome things, amongst the pictures of all the cute animals.)
Has it become more socially acceptable to like a photograph than to comment what you really think about someone’s post. If you disagree with what they’re saying, instead of discussing it is it better to simply ignore it and hope that it goes away?

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Liking is no longer a great indication of whether an audience genuinely likes or dislikes something.

I had a dilemma a little while back where a friend had posted something that had wrong information in it. It wasn’t anything terribly shocking but I wasn’t sure whether to let him know or not.. I was nervous that in pointing out that, he might think I was personally attacking him…
Of course this wasn’t the case. I sent a link in a private message to verify with him and he thanked me. I would hope that in the same position my friends would let me know too! I’d much rather that, than to have other friends thinking it and not tell me.

 

So basically this very long winded post started because I was initially upset that so many people would “like” and comment on modelling pictures that were posted up of me. Usually not posted by me, I would let the photographer tag.

100’s of likes and all these really nice comments later it did make me wonder what it was that people liked so much about these stylized pictures, over everything else that appears in their news feed.
We’re they more interested in the “pretty Mel” rather than the one with substance and strong views on things? Was I simply overthinking it?
I searched friends pages, and it’s not exclusive to me, or to models for that fact.

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Maybe we are on a fast food diet of scrolling through news feeds too fast. Used to all the junk (Facebook ads that really aren’t targeted well), someone’s boring rant about getting a bad french fry at Mcdonalds.
So liking photo’s is quick and easy, we don’t need to click on external links, read too much or think too hard about what it is that we’re liking.
But that’s just it, how do we get to know the people we’re friends with if we don’t read something that they’ve taken the time to link to? Or how will we hear new amazing music if we don’t click on the video?
Will the person who’s posting those things up, grow weary of it and decide to keep all their awesomeness to themselves?

Hi, I’m Mel.. And I’m not afraid of liking things that I truly like. So next time you see something I’ve posted that you agree/disagree/love/hate, let me know what you’re thinking!

 

*Note, this is not an attack on the selfie. I love all the pictures from everyone everywhere, and trust me I’m the first to like them!

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Beautiful Eating

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For the second time in my modeling career I was requested on set not for the usual reasons (being a sample size, the right look etc) but rather my hands were needed. (and the strange model knowledge of how to make minute and tiny movements according to the photographer)
Shooting food is not as simple as it may look. Every model knows the hours it can sometimes take to set up the perfect spread and placing hands and body in the perfect position so as to look ‘natural’
But when it all works the results are glorious.
It’s funny how we flip through pages of a magazine without stopping to think about just how much work it takes to achieve the perfect table setting shot.

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(It took hours to set this shot up, and countless “standby” dishes and cutlery!)

Hours or sometimes days before, the food and menu is prepared. A chef or resident cook of the magazine is in the kitchen long before anyone else gets to the studio. The artistic director, photographer, set designer and several other people will be milling around, ensuring everything is set in its’ place.
Food is coated in oil or sugar syrup to ensure its longevity and shine.
When the ‘talent’ is finally ready for the shot there are many tedious minute movements. ‘Move your hand to the right a millimetre, oh no too much!’ Is the common call on set.
Because these are such extreme close ups every little movement is seen as huge through the lens of the camera.
Lighting is changed a dozen times per shot. A single dish moved to the left then to the right, then back where it originally was.
Patience is key on these sets. It’s no longer about being the fashion model and having it all about you. The food is the star of the show. You are simply another prop to bring life to the shot.

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(The time I shot for Vogue, we got to eat everything that was put in front of us. It was a Christmas feast in October!!)
It’s such a different world to the fashion world, but each have their perks. The amazing food that you stare longingly at is fair game once the shot has been taken (if only it was the same for fashion shoots, I would have the best wardrobe!)
The chocolate cherry pudding with white chocolate sauce that you had to hold for 2 hours, becomes lunch!
And that’s not to say that there isn’t catering on set either.
Some would say that the best catering is on a food set. I’ve worked in film, couture, runway, commercials and none of them compare to the catering you get on these food sets! The studio knows that they’re dealing with editors of fine dining magazines, each one with a discerning palate. It would almost be offensive to ask ‘sandwiches or pizza for lunch?’
So instead the best cuts of meat, gently roasting in onion and pepper sauce are placed amongst beetroot salads, fresh fish, artichoke and fennel pasta (gluten free of course), chocolate brownies, strawberry cheesecake cups.. The list goes on.
I once shot for vogue living and dining, we had lobster, steak, pasta, cakes, mousse.. The whole nine yards. And all in a sleepy fishing village in a gorgeous beach shack.
These jobs are far and few between for models. Usually they go to hand models (whose hands are in mint condition)
But now that my eyes have opened up to this wonderful world of food, I’m going to keep applying moisturiser to my hands, and cross my moisturised fingers that I get more of these jobs!

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(It takes more than just a nice plated up meal, the decor, lighting, people, cutlery.. all need to be taken into account)

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Love

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When did love become all about finding it in someone else?
Don’t get me wrong I am all for it, I’m not one of those “anti relationship, couple haters” But there has been something weighing on my mind as of late.

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My family and a fluffy bunny = perfect!

 

All across Magazine Covers/My Facebook feed I keep seeing articles pop up. “How to find the man/woman of your dreams.” “Tips to stay in love with that special someone.” “You’ll never be someone if you’re unmarried by 35.”
Ok that last one I may have made up. But how many times have you been force fed this bullshit that your life just isn’t complete without finding a boyfriend/girlfriend or that the whole point to “being” is to find your soulmate?
Full disclosure, I am happily in a relationship so i’m not writing this from a single’s ranting point of view.
Rather I want to point out that the phrase “Love of my life.” doesn’t always have to refer to another human being.
What about hobbies? Your job (shouldn’t we all love our jobs?), stories, food, fluffy baby animals.. Oh I could go on with the things that I love in life.
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In KL with a long lost friend.
Rewind to six years ago. I was having the time of my life. I didn’t feel like I needed to eat or drink, I could live off the excitement. I felt I could run kilometres without having to rest. Or dance forever. I wanted to shout from the rooftops how i felt.
Sounds a lot like being in love, right?
Except that I was in love with being in a new country. I had found my place, my people, my music, my food, my lifestyle. I haven’t stopped feeling this way ever since!

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partying with friends for my birthday

What I’m trying to say is find love in everything, not just other people (although that is awesome). Find it in little things, sunset/sunrise, rain, a good meal, meeting new friends, seeing a great film, hearing incredible music, traveling to new places… the list is endless.
When you start living like that, everything else is easy!

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Fat squirrel, can life get any better?

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New York State Of Mind

New York

Old familiar feelings flooded back the minute I stepped onto the dark and gritty pavement at my feet. I inhaled taking in the scent of a city of 8 million people, the different cultures, dreams, and ambitions all mixed into one.
Hot dogs. that was my first thought.. or rather the first thing I caught a whiff of. Strangely enough it reminded me of being on the island in the south of Thailand. The humidity combined with the recognizable scent of generator fuel and cooking seemed to all meld into a vision of the tropical islands I had once traipsed barefoot on the silver sands.
I opened my eyes, instead of palm trees lazily fanning themselves in the wind there were huge buildings that rose from the ground stretching high up into the sky.
Night time, glittering lights beckoned us, almost insisting that we come out and play. This was not my first time in New York city and it certainly can’t be counted as the last.
I will always wonder if it will feel like this each time. Bleary eyed, staring in wonderment at the grandeur of the sprawling city. The building seemed to go on and on forever. Standing on 5th Ave there looked to be no end to the city, the new intertwined with the old.

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This trip was different from the first time there. (that story is perhaps for another day or maybe for never.)
Friends from all corners of the earth flew in, we met up and hit the ground running. After a week of being there I felt like I had walked the distance of the earth. My feet were weary but my mind wanted to see and do more.

From day one we saw all the typical tourist traps. Ground Zero was completely sobering and calming at the same time. All around foreigners and New Yorkers alike, shared their stories of where they were that ill-fated day.
Water poured in thunderous proportions, flowing deep into the darkness at the bottom of the memorial.

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After that we moved onto the flat iron building, 5th avenue, Rockerfeller centre, Times Square, Chelsea Markets, Highline, Grand Central station, Brooklyn Bridge, Williamsburg restaurants, Central park. Tick, tick, tick, slowly the list was being completed and yet we did so much more.
The humidity and clear skies remained glorious for the entire trip. I could have sworn it was all turned on just for us.

I practically bolted into the New York Library. The last time I had been there I’d missed out. This was my chance.
We wandered around the magnificent rooms searching for books. All that could be seen were dozens of glowing computers and fine oil paintings.
Where were the books?
Finally we found them, room after room we saw where they were being displayed.

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Next on the list was clubs. What is a trip to NYC without visiting 1, 2 or 20 clubs?
From the underground to the rooftop, we went around the city testing them all for the best places to eat and drink. I’m pretty sure the 5 pounds I’ve gained in 7 days is testament to the fact that I definitely ate and drank my fill.

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On the last night there I indulged in Junior’s cheesecake. From my last trip I remembered carrying a box of it back for my best friend and leaving it on her bed for her to eat.
This cheesecake is so decadent and rich that one piece is enough to satisfy any sweet tooth.
After having eaten so much the whole week, that was the icing on the cake (excuse the pun)

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Trip over I got ready to make the trek back to Toronto.
Home sweet home.

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Go with the flow or swim against it?

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As with every job there are the decisions you need to make on your own. The hard questions that really test your moral strength.
Well maybe they’re not always so hard, but you do have to know yourself to know which direction you want to go in (and not be pushed into).

So with music I didn’t expect it to be any different. Every week I try to cover one of my favourite songs or artists. But my problem is that some of them are extremely obscure. Do I go with the bigger names and hope that more people see my videos (that is after all the point of this weekly cover song exercise) or do I sing the tunes that I want?

I guess it’s just lucky that I happen to love Katy Perry ;)
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channelling my inner Katy Perry

With modelling the questions can sometimes be harder. “Do you want to pose topless?” Will you do it for a campaign paying a lot of money but with a terrible photographer who might make you look like a mens’ magazine “star”. Or do you do it for a low paying editorial but with an amazing photographer who’s going to make you look incredible?
And it’s not always about body, it could be a product you’re asked to advertise. Will you advertise Alcohol? Cigarettes (Mainly for asia since the rest of the world has banned models in cigarette ads)? Meat, if you’re vegetarian/vegan? Fur? Tanning beds/salons?
the list could go on and on and on. Many times we’re paid to advertise products that we don’t or never have used. It’s a models job to make it look like we’ve been using the products our entire lives and are living a better life for it. (to make YOU want to buy the product)

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Needless to say I’ve been pretty contradictory myself. I once had a magazine article stating ‘How to look 20 years younger” with a stock photo of myself smiling back. That would have been fine, except I was 19 at the time.. :)
I’ve advertised skin creams that I’ve never used (although some companies give their models the products to use weeks and months before!)
the list goes on and on, I’m sure my colleagues have just as many stories that they can add.

So i guess that sticking true to your morals is the best thing that you can do. Don’t advertise things that you are vehemently against. Don’t sing songs that you hate ;)
Do love your job, Do work hard and know what you’re advertising/ what message you are sending out.
That’s it that’s all <3

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I want it all

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Sometimes (most days) I want to do it all, I want to be and do everything.
Recently I’ve been painting and drawing, if only to fill the walls of my very bare apartment. The reason? Well in true nomad style I won’t be living in this apartment for much longer but I’ve had a yearning for beautiful colours and images to inspire me in the place I am currently calling home. I can’t justify buying art only to sell it a few months later when I move to the next place, so painting was the best option. Did I do well in in art class at school? No…
I’ve somehow found it very soothing to sit down and paint whilst staring out at the city that lays around me (Just check out the view I get to wake up to every day!)

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one of my more colourful paintings.
Regardless of the fact that my “artwork” won’t be gracing gallery walls anytime soon, my boyfriend has graciously allowed me to put up whatever I want. So here is what I’ve done so far… (No laughing please!)

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Top: My rainbow crying girl

Below: the artwork on our walls.

Then there’s the music side. Yes I’m classically trained, however I’m currently producing all my music literally from the bedroom (on a side note it makes for a great vocal booth) I’ve finally given in a little and realized that this is one area that no matter how much I would like to think I can do it all, it won’t make up for the years of study that a producer goes through to learn their trade (just as I wouldn’t expect them to play classical piano in a few weeks)
So while I send my press kits out to a million and one Producers/Managers/Labels and anyone else who will listen, I sit her fingers and toes crossed. For the millions of no’s that you get (or usually non replies) there’s hopefully got to be at least one yes!
Hope you keep fingers and toes crossed with me!

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Staying optimistic is easy when you’re on set outside during a sunny day!

And onto the writing side. I of course have this blog (to state the obvious!) I also have a mind teeming with ideas. I’ve been writing them down ever since I was little. Will they ever become something? Maybe.
But for now it’s all about the music and creating pretty pictures for the modelling world. ;)

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Frozen in time

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Funny things happen to us all the time. Just yesterday I walked directly into my table (which is bolted to the ground and has never moved in the entire time I have lived here) I then proceeded to jump around exclaiming “Ow ow ow ow ow” for the next 5 minutes. But thankfully I only have the bruises to show for it, and that’s it.
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That time I was Miley Cyrus.. Just kidding I was a very weird robot for a tv series.

On a job however we are not so lucky. Have you ever had a picture taken mid sneeze or mid sentence and turn out looking like something from the grudge?
Well I have, and it aint pretty. With friends who have taken bad pictures, you can ask them to take it down from Facebook or simply untag yourself.
When it comes to a job, if they’ve taken a video and it so happens to have you doing your best robot dance or falling over on the runway, it’s fair game for all the media to use it.

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Even the cat thought I was taking it too seriously

Trust me I know. On my first fashion week I lost a shoe smack bang in the middle of the runway. A seasoned model may have been able to continue on (and all the models behind her would have been able to avoid the hazard) But this was my second show EVER and half of the other girls were just as green as I.
So I stopped, backtracked 20 centimetres and then struggled to slide my shoe back on. When I finally got it on the whole crowd clapped and cheered. It wasn’t as humiliating as I had initially thought.
WRONG. I went home on the train that night, and when my parents went to pick me up from the station (I was young at the time) My mum explained “We saw you on TV, they featured you on the news with your shoe off.”
Great, just great. What I had thought was going to be confined to the audience of the catwalk show was now all over the national news. Hardly the most embarrassing thing ever, but to a young girl having to face her peers at school the next day I was utterly embarrassed. I had never even worn makeup before starting modelling so high heels were out of the question.
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But I think the pictures were great anyway :) (Photographer: Christopher Cameron)

So there you have it, the next time you do something stupid and think you could die of embarrassment, just be thankful that it hasn’t been filmed or photographed to be immortalized on a news or gossip site :)

 

Me, Ash, Beth edit

 

The time we did the Bvlgari jewellery show and all had to wear lashes so long that we couldn’t see past them, walking down grated stairs in heels.. Needless to say it was a very eventful experience!

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Where do we go from here?

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It’s always been a big question of mine. Now what?
We set out these goals but sometimes they don’t go to plan and sometimes they go better than expected. I’m talking about what you do when you’ve ticked all the boxes on the things you wanted to do, and are at a crossroad.
Now is the time to step back and look at all you’ve achieved, sure there have been awesome times and moments you would rather forget. All in all if you’ve achieved a majority of your “work success” list then you’re doing good things!

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The time I had to dress up and play a sexy robot for 18 hours on set….  I learnt major patience!

So after you’ve given yourself a pat on the back (well done!) It’s time to look at where you want to go from here. Do you see possibilities for further and greater success in this career (With modelling it’s usually downhill once you reach a certain age… but that’s not to say you can’t have greater success with commercial modelling in later stages of your life!)

With the skill set you’ve gained there are so many other careers to move into. I have always been first and foremost musically oriented, but I progressed in modelling so quickly that I didn’t even have a chance to stop and take a breath. By the time I took a breath and realized I was a full time model traveling the world It had been three years since I had performed music.
I went out the very next day and bought a guitar that was so cheap and cheerful that it went out of tune just by looking at it. But that was the beginning of my renewed love of music.
Sometimes we don’t choose the job it chooses us. If you had asked my parents when I was younger, whether they thought their daughter would become a model they probably would have burst out laughing and pointed at me whilst I was off dancing in time to a room full of music wearing my mismatched socks and fairy skirt.
But it seems that fashion was to become my career for a large chunk of my life (and it still very much is!)
So I’m taking everything I can possibly get out of this incredible experience I’ve had, and putting it to good use. If I can use anything from my years of modelling, to help me write and perform better music then none of it has been in vain (not to mention the most awesome life experiences I’ve had)

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The time I had to shoot in winter wear in Indonesia… it was hot, I was hot… I learnt to smile convincingly ;)

As for “Now what” It’s as it always has been, work hard, have an idea of what you want to achieve and then go out there and enjoy every experience regardless of what it can or can’t bring to your future goals (because you might not see it at the time but everything has a benefit!)

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You can go your own way

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In an industry that has no real rules and no one governing the wellbeing and financial welfare of the people in it, there comes a time when you have to make all the hard decisions yourself.

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Modelling isn’t all about raining money.

As most models know there is no union that exists for modelling. Unlike other areas of the entertainment field like music and acting where there are strict guidelines and rules to regulate how long one can work for, how many breaks you get, whether breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks need to be supplied, safety measures to ensure that the actor/musician is not injured on set, a minimum daily or hourly rate, a certain time period to be paid by before the interest is accrued, the list goes on.
And then theres modelling where there are little no restrictions, Some cities (NYC is a notable example) have rules to protect younger models from being exploited. But most do not.
The most common complaint I hear from models is “I really need to get paid, I can’t make my rent this month but I’m owed so much money from jobs I did 6 months ago.”
It’s a frustrating situation to be in. I’ve been lucky enough to be with an amazing agency in Australia who pays 2 weeks after you do a job. Regardless of whether the client has paid or not, they understand that it is their job to chase up the client (after all we are paying them 20% of earnings, on top of an agency fee that the client pays to them) So if they have already passed on the money to their model then it’s in their best interest to chase up the client and make sure that they receive payment as fast as possible.
Sadly in North America and some of Europe and other countries, agencies will only pay the models once the client has paid. This can take months, years or never…

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(Client thinks running on a treadmill in heels is a great/couture idea… reality: not so great!)

I know from personal experience that the longest time I have been waiting for payment is one year and half. I would have given up on it except that it’s for a substantial amount, and my image is still being used all around the world… frustrating is not even the word to begin to describe it.

So what would be the solution to all this? There are models who work freelance but there are a lot of difficulties that can arise from that not to mention finding your own clients and having to follow up payments as well as negotiating rates. I love being part of an agency, pick the right one and they will fight for you, push you for jobs and be in your corner.
But you have to remember that they can have hundreds of models on their books at any one time. So you do need to look after yourself. It’s common sense stuff, Keep a track of all the jobs your have done, hours worked and the rate. Then as payments come in tick them off. Agencies usually give clients 2 months to pay, then after that you can start sending gentle reminders for payment to the agency.
Don’t do anything you feel uncomfortable with on a job (going topless, jumping on a trampoline in 6 inch heels, underwater catwalk show without a scuba tank.) Unless it has already been agreed with your agency (Read that as YOU and your AGENCY have discussed it… I know some sneaky clients who tell models “Your agency said you were fine to go topless.”)

Basically make up your own mind, this is your life and your job. I’m not saying be a pain in the butt to your agency or clients, because remember they are all doing a job too and it’s nice just to be a good human! But it is great for you to be aware of your payments and what you feel comfortable with.

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Keep watch of your own finances and wellbeing

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