Once upon a time, I got scouted. By a modelling agent in a cafe. He gave me his card and asked me to visit his agency. I was 23.
I said, nah, I wanna be a big girl and keep working in IT. So I did.
Anyway, I thought he must be kidding. Seriously? I was one of those awkward bookish girls with no confidence and really, really bad skin at high school. He was joking, right?
The friend with me when he approached me – she thought he was just trying to hit on me anyway. She was probably right. It was probably just his ‘game’. Sheesh. Dodgy guys. What a lamo pickup line. Did I really look that gullible? So I brushed it off and moved on.
18 years passed. I continued to work in IT. In fact, I think, perhaps, I probably did quite well, working in IT.
Twice upon a time, I got scouted. By a model (who is now one of my besties) who recommended I meet with her agency. I was 41.
I said, ummm, really? Have you seen my booty? These hula hips are not going anywhere. Are you sure? I’m an IT girl. And I’m 41. Isn’t that a bit old to start modelling?
Long story short I met with her agency. Turns out they were one of the top three agencies in the country at the time. And they didn’t sign just anyone, I was told. To my surprise I was enthusiastically received, they signed me, and within weeks I was in a television studio, shooting for – irony of ironies – a jeans company.
Yes that’s right. My hula hips got me my first modelling job, at the ripe old age of 41.
What I thought would be a weakness, turned out to be my launching pad. So to speak.
Isn’t that a wee bit like life? 🙂
My agency was lovely, but in fairness to them I was a pretty unusual case. I suspect that there are not many rookie models in their 40’s. For every casting or job, it was assumed that I’d been ‘in this game’ for 20-something years. And my agency did not encourage me to indicate otherwise. Which, to be honest, didn’t feel very honest.
But I understood, why they’d suggest – if a client asked – that I say I was in my 30’s. Why they’d suggest – if a client asked – that I say I’d modelled when I was younger and was getting back into it. I totally understood. I suppose it was a bit tricky for them.
After a couple of years, I started to wonder though if I was being represented as well as I could be. This was around about the time that I started dating again after a 23-year dating/kissing/relationship drought. That was an epic journey in itself.
So after that whole process of deciding to challenge the status quo on the dating front, it dawned on me.
I had learned something. I realised it applied to every part of my life, not just dating. It’s a bit of a cliche, but that makes it no less true.
If You Are Not Happy With Something, Change It. Or Change You.
You Can Change It. Or You Can Change You.
You. Are. Not. Stuck.
I repeat. You. Are. Not. Stuck.
You Get To Choose Change.
OMG. I am not stuck. I am not stuck anywhere in my life.
How did I not see this before?!
So that’s how, one sunny Thursday morning I decided to do random walk-ins to the other two of the top three agencies in the country. To see what would happen.
I figured why waste time sending photos in etc. Why not just walk in. We’d all know pretty quickly whether there was anything to discuss. Much more efficient, right?
At that point I realised I was not the same girl I had been 2.5 years earlier when I was signed by my first agency. I would never have had the nerve to do walk-ins like that before.
Thanks, Tinder. You really did do wonders for a girl’s confidence 🙂
It was a bit surreal. Walking into those agencies. And seeing them see me. Seeing their eyes widen and their jaws imperceptibly drop just a tiny bit. Seeing them stop what they were doing and bring me over to their comfortable couches and get me a drink and sit me down. And talk to me about my ‘great look’. And all the work they could get me. And take polaroids of me to send to their clients straight away. And give me their contracts to sign. There and then. On the spot.
Whoa. Wait, what?
I told both agencies that I was still signed with someone and was just considering a change at this stage. I told both agencies that I was talking to other agencies. I told both agencies I would take their contracts and think about it. I would be in touch if I decided to make a change.
But I knew which one of those two agencies was the right one for me hands down. I knew, because of the vibe I got just from walking in there. There was an energy there that was focused, relaxed, and unpretentious all at once. They knew they were awesome at what they did. They didn’t have to say so. It was just so obvious.
The head booker sat down with me for an hour. A whole hour. He took an unplanned hour out of his day to talk to me about what they could do for me.
I told him that my current agency had told me that my look was very ‘niche’, that it was a small market and that I shouldn’t expect a lot of work. He looked at me in disbelief. He said you’re kidding, right? Your look is so versatile. There’s so much you could do.
This head booker was also clearly just a lovely person. He obviously really cared about their models. He talked about times when girls would come in and he would sit with them and listen to any worries they had and help them work through things. Whatever those things were. Because it was a bit of a jungle out there sometimes. He had been in the industry for a long time.
I want to write more about this head booker. Because after knowing him for some time now, I want to write about the beautiful things I have learned from him, just from the times I see him and talk with him when I visit the agency. I will write about him in another post soon I think. Watch this space 🙂
Anyway, he was – I later learned – the best and most experienced booker in the country.
And he totally proved it. Pretty much immediately.
The day after – yes, one day after – I went up on their website, I was booked for a magazine editorial. And then soon after a catalogue. And soon after that a campaign shoot where I cuddled on a couch with my fake husband (good thing I’d had some cuddle practice with My First Love a few months earlier!) while our fake kid sat on the floor in front of us watching a fake TV. And more editorials. And a few shop windows up and down the country. And more catalogues.
And I love the work. I don’t do it for the money. It’s such a nice change from my day job as an IT ninja gun-for-hire. It’s so much fun. The people are always so lovely. It’s such a treat to be able to be so girly. To have someone make you up and do your hair and put you in different clothes and let you play in front of a camera.
It’s a bit strange sometimes, shooting on a morning and spending half an hour after the shoot in a bathroom taking all the make-up off because I have a meeting in the office straight after the shoot…and if I show up looking like that I will So Not Live It Down. The IT guys would have a field day, making fun of such a heavily made up face!!
But at the same time, I realise how very fortunate I am. What a privilege it is. To have the opportunity to be able do such very different things. To be able to – to feel free to – express such diverse but equally valid parts of who I am.
You make a decision. It just has to be one decision. And it can change the course of your life. Or even just add a new and different dimension to your life.
You can come unstuck. And other cool stuff.
Pretty freaking awesome, no? 🙂