Tales From A Blogger Turned Model
There are so many amazing opportunities that become available to you as a blogger. After three years of style blogging, I've recently started getting work as a model. Here I share more about my journey from blogging to modelling, the observed effect social media is having on the modelling world and the increasingly blurred lines between influencer and supermodel.
My story so far
I was told in the past that modelling was something I should get into but it wasn't really a long term ambition of mine. I had been scouted by several "top" agencies between the ages of 14 to 16 years old but was never able to close the deal because, for one, they required me to lose weight, regardless of the fact that I was already a UK dress size 6/8. Even as a teenager, I knew that was messed up and I wasn’t really ready to part with my weekly cheeseburger routine, so I let that fantasy go rather quickly.
Firmly in my mid 20s and with a couple of years worth of blogging experience under my belt, I was scouted on Instagram last month and signed to a modelling agency. Looking at the whole picture now, I can see that timing really is everything and it's worked out better that I can model as an adult. The modelling industry, though glamorised, is really made up of a chaotic lifestyle full of continuos travel, criticism, the potential for abuse and quite often low pay. You need to have a strong character to be able to navigate safely through such a world, something that my shy, teenage self would have struggled to handle.
The Impact of Social Media: AKA The Kendall Jenner Effect
Having those years of blogging experience helped me develop confidence in front of the camera and now it seems the modelling world is becoming a little more forgiving anyway. Working as a commercial model allows for all shapes, races and sizes to try their hand at advertising or editorial shoots, something that I’m sure the rise of social media has had some effect on. Speaking to other models on set, I’ve become aware of how social media is changing the modelling playing field. It has allowed girls like me, those who because of the shape of their body or the colour of their skin would previously have been overlooked, now have a fighting chance.
But while amazing for me, a blogger looking for more exposure, work and dollar, it’s putting more pressure on the average model. Models need to compete with pretty faces online who would be willing to do the same work for cheaper or even with influencers holding a large social media following. Many agencies now require their models to up their online presence and build their own social media followings. In one way, it’s better exposure as brands often troll through Instagram to find a fresh face for their campaigns. On the other hand, competition is fierce and if you don’t have the desire to spend time nurturing a blog, vlog or become a social media star like Kendall or Gigi, it feels a tad unfair.
Blogger vs Model
Being a blogger first, I’ve become increasingly aware that actually as a model, you lose a lot of control. When it comes to my blog, I decide how I want to look. I’m in charge of hair, makeup, styling, creative direction, hell sometimes even photography too. Working as a model, I'm just a living, breathing mannequin.
Don’t get me wrong, it can feel nice. Having to be in charge of everything for my own shoots does get overwhelming, especially when I’m constantly trying to come up with fresh and creative content. Even having someone else do hair and makeup, instead struggling to get my winged eyeliner to match, feels great! But there are also times I feel a fool as a model. Times where I look at myself in the mirror and think, “I look fucking stupid right now!” but I have no authority or voice to change anything. I still have to walk out on set and rock whatever I’m wearing or however I’m looking like. As a blogger, I’m the boss. As a model, I just gotta suck it up. For that, I have a new found respect for models. It's hard work, trust me.
Regardless, the lines between fashion blogger and model are getting increasingly blurred and in those instances where I've modelled for a brand as a blogger, such as in these photos for Clive Collection, I’ll have a bit more creative freedom in how I look e.g. makeup, hair or even styling. However, ultimate creative direction lies with the brand, as does final decisions on selected images, etc... As time goes on, it will be interesting to see how the two worlds of social media infleuncer and modelling overlap further. For now, I’m just enjoying this new experience, while I can.