Why models aren’t Divas
Why models AREN'T divas.
You have no idea how many times I hear somebody on a shoot telling me I'm being a diva. What has made these designers, photographers, makeup artists or stylists lash out and call me this? Was I demanding them to import air from Finland in plastic bottles to fill my dressing room, or after an hour or work asking for a break? Or maybe I was refusing to work with a designer because I read that 3 years ago they were inappropriate towards another model...
Or maybe I warned them in advance that I was a vegetarian when they asked if I had any dietary requirements and they tell me to "just eat chicken" when they give me the curry they had provided for lunch. How about that time I nearly got ill because I spent 5 hours shooting in the rain (nonstop) in a tiny dress, while everybody else was wearing layers and under an umbrella. Do I complain? No. Do I speak up for myself? You bet. "Hey guys can I take a few minutes to just warm up?" "What a diva!"
Let me tell you something about the fashion world, it's tough. So many people will work for free that if you ask for money for a show the organisers raise their eyebrows at you. Hungry? Tired? Need 5 minutes to run to the loo? Well I'm sorry but you should just be able to read the minds of the organisers when they tell you to arrive somewhere at 7am and then leave you hanging around for 5 hours but don't give you a clue of what is going on because as soon as you ask for something they decide they are in a total rush.
Here is a break down of an average show.
7am - the early birds arrive, usually the new models or models travelling from afar, eager to impress. They mill around for a bit drinking the bad coffee and eating the croissants that are provided by the organisers.
8am - the experienced models walk in, having been working late at a show the night before or just knowing that 7am is not a necessary call time. Praising Jesus they know about the Starbucks around the corner. I curse about there being no fruit.
9am - models have mingled. Organisers may or may not have introduced themselves to the room.
10am - people beginning to stir, lack of organisation is becoming more apparent. Some models ask if they can pop to Starbucks for a real coffee but are told they aren't allowed to leave the premises because they will be needed very shortly.
11am - makeup artists and hair stylists decide to take matters into their own hands and grab some models. They aren't sure what is needed for the show yet so just fix base and prep the hair.
12 noon - the organiser runs in acting frantic telling models they are needed for rehearsals. Makeup artists and hair stylists rush to finish their models while said organiser runs around the room screaming for the missing model who chose the wrong time to take a pee.
3pm - rehearsals finally finished after the routine has been changed, changed back, and changed again. Nobody knows what's happening anymore. The pizza that was ordered for lunch at 12:30 has gone cold and most of it has been eaten by bored makeup artists and the helpers who are unaware that models actually DO eat.
4pm - a couple of the models who missed out on the food completely due to dietary requirements ask if the food they requested is coming, all models are hungry as 1 slice of cold pizza doesn't fulfil anybody. People start complaining. The organisers start acting like victims to the "over dramatic and diva-esq" models. Hair and make up is finished. Occasionally the models are fitted for the show, although this is rare.
6pm - designers are nervous about the show which starts in an hour. Organisers are aware the show won't start for at least 90 minutes but keep that information to themselves to ensure everybody feels the pressure and nobody starts slacking (god forbid anybody enjoys this experience).
6:45pm - designers are running around trying to squeeze models into outfits too small while another model walks around with a size 10 hanging off her size 6 frame (you see why fittings are imperative?!) Last minute makeup touches and everybody is running around shouting because nobody knows what order we are walking in, we are all still hungry, nobody has had a drink since our morning coffee and for some reason sourcing water is "impossible" at this time (even though you asked 5 hours ago).
7:00 - the show doesn't start.
7:10 - people are sat down now waiting for the show
7:15 - it still hasn't started, a model is missing because they snuck out for a fag as they weren't allowed one all day and had reached breaking point, head of makeup has lost it because she's just had to fix 3 sets of lips and a pair of eyelashes that were stuck closer to eyebrows than lids. There is so much hairspray going round that everybody has started to cough and that water would really come in handy right now...
7:20 - pretty much ready to start but nobody knows who's behind who so we all align in colour order because that sort of makes sense to us.
7:22 - the order was SO wrong. The designer who was nowhere to be found when they were needed is now pushing and pulling people into place (because the order is to do with beads or something and not logical).
7:25 - somebody who was allowed to arrive at 6, had their hair and makeup done when they arrived and got their pick of the clothes is now on stage introducing the show. Nobody knows who they are or why they're being given privileges, the lack of food and water has started to turn some of the girls and they may mutter indecencies under their voice. These are heard by the ever so gossiping head of hair styling.
7:30 - the show finally kicks off, everybody looks freaking amazing and those painful 12 hours melt away as the crowd cheers and you strut your little heart out. Stomping down the runway making Beyoncé proud with all that sass you're bringing. Feel on top of the world. Words can't express the excitement, nerves, anxiety, happiness, fear of falling, fear of not changing quick enough rushing through every nerve ending in your body. You see nothing except flashing, blurry lights. God, if this feeling could last forever.
8:45 - show done! What a high everybody is on, hugs and kisses for everyone!
Everybody always leaves a show on a high, the gossip spreads about how the models did nothing but sit around and moan all day because, technically.. well that's what we do. But I'm adamant that it's not because we are divas! If the models were fed and watered and kept warm (another factor often forgotten) we wouldn’t complain or moan anywhere near as much. Nobody asks you to work 12 hours without proper food or hydration and then tells you off for asking to go pee. Right? So next time you hear a story about a “diva”, make sure she or he is deserving of the title!