I became a model through Facebook
It’s surprisingly easy
After challenging the stereotype that men of the rugby club are all brawn and no brain by putting my name forward for KCL’s University Challenge team (if you’re wondering, I still haven’t heard anything, so I’m guessing they’re in the process of accepting my place), my urge to try something new in the name of science and rugby students across the UK was back, but this time, it happened to be by pure accident.
Everybody at some point this year have been told they’re fit, good looking, or maybe even beautiful after walking their new found lover home from Walkies in a cranberry stained shirt and chinos combo. But to be told by a professional photographer that you have “great cheekbones” and a “pumped chest” is something you take to your grave.
It started like any other productive day of mine. Flicking through Facebook watching videos of cats who can do the Macarena instead of beginning that essay due in a couple of hours, when i came across a link that you probably see 90% of the time you procrastinate on social media:
“MODELS WANTED, EARN BIG MONEY, 3 EASY STEPS”.
Normally I would skim through these ads with no hesitation, but for some reason, I stopped to check it out. It seemed like something to do to pass the time before switching over to University Challenge and wondering what could have been.
True to its word, there lay three steps ahead before my potential stardom in Vogue or this year’s Christmas catalogue for TK Maxx. First up were personal details. Any wise or mature student would perhaps think twice before entering such private information into an unknown web page. Not me. Risky and naive decision making for a student is what adrenaline is for some edgy free runner on Waterloo bridge – necessary to get through the day.
Next up was a biggy. Three pictures that I believed best expressed my potential as the new face of fashion. No problemo. A quick venture through my old profile pictures should do the trick. In doing so, it suddenly dawned on me that i was already spotting flaws in myself. Why did I wear so much Jack Wills? Why do I make what looks to be gang signs with my hands in most pictures? Why I would even bother presenting this to the public as “me”. 15 minutes into becoming a model and I was already slipping into a depressive state for not being good enough. Despite these initial thoughts, I managed to pull together 3 half decent snaps, and sent them off.
The last step was to read through the terms and agreements and click the inevitable “I agree”. Like most, this took about 2 seconds, and it was sent off. With a confirmation email advising me that a result may take up to 2 weeks, and that you were only to be notified if your application had been successful, I went to bed, laughing to myself at the prospect of being chosen, let alone what happened in the next few days.
I woke to some pretty startling news. The agency had emailed me just 3 hours after I had sent off my application, and “could see my potential”, offering a chance to have a test shoot somewhere in London. What started off as something to do on a Tuesday night had now become an actual opportunity to strut my stuff, despite not knowing a single thing about strutting one’s stuff, and even getting paid to do so! So how easy is it to get into the modelling business?
I guess the gang signs are “in” with fashion this year.
After calling the number provided and speaking to a very arty-farty woman on the phone, it started to become even more real. My shoot had been booked for the Friday, only three days away, and despite being pretty nervous for what was to come, I couldn’t help but feel excited. I was told to bring three outfits, ranging from casual to smart, and I would have a hair session before for free. So this is what living the high life feels like.
Friday came around, and it was an early start. The destination was towards Westbourne Park – a bloody trek. Two tube journeys, one bus journey and a brisk walk later saw me arrive sweating and panting as if I had ran from Suffolk. At first glance, I could be forgiven for thinking it was just a huge warehouse, because it was – somewhere you come for an MOT, or to have someone “taken care of”. The same could be said when I ventured inside. The corridors were something out of the movie “Saw”, with flickering lights, darkened rooms and the sound of drilling and hammering.
Before I could even think about turning around, I reached the door and walked on in. It couldn’t have been further from a horror movie. I had been transported from a horror film, or Champion Hill, to what seemed to be Heaven. A completely white room, with stunning half-naked women walking around, posing as they went. Before I had the chance to stop dribbling, an extremely camp man seemingly skipped towards me, wearing painted on jeans and a flowery shirt, offering me a seat in the waiting area, winking at me as he left.
I spent the next 45 minutes or so watching a documentary about some Italian supermodel’s rise from rags to riches on repeat, while some other male models joined, who, quite frankly, made me look like an applicant for the “Undateables” in comparison.
With this fresh in my memory, I was summoned to one of the studios, by my friend in the sunflower inspired shirt. Unfortunately they decided that my hair didn’t need any major reconstruction, and just asked me to get changed into my first outfit. I thought a shirt was a safe bet. Casual but edgy (it was from All Saints) leaving my suit until the end. Lord of the sunflowers returned with a hand held camera, and began by what i can assume was a common tactic – bigging up my ego. In the space of around two minutes he told me I had a great chest, prominent cheekbones, and that I definitely looked around 25. It worked. I thought I was Becks in LA on a red carpet.
One thing I did learn was that I’ve been posing for pictures all wrong. According to the experts (Mr Sunflower), by bringing your chin forward slightly, the shape of your whole face changes, bringing out your jaw and cheekbones. You should never aim your face directly at the camera, rather just to the side, letting your “eyes control the camera, not the other way around”. Lastly, looking angry is a good thing, as anger is “sexy”. In hindsight, I perhaps took this piece of advice on a bit too enthusiastically.
After getting shots in all kinds of positions – on the floor, sitting down, arms crossed, on one knee – the results were in, and i was called into an office to chat about my potential with the big dog – the man who has the final say, who dressed like Gok Wan but spoke like Phil Mitchell. According to them, I indeed had some. In pointing out the obvious, they explained how I wasn’t a grade 1 model – VOGUE, Man’s Health, basically a global superstar – but I did fit in to the other categories, and stood a good chance of getting paid work.
Looking over my shots afterwards however, I had no idea where they were coming from. In all but perhaps one I look like I’ve just seen someone slap my nan (this is where I took the “sexy = angry” advice a tad overboard), and the majority of them seem to have captured my right eye slowly drooping to the floor, with some making it look as if I have a severe case of dandruff. I can laugh about it now, as for me it wasn’t about getting a mega money contract (although I wouldn’t have said no). Regardless of my modelling ability, I had found out a lot about the modelling world for students.
Modelling is a fickle business, and one which, if you do decide to take on full time, you need to prepare yourself for. There will always be competition, and therefore always the chance you may not make it big straight away, especially as a student. There’s always the chance for someone much older who wants a permanent job to walk through the door with a chiselled jaw that makes your face look like a potato. That’s just a given.
Secondly, there is definitely money to be made as a student low on cash, even if you aren’t of the VOGUE breed. The possible pay for work was up in the hundreds, and definitely a viable option ifyou can put in the time and pull a decent pose. If they somehow liked what i had to offer, then it’s there for the taking. Keep a beady eye on your Facebook feeds.
Thirdly, I am yet to receive any kind of paid or even unpaid work, as I suspected. Quite honestly, I’m not fussed, but don’t be surprised to see me as the new face of “Lazy Eye Weekly” at some point in the future.