Posted on December 14, 2014
One thing a friend told me, has always stuck with me. She was travelling with her boyfriend and we were both living in the same apartment block in Bangkok.
“We are the faces of the future!” she exclaimed, when I had told her that I was eurasian like her.
It’s not that it was an uncommon thing. Trust me, modelling in Asia you find plenty of Eurasian “brothers and sisters.” who look same same but different.
South Africa, Slovakia & Australia.
I had never thought of it that way. I identified with my sister, my cousins, the rest of my family who were all mixed. It didn’t seem like anything special. But then I thought about it, there were plenty of countries where diversity in families was a rare thing.
Wow, being eurasian was actually different!
That’s where modelling and travelling has introduced me to everything new. I’ve seen pretty much every combination you can get. 1/2 mixes of asian and european, 1/4 mixes… African and European, Australian and South American, Pacific Island and European… and let me tell you every single one of them is absolutely stunning and special.
But there’s something more with these mixes than just the pure beauty, with it comes a completely different outlook on life. As my parents liked to explain it we get the “Yin and Yang” of life.
From my fathers European side, my sister and I were taught to strive for the very best in ourselves. To work hard at what we wanted, to be self reliant and understand the how and why of everything.
From my mother’s Asian heritage we were taught to care for family and take pride in the accomplishments of any family member as that reflected well on the whole family.
UK, Canada, Sweden, Australia, Brunei
Growing up it had seemed like a completely normal way of thinking. (I had many eurasian friends at school!)
Being understanding of other people and other cultures was natural… Intolerance was never an option.
I recently spoke to a friend who’s daughter is going to an international school. She said it was incredible. Each child had to work through their differences, they could never simply say “He’s stubborn because he’s from XYZ” or “She’s quiet because she comes from ABC”
No longer can we blindly generalize a person or personality because of where they come from. Sure culture plays a part in shaping someone. But I know many vivacious Brazilians who love to dance, sing and party all night long. I also know just as many Brazilians who prefer to stay at home and curl up with a good book and a glass of wine.
This is simply being human.
Russia, New Zealand, Canada, Australia
We have a running joke that the “Russian smile” is being deadpan. No smile at all.
Guess who started that. My Russian friend. Yep she laughed and smiled a lot. In fact more than most of us!
As easy as it is to generalize and point to someone and blame their actions or personality on their country of origin, that’s no longer an excuse. Mostly we have access to the internet, to education and humanity?
So I’m making my new years resolution to be more understanding of each person as an individual and not to judge them based on their country. I want to know more about where YOU grew up, your dreams and hopes, what you like and don’t like. Surely that’s more important!
Can’t even begin to name all the nationalities in here but let me try: Aussie, German, Vietnamese, Canadian, Thai, Korean, American, Swiss, Swedish, Hawaiian, Chinese, French, Japanese, English, Spanish…. there’s so many more!!!Leave a Comment
Posted on December 6, 2014
I’m sure by now if you’ve been following my posts from the beginning, then you would have read my most popular post on “the truth about model clubs”
Now i’m about to re-open the subject, but this time it covers the return to a no longer elusive world. But trust me it might be different, but it doesn’t meant it’s any less fun. So sit back with your hot chocolate (or pina colada for my southern hemisphere readers) and enjoy the ride.
You’ve been on a plane for twenty hours, the child in front of you has been screaming and crying. But none of this matters. On touchdown you’re about to be reunited with some of your best friends.
Bags are thrown into the models apartment. You know the drill already, this doesn’t phase you anymore.
Some of the newer models stare up at you expectantly. You don’t have time, you’re out of there and straight into a cab.
Your hair is a mess, so you throw it up into milkmaid braids, it’s the easiest “pretty” hairstyle you can do in the back of a car. Your makeup is half done, it’s ok. You’re a model, it’s expected if you to be in various states of makeup.
Eyeliner is swiped on, clothing is acceptable. You’re ready to go.
The cab arrives and you practically bound out and straight into the club. The security remembers you, they’re already holding the velvet rope aside. You thank them as you call out their names.
As you stride up to the table, you can already see the gazelles standing around the bottles. Sparklers and fresh bottles of champagne are paraded out by girls dressed in playboy rabbit costumes. The music and lights shine brighter as if they’ve recognized your arrival.
The promoter is the first to spot you. But to you they’re no longer a way into the club. They’re the friend that got you home all those drunken nights, the friend who made sure you knew all of the models in town, the friend that’s always going to celebrate your first job, first birthday away from home… many firsts.
Around the table girls and guys are greeting you with hugs and kisses. Now this is what homecoming should feel like.
Models speak in mixed languages, interchanging between English, portuguese, french and their native tongue. You surprise yourself and realize you can finally speak and understand this strange amalgamated “Mixed model” language.
You have now become “that model” the one that people speak of from legendary nights out, the one that new models know about before they even arrive in the country.
The club is electric, the feelings rush back. No matter how many times you come or go it’s always going to be an adventure.
Somehow in one night alone, you miraculously bump into at least ten friends that you haven’t spoken to since you left the country. It’s like nothing has changed at all. You pick straight up where you left off.
This is what it feels like to return.
Posted on November 13, 2014
“I feel sorry for models, they have such a tough life.” – Said no one ever..
But perhaps it’s time to rethink all of that. I’m not saying you should outright pity us, or start a “save the models” fund, but for the people thinking that leading a models life is the answer to everything, sorry to burst that bubble, but it’s not.
An article was recently written in an Australian magazine about a model who happened to have been my roommate at one point in my life, while on contract in New Zealand. While she has gone on to be wildly successful in her career, I’ve watched proudly as she’s walked shows for all of the big names and booked the best campaigns.
The article in question is not worth reposting, the “journalist” clearly seemed bored with having to interview a model that didn’t fawn over him or act enamoured with him for his benefit. He speaks of her breasts being “unimpressive” in the first sentence, and at having “been staring at them on the internet for the last while”…
Imagine writing that about any other cover girl/boy. Would you interview an actor/politician/humanitarian and discuss their breasts/bodyparts as a way to introduce them? I think not.
Yes I understand as models our bodies are on display, our faces are our passport to our job and to travel the world. But it’s more than that. Personality does play a huge part. I’ve spoken to many show organizers and casting agents for tv commercials/campaigns. It’s more than just a pretty face, they want someone who embodies the brand. At castings these days, the client will take the time to talk to you, ask what your hobbies are, interests, favourite countries/music/food…
No longer are models nameless coat hangers. Instead they have followings of fans, instagram and twitter opening new channels to communicate with them.
Kate Moss who has been called many many names, I applaud her ability to ignore the haters and keep doing what she wants.
The question I pose to you is: Do you think it’s ok to bully a model/person and write slanderous statements, simply because they’re pretty and surely must “have it all?”
Are models expected to only talk about insubstantial things, are we only to talk about fashion, diet and “skin/makeup tips”?
In the same article I mentioned above, the model in question spoke about practising feng shui, being an artist (something she has been doing long before modelling), her burgeoning acting career, travels, the long hours of working and dabbling in music. I found it fascinating. I wanted to know more about the correlation between modelling and her other passions. But instead the article kept skewing back to how much the writer disliked her and that he had “heard rumours” that she was “difficult.”
What a waste of an interview of an iconoclast. And I wasn’t the only one to think so. Several writers took to writing about how the article was written in poor taste, and the twitterverse was awash with backlash for the writer. Nobody personally attacked him, they were above that, unlike he was. Instead they highlighted that it’s NOT OK to write a misogynistic article, that this could have been an amazing article if he hadn’t focused so much on her breasts and instead focused on what she was saying.
Robyn Lawley who has been called both “too fat” and “too skinny”.
Difficult is a word reserved for women who are not submissive, who do not dress and behave the way other people want them to.
This is the 21st century, we can all behave how we want (obviously within reason). Both men and women should be able to travel when and where they want, sleep with whomever they want, pose however they want and take whatever job they want.
The same writer questioned how she chose to pose topless “A lot of the time” according to him. (A quick count of her most recent photo’s, less than 10% are topless, not that the number should matter.)
As a model who has posed topless numerous times, I enjoyed the experience and the result. I loved the pictures and never felt pressured into doing anything I didn’t want to.
If you don’t want to see the pictures, don’t read the type of fashion magazines that are going to print them. Don’t search for them on the internet. It’s as simple as that. No one is forcing you to search and look at things you don’t want to.
Barbara Palvin who has been scorned for moving into acting, and also for her weight. (both too big and too small… Can one ever win that debate?)
When i started modelling I was so keen on seeing my first runway pictures. The agency usually does this for you if it’s for magazines, commercials.. anything that you can use in your book. But runway pictures are not a necessary thing for your portfolio, so it’s left to the model to find them.
I was 16 at the time, and eagerly searched the internet for my photo’s. When I found them I was so excited, until I read some of the comments.
“This girl was such a bad walker, she looked like she was struggling the whole time.”
“Why does she look so scared. I could do way better”
“She shouldn’t be in this show, the blonde girl after her was hotter.”
Sure there were some nice comments, but it seems people are more inclined to write something mean than nice. At first I thought to defend myself. “But I’m only 16, I’ve never worn heels before, this was my first fashion week! I’m new at this, please give me some time to learn..”
But I didn’t say anything. I’m sure that those people assumed the model they were writing mean things about would never see the comments, but I did.
Did I let it affect me? maybe for a second, then I thought back to the amazing week I’d had, and brushed it off. I vowed never to look at the comments on runway pictures again, and got on with life.
Kate Upton dubbed everything from “too sexual, too fat, too blonde, too american”… She is one extremely intelligent girl, watch full length interviews of her she has a hell of a business mind and is more than just a pretty face and great body! She’s religious and used to show horses at events, but you won’t find that in many articles.
But others are not so lucky, Celebrities, supermodels and your average school kid all get cyber bullied day in day out. For them there is no escape. Kids going through this at school, I can’t even imagine what it’s like. You leave school and the terrible day is over right? Wrong, as soon as you log onto your instagram, twitter, Facebook, myspace.. any social media, it starts all over again. Except that the bullies are even worse, they’ll say things that they’re too cowardly to say to your face. Post hurtful comments, tell someone “to kill yourself.”
I can’t imagine saying that to my worst enemy, but apparently it’s ok to say it from behind a computer screen. Extremely low, extremely cowardly, they’re probably not even thinking about the impact of the words they’re saying.
Celebrities are not immune to this. No amount of money, fame, and the good life can shield you from the effects of cyber bullying. Take Charlotte Dawson for example. She was a successful model and TV host, stunningly beautiful, had great family, money, health and loved by many.
But she was attacked day in and day out on twitter and instagram by countless trolls. It’s so easy to say “ignore it” or “Focus on the good things in life.” But I’ve never been under the immense pressure and spotlight like that, as I’m sure not many of us have.
The late Charlotte Dawson.
What it comes down to is, should we really be judged on our own personal choices that don’t affect anyone else? #sorrynotsorry
*Make sure you watch the video above, it highlights school kids going through bullying and just how much it can affect a person.
Keep some tissues handy!
Posted on November 1, 2014
Day 1: You land, bleary eyed, excited and nervous all at the same time. If you’re lucky a booker is there to pick you up (which you will later find out is charged at $100 as “Chauffer” fees) If you’re not so lucky, you have the address written down somewhere and make your own way to the models apartment.
Navigating your way through this strange city is like adventure time, never mind you’ve just spent the last 23 hours in a small cramped tin cylinder that they call an “Airbus”. More like a torture chamber for the claustrophobic.
If you’re overly tired then a taxi seems like the most sensible option. However if you’re a young model without much money and have a strong sense of adventure, then you find the nearest train station or bus that’s heading to the city.
12 wrong turns later and you’ve made it! Welcome to the models’ apartment.
What greets you is definitely not what you had in mind. The place is stuffed full of junk, an old couch. Coffee cups and plates lying around. Several eastern bloc models look up at you, then go straight back into their conversation in their native tongue. Ignoring you completely.
You open several doors to various rooms and bathrooms, before finally finding a spare bed. Dump your stuff. Lock your passport in your bag and slide it under your bunk bed. Yes you read correctly, grown adults sleeping in bunk beds.
This is the glamorous life of travelling models.
Day 2: Luckily there’s a model heading into the agency to collect their pocket money. So you dutifully follow them to go and meet the agency for the first time in person.
The conversation on the way there is strained, you both struggle to understand each other. But hey, at least someone’s talking to you now. Once you get to the agency however, they leave you standing at the door looking like an idiot. Waiting to see who it is that you should speak to. They flounce off to the accountant, complaining loudly about needing more money.
Once the bookers realize you’ve been standing there for 5 minutes, they sit you down and go through measurements, take digitals, catwalk video, intro video, look through your book and make sure you get the rundown on how to get around this new country.
It doesn’t matter that all of this has been sent weeks before in advance to the agency. You spend an hour or longer in there. Until you realize you’ve been sitting there and no one has spoken to you for the last 5 minutes.
“Are we done?” you ask.
The booker looks up, “Yes, sure you’re finished.” Then she goes back to typing furiously.
The rest of the day is yours to explore and go to castings.
A hand drawn map is handed to you with half an hour to get to the place. You’re definitely going to be late. Oh well, first time in the country.
Once you get to the place there’s a dozen models waiting around, shoes off and music blaring out of an iPhone somewhere. You think it’s a techno song from poland…
A model looks up and smiles at you. You smile back.
“are you new?” they ask.
A FRIEND! You try not to freak out, but finally there’s someone being nice!!!
“Yep” you reply.
You go and sit with them. conversation ensues about how to get around, the rundown on who’s in town and where the best/cheapest places are to eat.
Once you swap numbers and are introduced to all of their friends, you feel like you can finally relax a little. There are people here who smile and want to hang out!
Day 3: You wake up to find someone shuffling in quietly into your room with suitcases. They are the new you… They look confused, probably having met the same non-greeting from your other housemates that you received the night before.
“you speak english?” they ask.
Relief. complete and utter relief. Little do you know this person is about to become your best friend for the next 3 months….
Posted on October 19, 2014
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.
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.
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
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?
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?
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!
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.
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.
** 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
Posted on October 12, 2014
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)
(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.
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??
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!)
(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?
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.
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!Leave a Comment
Posted on October 1, 2014
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.
(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.
(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!
(It takes more than just a nice plated up meal, the decor, lighting, people, cutlery.. all need to be taken into account)Leave a Comment
Posted on September 15, 2014
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.
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.
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!
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!
Fat squirrel, can life get any better?Leave a Comment
Posted on August 22, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
Trip over I got ready to make the trek back to Toronto.
Home sweet home.
Posted on July 31, 2014
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
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)
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