Modelling has always been something I’ve dreamt of doing. In Grade Eight my insecure self asked my mother what she thought about getting the two beauty marks, moles, whatever you want to call them, removed from my face. She didn’t say no. Instead, she told me to wait until I was older. I’d always felt uncomfortable because of the spots on my face.
I think my mom understood. She told me to look up pictures of supermodel Cindy Crawford and that night I went to bed knowing that one day I wanted to be like her.
I’m incredibly far from being Cindy, but I’m working hard to get to a point where I can consider myself a professional model. I love working with creative people who use models as the canvas on which they create their art and I’m grateful for every opportunity I get to work. Even though I am still learning, I have learned a lot already and thought I would share some lessons the modelling industry has taught me so far.
Your body won’t change overnight — love yourself anyway
When I was first signed as a plus-size model, I was told I was too “soft.” In other words, I wasn’t as toned as my agent wanted me to be. I cried but soon reminded myself that I had just signed a contract with a modelling agency. Their job is to book me gigs, so they have to be honest about what the market is looking for. If you’re too this or that, they’ll tell you to change it to get work. No hard feelings, I get it.
I kicked it into high gear working out — on and off, I’ll admit it. I began eating healthier, focusing on the inches and pounds. Overall, I felt and looked better and my skin was glowing. I was in a good place. But it still wasn’t enough. When I arrived in Montreal this summer I was told I was too thin to be considered a plus-size model. It never ends.
I still didn’t fit in. This is when I decided that I really didn’t care about the numbers anymore. I was happy with where I was mentally, physically and emotionally. Since realizing that, I think it’s led me to live a life where I treat my body with love and respect and I know that it’ll take care of the rest with time.
Ask questions — shady stuff can happen
I’m a pretty naïve person. Both my parents were skeptical of the modelling world. My mother’s coworkers did not help the situation with stories of a friend’s daughter being coerced into becoming a stripper. If I wanted to go to Montreal courtesy of mama’s Air Miles hoping to get signed, I had to do my homework. I started asking photographers and models questions about the do’s and don’ts of the industry and what agencies to avoid.
So far, I’ve had mostly positive experiences, but I can’t say I haven’t been disappointed.
Last summer, after moving to Montreal, I wasn’t paid for a shoot even though the company used the picture on their website. I was barely making rent, even after saving my money for several weeks sweeping the warehouse floor at Day & Ross in Moncton before moving.
On two occasions, I disappointed the client when I showed up on set and the clothes were almost double my size. To fix the being “too small” problem my parents bought me pads that give me an extra two inches around my hips.
Yes, I look ridiculous with them on.
Luckily, I haven’t experienced any abuse or sexual assault, which does happen in the industry. But it’s important to be aware of the industry you’re joining. That goes for anything you’re putting in time, effort and money into.
Yes, confidence is the key to success
It sounds incredibly corny and I hate that, but I think it’s so true. A picture is worth a thousand words, but awkward is the only word people will think if you go into a shoot not feeling confident.
I don’t know what it is, but confidence can get you into a groove where it feels like all your fears disappear. Every person should be able to feel that way through some medium. It can be anything. For me, I feel most confident in front of the camera.
Whatever you’re doing, feel confident doing it and the results will reflect it.
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