Friday, 29 April 2011

Bring me the world.

Away from the lens.

Well, I know this blog is primarily concerned with my modelling, but at the same time I'm going to be cheeky and use it for my not-quite-so-exciting personal life too.

As anybody truly close to me will now, things have been pretty rocky recently in a lot of ways, and I've been coping with a lot of things, which I won't go into on my public blog (I have an anonymous one for that!)

But it's getting to the point that something has to give, and now, it has given. Because of financial strains, we were seriously considering giving up our flat and moving back home anyway but what we also realised is that doing so would give me the opportunity to do something I've always, always wanted to do - save money to go travelling. Since I started at university, if I'm entirely honest, I have utterly detested it; it has single-handedly sapped every ounce of passion I have for the subject - sucked it bone dry and snapped the shards. So I'm taking myself out of the situation for a year.

My parents seem to think I'm stupid enough not to return to my studies after a year, but I know myself that I have to - I have far too much ambition, and my life plans don't include me being stuck in a dead end job. I'm taking a year out, before my grades start to matter, and then I'll go back and I will succeed. They don't seem to realise that the doubt they have in me just reinforces my need to do well, but perhaps that's why they're discouraging me? I suppose underneath it all I'm still a quiet rebel; tell me I'm going to fail and I'll do anything I can to prove you wrong. Tell me I can't do something and I will dig my heels in all the way, even if it causes me to blister and stumble. Don't you all know me well enough by now?

Well anyway, I have the most itchy feet possible. I have always had this wanderlust, and in all honesty I blame the Lyon genepool for that (even though it's that side of the family trying to stop me now - and yes, I do know you're reading!). I love the thought of getting out a map, and taking a random chance on where the pin will land... I could follow it around the globe, soaking up every city, every country, every culture en route. I want to experience everything this world has to offer, and I'm not content to settle with the small corner I've already sampled.

So once I've sat my second year exams, I'm going to be sitting plotting, poring over travel brochures until I can come up with that perfect itinerary! I'm having trouble deciding between continents at the moment, and I don't have the budget to see all three of the ones I'm leaning towards - North America, Australia, and Europe. But I will see at least one of them, now it's just choosing which one.

I can't wait.

A shot from the Cameo Art House shoot.

This shot is by the lovely James Thomas, taken in the Cameo Cinema in Edinburgh... Such a fantastic location; sumptuous red velveteen seating, antique detailing with cornices and pillars, old fashioned cinematic screen complete with those lovely old curtains. There were six of us in total; me, James, his assistant Yoshi, another model - Ieva Jankovska, and the make up artist and stylist, Ola Kowalonek and Karla von Denkoff, who I've had the privilege of working with on numerous occasions now :)

London calling.

So, as any readers will know, after I came back from the trip with the girls, I was due to fly down to London to meet with an agency. Well, that happened, but as any of my fellow facebookers will know, it didn't exactly go as planned.

On the Sunday evening, I accomplished a personal first - flying alone to London Luton airport. I was irrationally terrified at the prospect of a) looking like a terrorist, b) beeping going through the arch of terror in security, c) forgetting my passport, d) any other number of possible airport disasters I was more than likely to run into. But! I managed to get through all the traumas successfully, and arrived at the airport feeling pretty proud of myself (yeah yeah yeah, I know I'm a massive sad act.) Linda was there waiting to pick me up, and it was so good to see her. We often talk on facebook, so it was lovely to be able to sit and have a proper 'real life' chat with her, and her home was beautiful... I had my own, gorgeous room and in all honesty I wouldn't have left two days later if I didn't have to!

Well anyway, on Monday I had an appointment at 1pm with an agency, so Linda dutifully dropped me at Windsor train station (because she's lovely like that), and I got the train to Waterloo, from there catching a cab to King's Road in Chelsea where the agency have their main premises. I had been nervous about the meeting, but was also feeling relatively positive as they had specifically asked me to go and see them. However, I was told when I got there that I was too fat for editorial work, and too tall for any commercial... They half-heartedly told me they could put me on their books and try and find me some bits and bobs of work, but that I would be way down on their priority list and it would be unlikely they'd find me work. I have to be honest, hearing that was quite a blow, especially considering in our email exchange the head booker had been really enthusiastic about my images. The girl that interviewed me, on the other hand, said I had 'nothing of any use or worth' in my portfolio. In all honesty, after the way they spoke to me, I chose to refuse their lacklustre offer of representation - surely, the whole point of being signed to an agency is that their job is to actively find you work? If the agency don't believe in me, why should anyone else? So I bid them good day, and wandered down to another couple of agencies on King's Road.

Neither of these two agencies wanted to add me to their books; however, they were so, so much more helpful than the first (and funnily enough, way more established and respected than the first). I had a lot of positive feedback; both told me I had a beautiful face and that I could do really well, but that I wasn't quite right for them. One of them sat with me for quite a while, just to urge me not to give up, which I took to be a really positive sign. The booker also said to give it another six months, expand my book a little more and try again, so that's certainly something to aim for, is it not!?

I tried three other agencies that day, and was actually almost signed to one. The two bookers that I spoke to really liked me, and had even offered me representation, before the head booker came along and veto'd it because they already had a girl on their books who had a similar look. Which was a little irritating, but again, not exactly hugely negative... Hey, if someone that looks like me is already on the books of an agency, that can only be a reassuring thought :)

By the end of the day, I was feeling quite disheartened - a little frustrating to be continually told, "You're really good and we love your face, but no, you're not quite right for us. But keep trying!" I began to think, well... where do I keep trying? But then I realised that I had achieved something that a lot of girls might not - I went to London, and spoke to some of the biggest agencies in the country, and received no overtly negative comments, only encouragement for the most part. So in the end, I flew out of Luton airport not on a low from coming home without a contract, but feeling positive that a contract may happen eventually, but even if it doesn't materialise, I absolutely love what I'm doing, and I will continue to do it with or without the representation of an agency :)

And since coming home, I have had interest from an agency in Manchester, and a commercial agency in London... So, all hope is not lost, and positivity is absolutely key :) And I'm not going to allow myself to worry about whether something will or will not come from it; the interest is enough to renew my confidence in the work I'm producing, and although I'm about to spout a most tired cliché - what will be will be.

Aaaaaand some out-takes ;)

These photos make me very very happy; let's do it again soon :) <3

Edwin Firminger.

Edd is amazing - we're going to go and play I-Spy from Ayres Rock, in Tokyo and on the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro :)

Gary Hill.

This man made me realise that commercial is not the enemy; it's to be embraced :) And he makes a cracking cuppa too.

Gareth Hickey.

Took care of me when I was run-down and ill... What more can you ask for?

Phil Winterbourne.

My personal trainer from afar. Oh, and he also takes quite a good photograph too ;)

Jay Mawson.

I could post every single one of the photos from this shoot, but here's a few favourites. The man is a genius.

Kat Timmins.

Kat is a real gem, all you models should be snapping at her heels! :)

Nicholas Ainsley.

I have so far received back one shot from the lovely Mr Ainsley :)

A blog in several parts.

I've left it ridiculously long to post on here, so I'm going to post a few different ones today so I don't totally obliterate my poor, tired, confused brain.

I'll start off with a long overdue post about mine, Chrissie and Sarah (Valentina Velvet)'s trip around the north of England... I'm so worried that I've left it too long to properly do justice to what was a fabulous, memorable and utterly exhausting week, but I'll sure as hell give it a go. The three of us are lucky enough to have the memory of it imprinted in our heads, and I'll try and give the rest of you as good a glimpse as possible, even if it is a little sketchy on the details.

In our little five day tour, I managed to incorporate five major towns, three countries, eight shoots and a whirlwind of new faces and experiences. The photographers I was lucky enough to work with, in order of meeting, were Kat Timmins, Nicholas Ainsley, Steve Gabbett, Jay Mawson, Phil Winterbourne, Gareth Hickey, Gary Hill and Edwin Firminger, and I have nothing but thanks and praise for all of them. I know a couple of them took a real chance on me, and I'm so grateful because I really do feel their investment was worth the while. The whole week has, I feel, really advanced me as a model and that is exactly what I had hoped to achieve; the images I have received from those five days... Well, let's just say I find it difficult to attribute those images to the clumsy, awkward girl I'm used to seeing in the mirror! Some of those images have captured aspects of me that I adored bringing to life. It's difficult to comprehend sometimes that I've only been modelling for three months, but I want to keep striving, keep evolving, and above all else, keep creating.

So although I could go into a lot more detail, that is how I want to preserve my week, so I'll say nothing more about the photographic side of things... But look out for some pictures in the following posts :)

And now, I'll talk about the two people that managed to take the week from fabulous, to extraordinary - my girls, my wonderful girls, Chrissie and Sarah. I really don't want to go over the top and gush sickeningly (that is so not my style), but it would be difficult to describe these two, and my experiences with them, without a little bit of sick-bag gushing. Put simply, I now consider the two of them to be two of my best friends, and I have total trust and respect for both of them... I find it quite difficult to find and keep true friends, so I know that I'm onto something special here; two lovely girls that I can have a massive, hilarious riot with, but also talk to about bloody anything! We are going to plan the next one very very soon, so watch this space England - we're coming for you ;) Ladies, it's a pleasure, and I love you both, Miss Elongated and Miss Juicy :) <3

Sunday, 3 April 2011

The time for action is now.

I NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT. I am sick to the back teeth of feeling like a lardy fat git, even if I'm not one. Let's be honest, I am a lardy fat git when it comes to modelling, and I'm really getting fed up of it - I want to feel good about myself, and get back to the weight I was before, I was much happier with my body then. And come on, which agency is going to want me the weight I am currently?

I've been trying everything, but I have to admit last week I had a relapse because I was just feeling pretty shitty, and while that's no excuse, it happened and I can't retract the pounds added! I'm now planning to go for this full throttle, I need to be so strict with myself. It will be oh so easy to give in to temptation but in all honesty, a tub of Haagen Dazs isn't really going to land me a place in an agency, but hard work might. That's the goal I have in my head, the final mirage, the oasis at the end of a desert laiden with cakes and other assorted devilish treats.

Recommended by Norma, I've signed up to a fitness website that allots you calories, and you input exactly what you've eaten in a day, so there's no room for error when it comes to calorie counting. I also got an exercise bike after I was kindly given a lot of help and great advice from a photographer I really respect and admire - I'm going to aim to be using it as much as possible, surely when you have long legs it must be a bit easier? No!? Okay, maybe I'll just collapse in a heap on the floor... Maybe the fall will lose me some extra calories. AAAAAARGH!

Wish me luck please :(