President of Financial Examinations & Evaluations, Inc.
I find myself in Milan, Italy at the tail end of Fashion Week as I write this short article. I am here on other business but still get a chance to see what is happening on the runways of Milan. I am ever fascinated by the fashion industry and how and why people buy this or that - to belong to this or that group.
It is in these explorations I come across many young American models working on the famous and not so famous run ways. All are lithe and beautiful. Some are as elegant and sophisticated as one would expect in the movies and some are as coarse and funny as Larry the Cable Guy. I do my best to chat with them, as it is nice to speak English after a bit and to hear the mother tongue.
We ask each other about what we do. My answers bore them as they rightly should do. My principle questions of them revolve around what it takes to be a model other than good looks? The answers were interesting. To paraphrase a few of the answers…
The ability to put up with designers and their managers as they sift and sort through different models. Typically, the models stand in front of the designers and managers and are graded as a piece of meat is graded; according to their nonstandard system of what the designers think is gong to look good that day. You need a tough and beautiful skin to survive this form of brutal acceptance and rejection. You say to yourself, “It is not personal”, but it is personal. The designers are accepting or rejecting you, to your face - in a most brutal and abrupt fashion. It may not be personal for them - but it can feel very personal for the model.
While there is more money per event if you book solo there is also a greater risk of not getting paid. The agencies take a big percentage, but are very good at representing you and managing the payment from flighty or cash starved designers, but than you have two masters - the one at the agency and the designer behind the merchandise. It is a choice…
There was a collection of comments by all of the models of not wanting to be seen as having to be beautiful each and every day and not wanting to be looked at so much - but then again it is a trade off for a very nice lifestyle. The models universally get this duality.
The last item from those who had been in modeling business for more than a few years was very clear. One model was very adamant that you have to be very mindful of your health. “You can’t just expect your health to be there for you, like it is at home.” This was a great phrase and I asked the young woman if she could give me an example of what she meant - she did better than that…
To paraphrase a long conversation
At home if you eat right and get decent exercise you have a good chance of staying healthy. Not so in modeling. You cannot expect to eat right on the road; and a good model travels a great deal. Road food is designed to be cheap and possess a long shelf life. These foods are typically processed starches and fatty meats. Not what a model needs to fuel herself with. OK, so what about salads - rabbit food is filling but still leaves the body hungry. Supplements help, but are not a substitute for eating right. And one needs to find time to exercise - this may not be over looked.
Models have to keep the weight off but if they fail to manage their health properly they slip on to a path to their career’s end. They eat poorly, thus lack energy for exercise and begin to gain weight. To offset the weight gain they pick up smoking to curb their apatite. The use of cigarettes further weakens the body and it shows in a model’s face within just 12 to 18 months. Cigarettes, like fat, are a career shortner.
You are expected to be ready to go anywhere at anytime and this requires, excellent time management, an excellent travel agent and all of the vaccinations. Vaccinations such as: tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, mumps, measles, updated polio, yellow fever and the A and B Hepatitis vaccinations are a must. All of this vaccination history along with any medications one might take, blood type, and eyeglass Rx should be filled out in detail on a WHO Yellow Card, that you take with you just like you take your passport.
I was very impressed with this young woman’s insight, very impressed. As I too know the requirements of being ready to be anywhere at any point in time and the toll travel takes on the mind and body. I asked her how she got so smart so quick at such a young age. She smiled a very coy smile and said she didn’t. She had made every one of the mistakes above and learned what not to do, both from her choices and the good and bad choices of other career models she knew. With another coy smile she added that is how she has survived for 25 years as a model and is how she was instructing four other girls she pointed out to me to do the same. The four girls, one of which was her daughter, where at one of the hotel lobby tables laughing and carrying on just as we did the same.
This most wonderful conversation ended too soon. One of the four girls started to laugh and snort, causing another to do the same and in the mêlée a glass was knocked over. The four girls may be models but their teenager was showing. Mom got up to admonish them and got them off to a long walk before dinner.
Staying fit and healthy means all the more when the body and mind are under stress. Traveling we often forget or fail to do what we need to do and our errors compound the damage. The model mom I spoke to got it and knew what it took to be successful not just today and tomorrow but for years.
It is 5 am as I finish this article. I am still dealing with a bit of jet lag. By 5:30 I’ll be in the hotel’s workout room. Ciao
Mr. Files is a published author of five books, in particular "Due Diligence for the Financial Professional, 2nd edition 2010" and "Money and Budgets" other writing and material can be found at .https://www.feeinc.com/media.php. Mr. Files is an international speaker on these topics.
FE&E, Inc. is an international investigative firm specializing in, fraud prevention, asset recovery, due diligence, anti money laundering and intellectual property.
As a financial industry insider for over 30 years he is keenly aware of the type, and accuracy of the information required to make decisions. Mr. Files has been the case manager on fraud investigations ranging from tens of thousands of dollars to over 3 billion. As an international expert on due diligence and Intellectual Property and Critical Information (IPCI) he is regularly sought for those cases that bedevil the desktop practitioners.
This article is courtesy of the Top 1% Club and the Top 1% Club Mentor Gail Kasper. For additional information on Gail Kasper, her television appearances and speaking engagements, please visit gailkasper.com.