I’m going to be upfront here. I have been in the modeling game for a quite while. My honesty may get me in trouble and quite possibly jeopardize some job options, however I don’t feel I should have to lie about my age anymore. I have worked really hard for over 13 years and in any other job I would have been promoted already, with a significant pay rise. Hell I might even be C.E.O by now! Unfortunately, the profession I love does not follow standard business models; which is great at times, however not so fantastic when one (inevitably) starts to age.
I was discovered in Perth in a competition with the lengthy name of “Vivien’s Live Perth City Face Modeling Competition”. It was Father’s Day and this year will mark my 13th year in the business. Nicole Trunfio took out the title and I was runner up. Nic is still one of my closest friends and continues to model to this day, as do I.
Now I am not putting myself in Nicole’s league – remember she won, I was just lucky enough to be on the same podium. You see, I am not your standard ‘model’- at 174cm I am under the recommended height, and I am not naturally waif thin, so this ride hasn’t always been cruisy for me. What I lack in height however I make up for in sheer determination (some may say stubbornness, and they are probably right, but if it’s got me this far, I don’t care what you call it).
Height is not something that can changed, and if you read Anya’s article she will tell you all about that side of the business. Weight can be sorted out with a healthy diet, epic work-out plan, and balanced attitude. Age however I thought would never be an issue…until it started to be.
“How old are you now?” said my Japanese agent. “21” I replied. “Ahhh no….you are 19” he said, looking at me intently. “Oh… I see”….
Apart from finding that crazy miracle potion in “Death Becomes Her” I was fresh out of ideas about how to get around this problem. Ahhh…ageing. At the risk of sounding like a washed up spinster; yes it will happen to you, and no you can’t avoid it (as yet).
Modeling revolves around fashion. Fashion is constantly being updated, redesigned and renewed. So too are the models. Being in fashion is great, however a meteoric rise to fame is sometimes followed by an epic fall from grace once fashion changes, and it does- with every season. So the trick here is to adapt somewhat to the changing surroundings. Changing cities/ markets, hair colour, hairstyle, interests, side professions and even personal style can all slightly reinvent the career of a model. *Failing all of the above, a famous boyfriend has always been a good trick*.
I was lucky enough to get a stable list of clients and friends as I grew up in the industry in Australia, and I can call most of the industry a great big family. They have seen me grow up, mature and develop and I too have seen their talents soar and evolve, but at times, they do want a ‘fresh face’ and it can be hard to take, as there is nothing you can do about it.
What is really great is that I have seen a trend lately towards embracing older models (when I say ‘older’ I mean mid to late 20’s). There is something admirable about a professional, experienced young woman, who knows her body and has a cemented sense of self. Recent case in point; Gemma Ward opening Prada and Lara Stone closing the show- both with children of their own and rocking one of the most influential shows at Milan Fashion Week. And it doesn’t stop there, pretty much the entire ‘icons, new supers and money girls’ list on models.com is made up of girls over 21.
Here’s to hoping this is one trend that sticks around!