10/05/12 - 0 Comments
A Day in the Life of a Wilhelmina Model: It’s Not All Glitz & Glamour, People!
As average civilians, we’ll admit we’ve often thought of how life might be different had we been born with the genes of the glamazon goddesses that pepper our peripheral vision while walking past storefronts and bus stops. We can imagine a life chock full of recognition, red carpet appearances, couture clothing and general needs (okay, whims) catered to everywhere we go. Needless to say, we would have no qualms about enjoying the comfort and ease of life as famous supermodels.
Strolling the streets of New York, it’s a common occurrence to get stuck schlepping behind a long-legged, rail-thin beauty who you can clearly identify as a model. However, it is less common to find yourself bumping into one you actually recognize. Though you may only discern about 10 to 12 supermodels (hi, Karlie, we see you!) the truth is, there are hundreds — alright, even thousands — of “Regular Joe” models running to and from castings and photo shoots on a daily basis here in New York City. They’re far less star-studded, don’t take jets everywhere and certainly don’t tow an entourage of bodyguards and other famous folks around all the time, either. These girls blend right in (aside from the fact that they are generally taller and far more genetically blessed than the rest of us) with the crowds of people en route to their nine-to-fives.
Working models. The term refers to girls who consistently get booked and are able to fully support themselves with steady work—these are the models we’re most interested in getting to know (so, like, you really get paid to look like you?). Today we introduce you to Wilhelmina model Whitney Tock who graciously granted Dual Show an interview in which she shares with all of us just what being a model is really like.
Tell us what an average working day is like for you.
It’s hard, because it’s different depending on what kind of work I’m doing that day. If we’re on location, mornings start at 6am. Those days are spent on an RV and they are normally really long. Usually I’ll wake up at 5am and be in a cab to the RV by 5:30. We normally start hair and makeup about 15 minutes in, but, before then, usually the whole crew is eating breakfast together. By 7:30am we’re ready to go. A lot of times directors are trying to catch the sunrise, so we start shooting right away. We have to work with the weather when we’re on location—we have to choose our windows wisely for when we decide to shoot based on the forecast and the light. So, we usually shoot until 12pm or so and then have a 30-minute lunch. After that we get touched up and start shooting again by 1:15. How the day goes really depends on how many shots, or looks, we have to get through, so we might be done around 5:30, or it could be later. It just depends on when we lose the light. That’s basically a location shoot.
In the studio, the days start at 8am or 9am. You might have a full day of shots, which could be 25-50, or, if you get lucky, you have just a few shots, which can be 1-6—those are commercial shoots. If you work for a client frequently enough, you know what you’re in for, but it just depends on the job.
Afterwards you must all go out together, right?
Not really. It’s a working day for all of us, and afterwards I’m usually really exhausted and just head home. It’s rare for me to go out at the end of a day.
So when you’re not shooting, you just have free days to do whatever you want?
No, not at all! If I don’t have a job that day, I usually have castings that I have to go to, which are like job interviews all day long to meet clients so that they can decide if you’re right for their job. Usually, my first one is at 10am on a day like that. I try to take the subway wherever I’m going because that’s the most economical route. Castings last at most five minutes, and sometimes they are no more than a minute! But, of course, when you go, you’re usually waiting around for a while before they can see you.
Tell us about that. Do you talk? Do they compliment you?
Not really. They’ll usually look at my book and take a comp card, maybe they’ll take a few digital picture of me. Sometimes they’ll ask me a few questions about my hair texture or jeans size. They’re just trying to see if you’re what they need for their job.
Ok, what happens next?
Then I’ll run on to the next casting. Sometimes I might have five in one day. Usually I find out about more as the day goes on because I’ll get e-mails to my phone, so a lot of times I end up running from one end of the city to another and then back again because it’s all based on when the client can see me. Not super exciting, it’s just part of working in this industry.
Is there a difference between seasons for your work schedule?
There is. We shoot roughly three months in advance, so right now I’m shooting a lot for Christmas. I’m really busy at this time of year and also in May because then we’re shooting back to school. February is when we shoot a lot for the summer so that’s a busy month as well. I would say that November, December and January are pretty slow, so I spend more time with my family then. There are still castings happening but not as much work on any given day.
What do you feel you’ve learned through your modeling experience?
I’ve learned quite a bit about the advertising side—I understand the way layouts work. If I’m going onto an advertisement, I have to be conscious of the print that is going onto the square of my picture—like a sale sign or a title sign. Sometimes the director will tell you about that and sometimes they don’t, but you have to be conscious of those kinds of things when you’re shooting. I also think my style has improved! I think I’ve become more aware of styles and trends that are out there and I can have fun with it. I like to see how the stylist [chooses to put together the outfits]—it gives me new ideas!
Tell us the truth, as a model, would you say that you feel glamorous on a daily basis?
Parts of the job, like getting my hair and makeup done, definitely make me feel good about my appearance, but I don’t feel like I’m being pampered or anything. It’s my role to stand there and look good wearing or using the product that is being sold just like it is the photographer’s job to take the picture that makes the product look good. It’s not about me, it’s about the product. Everyone involved needs to do their job to make sure that the product is photographed in the way that the client or art director wants it to be. The lipgloss that the makeup artist puts on me can’t clash with the red jeans, the hairstyle can’t cover the graphics on a tee-shirt. Everything, including me, has to enhance the product. So it probably looks glamorous, but it’s not really about that at all. It’s a job and, just like anything else, it can of course be fun, but it really is work first and foremost.
What do you want people outside of the industry to know about you as a model?
I guess I’d like them to know that what I do is about more than looking pretty. It takes skill to do this. It takes time to learn what you’re doing. I don’t just show up and hope for the best Yow really have to work at this to be good at it, same as anything else.