One of my best friends has written a fantastic post about what it’s like to be a model in Paris. Thank you so much, Kira!
Ever since I was a little girl I dreamt of Paris. I know I was one of the millions of little girls (or boys) who had the same dream, but this is my post so they become irrelevant for the time being. My mother always used to play around about when I was sixteen she would take me to Paris for my birthday. For my brother it was Ireland because we are Irish of course. Little did we know that the future had in store a Parisian adventure at exactly the age we joked about.
I just turned sixteen, after signing with an agency in NY. I went to NY for about two weeks to complete that process. Instead of living there for my first trip, it was decided by the agency I signed with to start me in France. The agency I signed with was Silent Models. They originated in France, so their NY office wasn’t their strong suit yet. They had just opened the branch in NY where I met them (which later broke off because of legal issues between owners… AWK). Keep in mind Paris is one of the hardest cities to break into in modeling (double AWK).
I left school behind naturally, and settled into my new Parisian apartment which would be my home for the half a year. My mom and I lived out our fantasy (or mine) for the first 10 days. She had to get back to work in the U.S. obviously. She left her baby in Paris. Little did I know the things I would face in this magnifique city. Things that took me away from realizing I was actually living in my favorite place. Luckily I’ve gone back to enjoy this place with a clear mind.
“Touristy thin with my mom, Arc de Triumph”
Silent Paris was tres chic. Creme de la creme girls, as I think most top agencies in Paris are. Carmen Kass as their poster woman. Later, when I was 19, I would sign with Women Management in NY who also holds Karmen up in their office. Anyways, they brought me there for Paris fashion week, but decided I wasn’t ready and kept me there to build my book. They took me shopping to change my style. I spent my own money of course. I was to be rocker chic. My simple school girl look wasn’t their thing. My hair was bleached (along with my eyebrows) and a cut was in order. When I first arrived they pointed to the muscle on my legs, as I used to run cross country, and told me to lose it. Paris is where the girls are most fragile.
Most girls got into drinking, drugs, not eating, and men. It was my first time living away from home. I couldn’t stomach all the pressure. Instead of turning to a naughty alternative I chose to overeat. French food became my closet friend. I lived at the boulangerie and pastry shops. Once, the local baker asked me if I could babysit her kids. We were pretty close. Besides the scenery of the City of Lights, food was the only thing that gave me instant relief. My favorite thing to eat was Pain au Chocolat (chocolate croissant) . Of course I broke out and gained as much weight as a tall sixteen year old could, which wasn’t that much actually. It’s just thin girls are in demand where I was.
Feeling accomplished after eating pasta, then I moved onto a banana split.
Work was scarce and any big jobs (campaigns, exclusive Louis Vuitton show, and Vogue/other magazine editorials) were optioned and then later not confirmed. I realized after it was more common for well established models to book these jobs that I didn’t get. Once I booked a location job going to Egypt, but due to the chaos didn’t go. I met some of the sweetest girls while I was there. They watched me go through pain eating everything I could get my hands on. I watched them starve. “The hunger pains go away after awhile”. I’m happy to have seen one of them looking healthy and working for Victoria’s Secret today. I met up with her and some others in NY this last summer. She told me about her new boob job (giggles, CASHING).
I couldn’t tell you much about the French men. All I can recall about a males prescience was having to change/shoot in front of male models, photographers, assistants. I hated the way they looked at me. I saw girls get used by photographers (local promoters) while I ate pizza. I was safe when my belly was to its fullest. I got dragged to one house party where everyone was drunk. One photographer took my roommate into a room and another tried to do the same with me. “Can I kiss you?”. NO. “Alright well, I’ll just take my pants off if that’s okay and lay down. You can join me?” NO. I walked in on my roommate and demanded we left. I was a virgin and I was going to stay that way.
“Can’t touch this”
I would walk in the streets for hours, no matter the weather. On my first trip I saw it from winter all the way to summer. It’s a magical place (go). Paris is where I learned how to be alone. A lot of people don’t prepare you for your first modeling trip. Most girls are so young, and how could they know. Your parents aren’t there. Your agency treats you like a child, but expects you to act above one. You’re just thrown into this new world. You have to learn on your own.
Kira is one of my best friends and I have never met anyone like her. No matter how far apart in the world we are, she will always be my sister.