My first international job I scored was at the age of 18, when my life in Sydney was a chaotic mess. I had zero stability, constantly moving around Sydney and sticking strong to the notion that I did NOT want a regular 9-5 job. Ever. So was doing a lot of different jobs in modelling and events to earn a living. In the previous years I’d slowly inched my way into the world of modelling, so I made that the driving point to finding my first international job.
The idea to start modelling began when I was on set as an extra shooting for Home and Away (a very common job for young people where I grew up, as the show is shot locally) when I over heard another extra talking about a hair modelling job she had just done, and how amazing and easy the job was.
Me, at this time, had long thick healthy hair, and with the industrious attitude I seem to have acquired early I set out to use it to my advantage.
I went home and literally googled ‘hair modelling jobs’ where I found an online casting site, and started emailing some potential hair salons and hair dressers to debut my modelling career as a hair model. And would you have, I nailed my first casting and booked my first job hair modelling for the worlds best hostility from Russia, Georgy Kot. Photos from this event were featured in Vogue, and other media outlets, so gave me a little budge into the competitive world that is modelling.
I think a lot of people have unrealistic ideas of what being a model is like, and even more so what being a model on contract in another country is like. But let me just say; it is far from what you’d expect. It is a lot less glamorous then what people think, you’re basically just a number on a page with a pretty face. And trust me, there are a lot of pretty faces. Don’t get me wrong, the 5 months I spent in Bangkok were filled with amazing experiences, incredible new friends, and learning a lot about myself and what it is to live in a 3rd world country. Contrary to the belief, us models don’t have a lot of money, but luckily for us we were in Thailand, where a lot of things can be bought for just a couple of dollars.
Thai food has always been and will always be one of my favourites cuisines. I basically lived of Pad Se Ew in highschool, so moving to Thailand was a dream come true for belly. There was such an abundance of fresh fruit and amazingly cheap food that it was easy to eat healthy. My favourite place to go was Terminal 21, only 50 metres from my apartment it was a huge shopping centre with the entire top floor allocated to being a food court. Here, using a card system where you put a certain amount of Money (Thai Baht) on a card, you could go around to the different counters and scan the card to purchase what ever you wanted. Here a plate of of Pad Thai was equivalent to $1 Australian. Other favourites of mine were coconut ice cream, mango sticky rice and an array of any flavoured smoothie you could imagine.
One thing about Bangkok that I did NOT enjoy, and perhaps my least favourite thing about the whole experience, was the traffic. Each day we would be spent gallavanting around Bangkok to one casting after another, and on average would spend 2-5 hours a day sitting in the back of a sweltering hot taxi.
I was very lucky when I arrived in Bangkok, as I booked a job within the first week of my arrival, however a lot of girls hated the experience and I really don’t blame them. Basically every day the girls in the agency are sent to castings found by the Booker. But if you don’t book any jobs, you just continue going to castings, day after day after day. A few girls in my agency went months without a single job, one not booking a job the entire 3 months she was there. Imagine 3 months spent getting in and out of taxis all day every day with no reward. Yep… Not fun.
My most memorable job in Bangkok would have to be shooting a commercial for Pantene shampoo. Seemed my early days as a hair model was serving me well a I landed an elusive job within the first month of my contract.
We spent 3 days shooting the commercial, of which I think I was in front of the camera for a total of 45 minutes. It’s crazy the production and detail and tests and everything that goes into such a small clip, but it definitely opened my eyes. This add was aired all around Asia, China, India and Thailand. So it needed to be perfect. I also did a few jobs for Indian clients which were the hardest shooting layers on layers of their beautiful clothes in sweltering 40 degree heat.
However the parties in Thailand are probably what I will remember the longest about my time, sharing outrageous days and nights with those who I came to call my model family. There was Yana, a beautiful Russian girl who was and still is one of the most angelic and mesmerising people I have ever met. There was Dylan, a Canadian model who was as blokey as they come, he lived in the room across from me, and was a constant stream of laughs and entertainment during my last few months. And then there was Liya, another beautiful russian, was was my room mate and new to the modelling scene. She spoke barely a word of English when she arrived but slowly started to learn from me, to the point where often it was only my voice in English she could understand, so I often turned into translater.
But the trip wasn’t all work! Lucky for me I paid off my balance to the agency relatively quickly, and so got s bit of freedom when it came to playing tourist in Thailand. I had been to Thailand before, but had never explored inland Thailand and around bangkok. One day me and the girls from Elite went on a trip the Erewan waterfalls. And let me just say it as absolutely stunning. The 7 tiered waterfalls stretches between a two kilometre hike, with each water falls becoming higher and higher. But it was well worth the trek, and it was here that I first experienced those fish that nibble at your feet, because they exist here in the wild, and as they aren’t confined to tanks they grow much bigger. They weren’t dangerous but it was definitely an interesting sensation being nibbled by hundreds of fish as we swam!
I don’t know how it is these days, but the time I was there was filled with dinner a, pool parties and nightclubs. Every night of the week there something to do for ‘models’ coincidentally named ‘model nights’. This meant that models could enter, eat and drink for free, which ofcoarse was dangerously fun.
One day near the end of my contract w relearned that a public holiday was coming up and we could have no castings it jobs for 3 days. Yana and I used this to our full advantage and quickly booked a plane to Phuket where we would continue on to my favourite island Koh Phi Phi. I have nothing but amazing memories from these few days which were filled with stunning view point hikes, canoeing in crystal blue waters, and dancing our little hearts away on the bearm beaches of Koh phi ohi.
Nothing was ever handed to me. I wasn’t one of those girls who was ‘discovered’ on the streets, or who had an agency to help me build me up in the early years. I worked hard to get where I was. Whether it was emailing photographer after photographer to shoot TFP (time for prints) in order to grow my book. I was continuously turned down due to my lack of experience, but slowly and steadily built my book logging hundreds of hours of unpaid travelling, hair and makeup, photo shoots and correspondence, until final I could begin looking for paid work.