Modelling Take 1:
I was ‘discovered’ by my current manager Dayna (love you!) at the mall when I was 17 years old. It was my freshman year of university and I was out shopping with some friends. The world of fashion had always captivated me and at the time it felt like the opportunity of a lifetime. Within a couple of weeks, I had met & signed with an agency, been casted in my first fashion show and was trying to balance school work and my social life. For that first year and a half, I was happy. I was having fun meeting other models, going to castings and interacting with new creatives. I loved the clothes, the people, the energy… all of it. I felt like I was living my wildest dreams.
Deciding to leave
But then, a switch flipped around the two year mark. Modelling stopped being fun.
The excitement and happiness I felt meeting new people or going to castings was replaced with anxiety and stress. Around this time, my current manager had left the agency and I began to feel like I couldn’t show up fully as myself. I wanted to be the best model I could, but I was having difficulties balancing my school and work life. In addition, each rejection I got from castings caused strong feelings of inadequacy.
By 2.5 years in, I had likened my identity to my work as a model. I felt as though my value as a person was attached to my model experience. Holding onto this obscure idea of modelling forced me to make decisions that I’d never make now. These thoughts encouraged me to stay with an agency that didn’t even try to understand my experience as a dark skinned model. The thoughts told me to stay quiet while my hair and makeup were done poorly. I’m sad to say these thoughts even forced me to see and critique my body in ways that were not healthy or fair.
By age 20, I had had enough.
I made the decision to leave the industry and told myself that if I ever did rejoin, it would be on my terms and when I was ready.
Modelling Take 2:
Re-Entering the Industry
To be honest, I never thought I’d model again. I finished the last 3 years of school without it, started therapy (woo!), found other passions that excited me, got an amazing degree in Global Gender studies..life felt pretty good.
When my current manager told me about her plans to start her own agency, I knew that this time would be different. Not only would I get to work with someone I felt comfortable with, but I also felt better equipped to handle a potentially tumultuous relationship with the industry.
photographer: @photosbyweez for @theslowrodeo photographer: @brittany_daigle_stylist: @capricestylist; MUA: @kellyd.makeup
A New Mindset
I was – and am – more grounded now. I have a new appreciation for my body, have hobbies that centre me and a wonderful support of friends and family.
My mindset has shifted:
Modelling is something that I DO, but it doesn’t have to be who I am.
Through tons of therapy and late night talks with friends and family, I’ve learned that I am whole no matter what I choose to do with my life. When I stopped putting so much pressure on myself to be the perfect model, I started getting more gigs and signed a wonderful agency in Toronto – Le Drew (fka Plutino).
But most importantly, I started having fun.
photographer: @brittany_daigle_stylist: @capricestylist; MUA: @kellyd.makeup photographer: @photosbyweez for @theslowrodeo photographer: @brittany_daigle_stylist: @capricestylist; MUA: @kellyd.makeup
Don’t get me wrong, modelling is modelling; it’s hard work and there are A LOT of things that need to change (we’ll save the representation discussion for another time).
BUT I’m finding my place and space in it!
My tip to any budding models out there: work hard but take it easy. Be as intentional as you can and understand why YOU are in the industry. Most importantly, find other things that fill your cup so when you are experiencing those inevitable lows in the industry, you have other things that make you feel whole.
If you have any questions about my experience, needs advice or want to learn more about how I got into the industry etc, reach out to me!