I’m sat on the set of a big campaign where my face is going to end up in shop windows for a year. There are whispers that it will be worldwide – I don’t know. Even though I’ve been professionally modelling for over a year I feel nervous. It’s top secret and I can’t say who till it drops. The morning has been spent washing and rewashing my hair and telephone calls to my agent to ask if the client can cut my hair and negotiating how much can get the chop. It’s going ahead.
I won’t lie it was a rocky start to the morning, I didn’t sleep very well – I never do the night before a big shoot and the moment I stepped outside my door it was torrential downpour. It was so loud hitting the pavement you couldn’t hear me saying ‘fuck this’ every step of the way whilst battling with the winds and my umbrella. Two minutes in I was soaked and ready to throw a tantrum. I rocked up to the location in the middle of Hackney Wick looking like I’d swam the Thames. Bloody marvellous.
My new editorial has come out for Rough Magazine. I remember it well, it was shot in the beginning of January, the temperature was -2 and I was wearing very little. For one shot I was asked to walk in the middle of the road down London Bridge during rush hour. Standard. I said yes in less than a second. If there’s a chance to cause trouble put me in it. Puzzled expressions from pedestrians and words from drivers that I cannot repeat were shot my way. Modelling has made me grow in so many ways.
Further on into the shoot I was told by a member of the team that my poses were too generic (sting) so I threw my leg up on a tree and squatted. Wild cheers from the team quickly ensued. Crazy huh?
Also in the final days of last year I managed to get signed to an agency in Paris, I guess I can now be called an ‘international model.’ Fancy.
Getting up for the Eurostar at 3am wasn’t fun but the idea of trotting around Paris to go to castings for Paris Fashion Week spurred me on, despite the fact it was -3 degrees there. It was so cold that my face stopped working – when trying to speak my mouth felt like a camel chewing on grass.
Wrecked and half-way through my castings I got onto the Metro and quickly fell asleep only to be startled awake with a beggar sat next to me and at my stop. I quickly hopped off and went to my agency where I was having a meeting. Disaster. I realised that the folder containing my passport and deed poll was no longer in my bag. Frantically I searched it twice and the agency in case I had misplaced it. I was worrying that the beggar had robbed me while I slept and, worst of all, was looking at a miserable looking 18 year old me in my passport. Only to then realise I had put it in another bag. What can I say – I only had a few hours’ sleep?
If anyone has used the Metro in Paris they will be all too familiar with ‘tickets’ that are more stamp sized then ticket sized and how easy they are to lose. Having lost my costly day pass ’ticket’ I decided to buy a few single journey ones only to find my day pass in my coat pocket. Face palming and swearing under my breath I started laughing because some woman asked me for a spare one – I guess I was a ticket master.
I love churches, there is just something about them that I find captivating but whilst in Paris I learnt to use them to their full potential. Being warm and quiet and me cold and tired and having some time to spare between castings I’d find a church, find a good spot and doze off clutching my bag and sitting upright. Anyone that saw me would assume I was praying. I’d wake up after 20 minutes and saunter to my next casting. Nailed it.
Paris is a tough market modelling wise and I wasn’t expecting to get any shows. On my last day I had a casting for Geoffrey B Small. He asked me how Paris was going and I replied, ‘it’s tough, I haven’t had any shows yet but I’m trying to stay positive.’ He replied, ‘well you’ve booked my show and its not a bad one to start with, the call time is at five today.’ Overjoyed I floated out of the casting and walked around Paris – grateful for the fact that I had a show whilst others had nothing.
Geoffrey B Small is somewhat of a pioneer on sustainable fashion design and is an antinuclear supporter within fashion. In 1996 his collection was made from recycled materials – virtually unheard of at the time and isn’t afraid to push the boundaries. One of his collections contained secret warnings against illiteracy within the Western World. One only needs to cast their gaze towards popular TV shows such as the Only Way is Essex and Jersey Shore to see these warnings have serious foundations.
The clothes were stunning and it was an honour to wear this man’s clothes and to walk in his collection. I had one outfit that was so simple but full of detail. We walked to a singer performing acapella and with no makeup and hair. It was raw and authentic. I loved it. I find it uneasy sometimes the image that modelling portrays to the unsuspecting consumer. People say to me you look amazing in this picture – the reality? A golden tri-factor of makeup, lighting and editing. Once again Geoffrey is pushing the boundaries and showing a realness in the fashion and modelling industry that some would like to gloss over.
Photographer – Darren Brade
Styling and Art Direction – Cuba Charles
Grooming – Kite Chuang
Hair – Dora Yu
Magazine – Rough Magazine