95% of a models time is spent waiting at a casting. I made this figure up, but I am pretty certain it’s close. One of the first things I learnt was what to take on a full day of castings – and the list is not short.
In your bag should include the essentials: Portfolio, a pair of high heels, an A-Z map of London (or other), phone (preferably with google maps), money, large bottle of water, lots of easy snacks to eat on the go (because you never have time to sit down for a meal), and something to keep you entertained whilst you are waiting in a never-ending queue of models such as a book, ipod, or monopoly.
It’s also important to dress correctly in skin tight/body con clothing so the clients can see your frame easily. I just raided H&M for skinny jeans and plain T-shirts. On occasion I tried to be a bit more fashionable wearing some high waisted American Apparel riding pants, but my bookers told me to go home and change because they didn’t want to send me to a Burberry casting with a big bum. One other time I wore a padded bra and my bookers noticed straight away telling me to never wear it again for castings. I found it all so peculiar in the beginning, I didn’t understand why something like a padded bra would make such a difference in getting a job or not, but I soon learnt it’s a whole other world where every little detail matters.
In my first week of castings in November, I was overwhelmed. The speed at which you have to get from one casting to another is ridiculous! I remember staring at this sheet with five castings on, which at the time I thought was a busy day. After doing twenty castings a day for fashion week, five castings seems like a walk in the park. By the time I was on my fourth casting, my back was aching from lugging around this heavy bag, and my feet were sore. I spent about four hours sat on the tube that day.
In that week of castings, I booked two jobs. The first was for GHD to promote the new hair dryer. The call time for this was 7am which meant a 5am start to the day. If that wasn’t bad enough, on my way to the location, my google maps app on my phone took me to the Playboy club instead. I started to panic as it was 6:55, and I was stood inside a building decorated with bunnies. I called my booker frantically who helped guide me to the correct hotel. The team at GHD were lovely, I ate three bacon butties that morning. Here’s some quick shots that were taken –
The second job I booked that week was for the Peter Jensen Fashion In Motion show at the V&A museum. This was the first big catwalk I had done, and stepping out onto a catwalk that long with thousands of people watching was unbelievable. There is nothing like the adrenaline rush I had that day. In my head the whole time I was saying over and over again “please don’t fall please don’t fall please don’t fall”. We did the show four times, and during the second show my dresser backstage didn’t fasten the buckle on my right shoe. Half way down the runway I felt the strap loosen completely and I walked the rest of the way with my toes clinging onto the shoe for dear life. I even heard somebody gasp near the end as my foot wobbled. But I didn’t fall! huzzah!
Here are a few shots from the show of me absolutely terrified: