Friday, May 29, 2009

Istanbul and Modeling 101

Sea of Marmara
December 2007, Istanbul, Turkey. In front of Bosphorus Strait with Farah

December 2007, Istanbul, Turkey. With crazy Turkish man selling Cashews at Grand Bazaar.

I think I failed to mention this before, but I am now in Istanbul, Turkey. I arrived last night, and am geared to stay for two months. I am here for work-- although, I should specify that I don't have any actual work lined up at the moment.

I shall pause a moment and explain how this modeling thing works-- or, at least try to. I suppose like most other jobs out there, it's really hard to understand what one does unless one actually does it. I mean, how many of us can accurately describe what our own parents do for a living?

So, where to begin? I think the best way to explain it is to compare it to something else. Let us say that you are an actor. As an actor, there are many places you can work-- i.e., you can stay in the small town you're from and try to do local theater productions, you can move to the nearest city and audition for commercials or theater there, or you can move to New York or LA and try out for films, Broadway, commercials, theater etc. When you move to Los Angeles, you move there without a job, but with the hope and expectation that you will find work when you get there. It works much the same way for models. I moved to NYC at the age of 23. I did have a job per se (pay close attention as this is where it gets confusing), my job is modeling, but I did not have any jobs lined up. The idea is akin to an out-of-work actor. He is still an actor, and being an actor is his job, but he currently does not have any work.

100% of the time I am a model (as in that's my job, or what I do for a living). That said, I only have jobs (as in specific bookings that pay me money) about 25% of the time. Does that make sense? An actor between movies is still an actor, but in the meanwhile, he's out of work (and, not getting paid). Perhaps I belabor the point. Let me continue.

Models are lucky in that the world is our oyster. There are many cities in the world where models are in demand and are able to work. For instance, I grew up (sort of) in Delaware. Living in northern Delaware meant that I was close to Philadelphia, which meant that I was able to work out of that city. Living on the northeast also meant that I had easy access to New York, so I was able to find work in that city. After working in New York for a while, I set my sights on Europe, and in the summer of 2003, traveled to Athens, Greece to model. Like the actor who moves to LA saying, "I'm going to go and see if I can find work there," models move to different cities with the same hopes. When I went to Athens, I didn't have any work lined up, only the hope that once I got there that perhaps I would find work. And, to clarify further, when we find work, it means we work for a day or two, and then we are out of work again. An example would be like if I booked a job to be in a Pantene Shampoo ad. It takes two days to shoot the ad-- I am employed for two days. Once the ad is shot, I am again out of work. The same is true of magazines. I work one day for Cosmopolitan shooting pictures for a story that they write. At the end of the day I go home and I get paid for one day of work. I am at point unemployed again. Because our individual jobs are so short-lived, we are able to travel from location to location in search of work. Many girls also pick one place and settle down; it depends on their own penchant.

So, I am in Istanbul. I came here because 1) it seemed like an interesting city that I should like to explore, and 2) I hope that I will be able to find jobs here. I've committed to staying for two months, but I do not know if I will work or not. Only time will tell.

So, that is my essay on modeling. Sorry to write such a long rambling post.

I arrived last night and am staying in an apartment owned by my agency here. There are several other models here, which is quite nice as I have instant friends. The internet also works here (in some countries it doesn't) which means I've been busy video-skyping my sis.

The girls are all lovely-- everyone has been so nice to me. Here are the girls in the apartment (with apparently six more arriving on Monday).

Picnik collage
From Top Left to Right:
Alexandra from Austria, Taylor from Canada
Jeanne from South Africa, Me from USA
Anastasyia from Ukraine, Olga from Ukraine

I am already formulating my thoughts about this city-- I'll keep you updated as things progress. Tomorrow I think I will explore the city center. But, for now, I sleep.


P.S. A BIG thank you to everyone who voted on my new hair style. The votes were overwhelmingly in favor of bangs, so I took your advice and chopped them. I'm quite pleased with my haircut and will hopefully post pictures soon!


-nino said...

Istanbul sounds, well, not like NYC or LA. It just shows how much I know about the profession. I thought you all lived in New York or LA (or London for that matter) and jet-set around the world working for 1 day, 2 days at a time. Tara I & are both jealous of your world traveling anyhoo!



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