The ugly truth behind the world of modelling

A top model reveals all the lows of the industry

Vilde Gotschalksen, 21, is a model widely featured in magazines and catwalks, but while talking to her it is evident that modelling is not her lifestyle but rather something she thinks of as merely a job.

We chatted with her about the difficulties of being misjudged as a person and other experiences she has had working in the fashion industry.


How has your job influenced your relationships with the people around you?

“I’ve lost a lot of friends because of the fashion industry. I don’t always see why people become so jealous, especially because I take care to tell all of my friends about the down-sides of it all. I’ve always had a lot of guy friends, and grew up as the only girl in the family.

“It was very difficult when boys started looking at me in another way. I didn’t really grow up before I became a model. My previous boyfriends have all been jealous of the same thing: me working with Abercrombie models.”


You entered modelling at a very early age. What were the difficulties for you growing up in the industry?

“I have had some rough times, and I’ve tended to be more nervous than I probably should have been. I’m blessed to have a caring family and supporting friends. It’s not always been that way though, when I was younger it was difficult for me to bond with girls my age.

“It tended to be because of extreme jealousy, and no matter what I said or did it wouldn’t change. I know that now, and I know that the people that really care will stay in your life. It changed me as a person though, I had to become strong on my own.”



Being recognised and scrutinised has to be hard at times, have you struggled with it at all?

“I’ve had some creeps sending me texts throughout the years, but never in a frightful way. The only thing that has bothered me is being recognised on the street. People aren’t really polite when it comes to asking if they can take a picture with me. They just do it, and some are so bad at doing it without me noticing.”

Do you ever feel uncomfortable being naked in photos?

“Being naked in front of the camera feels strange. Not there and then, but after. People watching me online are one thing. But it’s worse when I get confronted about it and asked to explain myself or just stand there and listen to stranger’s opinions. And I hate when I see my body a little less covered, censured or cropped than I was told.”


Have you been told you are too big to be booked?

“Yes I have! My ass has always been a little ‘too big’. Some clients love it, some clients don’t, I try to find and work with the ones that do.”

Recently, the plus-size model phenomenon has grown very popular. Do you in any sense feel condemned for being slim?

“I feel that the plus-size models help the industry get a wider perspective on the female body, which is great! I’ve never been a plus size model myself, but it’s the same job. But I’m guessing they have a smaller pressure on their appearance. I won’t go as far as saying that I feel condemned for being slim, but there’s always going to be someone out there talking shit.”


Lastly, you have done a lot of work in London, can you tell us about any bad experiences you have had there?

“I once went for a casting in Hackney, and back in 2012 this wasn’t the best area to hang around in, and walked into a guy shitting outside one of the apartments I was going into. I was there for a casting, and had got lost like four times on my way there. It made me jump, and it didn’t really help that the client laughed at my age and sent my back outside in less than a minute.”

Read more about Vilde’s experiences working in the fashion industry on her blog

All photographs are used with permission from Vilde.