Firstly thank you for visiting my page and welcome to my first ever post!

I’ve been meaning to start a blog for a while, primarily to share my experiences as a model and to shed some REAL light on being a model. I also hope to blog personal issues, current affairs and basically anything I care to at the time! I have been reluctant to blog until now; one, because I feel it’s rather cliche (I mean who doesn’t have a blog these days?) and two, pure laziness! However, there don’t seem many male models out there sharing their thoughts and opinions (and right now I’m in a 14 day quarantine – damn Corona!) so I’ve decided to bite the bullet and do it!

Disclaimer: This blog is from the POV of a working, 31 y/o, British-Pakistani, Muslim model, whose sole career is not being a model, nor do I claim to be a super model. However, having modelled for nearly 4 years, across a few different markets, I hope I can share enough of an insight. I won’t waste your time discussing my history but if you care enough; check out the “About Me” section 🙂

So I titled this post “I’m a Model” which is the single most cringe worthy statement, ever! And one that myself and many of my model counterparts dare not use, unless we have to. Don’t get me wrong I am super proud to be a model but there’s something about describing myself as one just feels…odd. I think for me it’s a combination of not wanting to come across like “I’m a Model – hair flick, look at me, I’m awesome…” and part insecurity of a layman looking at me thinking “Really? YOU’RE a model?” Not to mention all the follow up questions that come with it “Who do you model for? What’s the biggest job you’ve done? So are you famous? Oooh who’s the most famous person you’ve worked with?” to which there is no single answer or sometimes no answer at all!

What do people think of when they hear the word “model”? I feel I’ve been doing this too long to even remember but I imagine they perceive a very tall, skinny man/woman with unattainable beauty, strutting their stuff on the major catwalks of London, Milan and Paris and living a rich, glamorous life? Or do they think of something out of a reality TV Show, where models are pushed to their limits, treated like rubbish and forced to do things they’re not comfortable with? Well I can tell you it’s neither but probably somewhere between the two.

Firstly there are numerous genres of modelling; I guess the one most people associate Models with is the Fashion – Editorial & Catwalk type; this is where you get your tall, slim, young, quirky looking models. The second being Commercial – TV Commercials, Ecommerce and even Catalogue; here you get your typically pretty girl/handsome guy but there’s a lot more flexibility with age, sizes etc as you sell everyday products. Other sectors include body parts (hand/feet), fitness, lifestyle, ethnic, influencers etc. Some models are lucky to fall into all of these categories; others tend to get boxed into just one. No genre is better than another but they do have their pros and cons. Fashion is kind of the model aspiration but often does not pay much (unless you make it big or are already a celebrity) – my first ever London Fashion Week Show paid me £25 for a 12 hour day – insane right?! If you think that’s bad, some Catwalk shows or big magazines like Vogue don’t pay at all; it’s almost seen as a favour to models just having the opportunity (but this is a topic for another post). I’d like to point out if you do well in Fashion modelling you can go onto earn a lot of money with big brands (but this is rare!). Commercial modelling pays a lot better and it’s always nice seeing your face on TV or billboards, the down side; you are also competing with actors, dancers etc. and the competition is intense. Personally I fit into the commercial category due to my age, height and look but have been lucky enough to book many catwalk shows and some editorials – so it can be done!

When people think of models, they think of all the top Models in the World, but these famous models barely make up 2% of the total model population. There are thousands of models out there and it IS a regular job (it’s just not a typical 9-5) The best way I can describe being a model is going to job interviews on a daily basis i.e. castings (if you are lucky enough to be short listed in the first place) where you then have to try and book that job against another sometimes 100 odd models. So imagine landing an interview for your dream job and your praying and prepping for it super hard, only to get rejected for the smallest reason or because there were hundreds of other candidates to choose from; now imagine this happening on a daily basis. But now also imagine going through this and actually booking the job – THAT is the high that models work for! So if you ever see a model on the catwalk or on a billboard somewhere – know they have worked hard and achieved a great thing!

The best way for a model to get work is to sign with a reputable agency – do your research & see which type of agency you would fit in i.e. fashion or commercial. If you get rejected by an agency it is only because they don’t have any clients wanting your look, remember the agency will make money from you booking work through them so why would they not take you on unless they feel they couldn’t get you work? Once signed, clients will approach the agency giving them a brief of what they are looking for and any matching models on the agency books will be sent to the casting and the rest is up to the model to try and book that job. Of course, many models work freelance, without an agency, who come across castings on social media, word of mouth or knowing the clients/casting agents directly.

As you can see, modelling is not the most dependable of careers; there may be weeks/months where you don’t book a single job, other weeks you may be working nonstop! Bear in mind models have to pay their own expenses i.e. travel to castings, if modelling abroad – flights/accommodation etc (unless for a specific client) and if you are not booking work then you will end up in debt with your agency. Doesn’t sound so glamorous, does it? There will be some days working 15 hours for little pay but then there may be days of 1 hour shoots paying thousands. A lot of models, including myself, have secondary careers to keep them afloat! Some models can work their entire career and fail to book any high end work!

One myth I would like to debunk is that models are put in awkward or bad situations and made to deal with it. Very rarely this can happen; but if you are getting paid £1000 for a campaign, deal with being hung upside down in a harness! Majority of the time the agency and the model are briefed fully before the shoot. It is then the models job to ensure there is nothing involved that would make him/her uncomfortable. For example, I won’t do any nude/intimate shoots nor advertise alcohol, gambling etc due to my beliefs. I have made this clear to my agency and therefore they will never put me forward for these jobs. If for any reason I did end up on set for something like this I could politely refuse – rest would be up to my agent to fix. However, as models it is imperative we are professional at all times; have a good, positive attitude on set, be punctual, remain professional with fellow cast and crew and follow direction as requested. A great personality and good work ethic gets you further in this industry than your looks!

Being a model is definitely not for everyone. My family thinks I’m crazy for putting myself through the hardship when (in their opinion) I have a fantastically good career as an Optometrist. For me though, I love the buzz and creativity of modelling and the feeling of seeing myself on the catwalk, billboard or magazine – which I think only other models can understand. You can only be a successful model if you are passionate and pro active and willing to work hard! That’s what being a model truly entails…

So that was a little crash intro to the World of modelling. I hope you enjoyed the read and it gave you a bit of an insight- for those keen to become models or for those who are just interested in how the industry works . Please leave some comments below and any questions and ideas for future post will be welcomed 🙂