Life of a model

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IMG_7082 Regular readers will know that I almost never get in front of the camera. I’d much rather be behind the lens. However I was recently asked to model for a shoot, so in the name of understanding life is like on the other side of the camera I said yes. Hasn’t everyone wondered what life would be like as a model, even just for a day? As I discovered, it’s a little more than standing in front of a camera…

2 days before:

3pm – I meet with the art director and production team to discuss the concept for the shoot and which items I can bring from my wardrobe. After mentally flicking through my wardrobe I promise to send through some photos of the items I’ll bring.

The day before:

10am – The art director calls to confirm the looks we’re going to shoot and the venue. So far, so good. 2:30pm – I’m meant to buy two items so that I can try them on first. They’ve been picked out by the team so I figure that I can easily get them in the hour I have between the Eva Longoria press conference and my next appointment. Wrong! My size is sold out at one store and I have to make a trip to another branch. By a stroke of luck, the last piece of one item is my size. Unfortunately, the other piece is sold out everywhere in my size so I have to go with something slightly larger.

6pm – I get a message to say that the shoot has been moved up from 9:30am to 7:30am. I am not a morning person!

10pm – Another message – the shoot will now be spread over two days. It’s a relief that we won’t be rushed for time. 11:30pm – I finish packing for the next day. It’s not just clothes and accessories but also little tricks of the trade, like paper clamps to hold clothes in place. My make-up bag is packed with quick fixes: some Nuxe oil to add shine to skin and tame frizzy hair, philosophy BB cream for quick coverage and SPF, plus back-up nail polish, powder and highlighter.


The first day of the shoot:

6am – The alarm goes off, as well as some unrepeatable language. I try to get it out of my system before the shoot. Nobody likes a late talent, much less a difficult one.

7:30am – It’s Starbucks and a quick scout as we reach the location one by one. I’m relieved to not be the last to arrive.

8:30am – Shooting on the beach turns out to be a challenging proposition as we compete with tankers and dogs learning to swim in the background. I’m also having flashbacks to the three months I tried to do ballet as I attempt to ‘effortlessly reach towards the sky’ while being buffeted by a rising tide. One of the things I’ve sometimes forgotten as a photographer is how awkward it can be posing and wondering when the shutter will go off next. You need constant feedback to know if a pose looks awkward or if you need to push it further.

9am – I hit a flow and figure out how to stop worrying about the camera and just enjoy the shoot. The only break is to slather on some Nuxe or change props. We finish off several shots in quick succession.

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10:30am – There’s a quick break between locations. I grab a pasta salad for lunch, which I regret almost immediately. I have no issues with carbs, but a massive meal on a shoot with figure-hugging outfits seems to be a no-no. I give the team licence to use the liquify tool. Liberally.

Noon – We have an interruption as one of the locations we want to shoot at turns out to be inappropriate. Everything – clothes, camera, towels, products – gets bundled into a cab and we run to a new location.

1:30pm – New location turns out well but the pool is freezing. Some curious six-year-olds look on as I pull some more ballet moves for the camera. It feels silly, but often poses that feel a little odd actually turn out well on the screen. At least, I’m hoping so as I’m asked to lie down in the water and I start empathizing with contestants from Asia’s Next Top Model.

3pm – about 8 hours later, it’s a wrap. Time to sleep and run some errands ahead of tomorrow’s shoot.



The second day of shooting:

1:30pm – There’s more items I need to bring to today’s shoot and I’m getting confused. Black shoes or nude heels? It’s not worth risking the shoot: both go into a cabin bag and it’s off to Orchard.

2:30pm – Orchard has to be one of the most frustrating places to shoot. There’s constant distractions for the entire crew, variable light and lots of people staring…when they’re not walking in front of the shot. One of the guys goes into shooing mode to make sure that tourists don’t get in the way, but it’s only half successful. I try to ignore the shooing noises and focus on how I’m meant to be posing.

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3pm – We’re struggling with unfortunately-placed traffic. You never expect every shot to be usable but the less you need to take to get THE shot, the better. There’s too many variables today so we need to re-position.

3:45pm – After trekking up and down Orchard in heels with several outfits in tow, we find a place with a better backdrop but more people staring. Luckily, my part is a wrap within about 15 minutes. A lot of shooting is rush to wait, wait to rush.


4:30pm – We reach the final location. Thankfully not much is required from me because I’m surprisingly tired from a day and a half of shooting. (On the plus side, there’s free cake.) Modelling doesn’t give me the same energy as shooting and I’m glad it’s not my regular gig, but it was challenging in a way you might not expect.


White dress by MANGO | vintage Gucci belt | Hermes H watch | Victoria Beckham sunglasses

Thank you to Flipit for a sweet 15% off on the dress through Zalora – check out their site for the latest discount codes from a bunch of retailers!

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