Modelling: The Bar Work Of The Fashion World
The Debrief: Random hours, humiliation around every corner, yes, bar work and modelling, it’s the same old thing...
Uni’s great. You’re super smart by proxy, get your recommended eight hours sleep+ a night and the NUS knows how to make shit happen and then, when you graduate, you wave your degree, doff your mortarboard and land the job of your dreams. The end.
Yeah, obviously this doesn’t happen, which is why I ended up working in a bar. I wasn’t allowed to make real drinks, the BA (Hons) Mixology Wanker got that job, but I was allowed to pour Guinness. And I could draw a clover in it. And stick men. I could basically tailor your pint to whatever crude drawing you wanted, so FU BA (Hons) Mixology Wanker.
Pretty much everyone I know, worked, or still works, in a bar-cafe-restaurant environment. The kind of interim job you land straight out of uni ‘cos it’s the only job you can get' and 'it’s OK money' and, 'it’s flexible' and you end up doing it forever even though you hate it because it becomes comfortable and it means you actually have some money. .
Looking back, there's one thing I wish I had known during those months I spent drawing stick men in pints of Guinness: Cara Delevingne is just a struggling bar girl - albeit without the stench of Corona and despair emanating from her very soul.
Yes, in one huge Hulk SMASH of a generalising statement, modelling is the bar work of the fashion world, they're basically the same thing. Here's why:
Most people don’t plan to do it
Obviously, you get the ones who are OBSESSED with becoming a model, but they’re never the successful ones. The ones that are get picked up in random places, like while they’re watching Sister Act the musical, or just ‘fell’ into it when they accompanied their OBSESSED friend to an agency open day and got signed up, instead. This was Cara, 'I never thought I would be a model, I never wanted to be a model' Delevingne, who landed an agency after getting scouted at school. I never found myself telling my careers guidance counsellor I wanted to work in a bowling alley after uni. But you know, lol.
You don’t plan on doing it for long
In the July issue of Vogue, after branding the industry 'horrible,' Cara described modelling as an amuse-bouche, 'an hors d’oeuvre, never the main dish. Acting is and always was the thing.' I imagine Gisele said the same thing when she made Taxi. Thankfully, modelling is a surprisingly forgiving beast.
My mate Eirinie, who is one of those IRL models, can confirm that, similar to the degradation that bar work brings, like having to stand guard over a pile of vom whilst your manager promises he’ll be back with a mop and bucket in due course, modelling can be equally as humiliating. 'I once did a LCF graduate show and they insisted on putting satin orange ribbon around our shoes, sort of on the ball of our foot area, so that when we walked out on the catwalk we, fucking naturally, had zero traction. About four of the 10 models slipped and fell, it was like an ice rink. Oh and P.S. half of us had multi-coloured visors pulled down over our eyes, just for the added challenge.'
And it makes you question society
We’ve all heard those Terry Richardson stories, and about girls getting dropped by their agency because they’re too fat for words, but getting picked up by clammy stag men who keep mistaking your bum for a mojito is the worst - apart from drunk city boys in Burton suits, they are beyond comprehension and don’t deserve our thoughts.
But you get free food
Yes, you may have to chow down in between shots/serving tables, and snarf leftover chips from a stranger’s plate before it reaches the kitchen but it’s FREE. And you can totally doggy bag. Ok, this weaves its way into the humiliating category…
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Picture: Eylul Aslan
At work? With your gran?
You might want to think about the fact you're about to read something that wouldn't exactly get a PG rating