By Julia Stone
At one point or another, most models find themselves faced with a decision on whether or not to over go a physical change their agency or a client has suggested. Sometimes the decision is easy - heck yes I’ll die my eyebrows for Givenchy - and sometimes it’s not so clear.
I found myself in this position a few years ago when an agency asked me to cut my long blonde hair into a bob. They promised me I’d start booking tons of editorial work and it would really boost my image. After only having been in the business for a few months I thought, “Well, what if I don’t want to change my image? What if I want to project myself as a princess with long blonde hair?”
The reason we have agents is for security, connections, and their knowledge of the fashion industry. I’m sorry, ‘old self,’ but you have no idea what’s going to sell. If you want to work successfully, you need to be open to change. Although it can be nerve-wracking taking the plunge, the regret of later wondering "What if?" will probably be bigger than the regret of a new cut or colour.
It still baffles me how I didn’t see the connection between what I was doing and the countless makeover episodes of America’s Next Top Model - where the models don’t realize that if they refuse the makeover, they’ll be kicked off the show. I’m basically Victoria from Season 19.
However, when it comes to non-reversible changes, I can’t be so certain. Models are asked, more often than we’re aware of, to consider making serious physical changes. Whether mole removal, lip injections, or breast implants, these procedures are irreversible for the most part. Usually, the question is posed in such a way that it seems more like a commandment. In this case, I firmly believe models should pause and ask themselves if it’s a change they’re happy to make - modelling aside. Your career as a model isn’t going to last forever but those knockers will.
For big decisions, such as those involving surgical procedures, your gut feeling will probably kick-in quickly. But for less invasive possibilities, there is a lot of grey area between your comfort zone and an expert’s opinion. What I wish I had done at the time was stood back and asked myself, "Can you let go of having long hair for the opportunity to do some amazing work? Or do you want to play it safe and 5 years later wonder what if?"
You also need to consider who is advising the change. Is it your mother agent, your agent in the city you never book work in, or Emmanuelle Alt? Remember, not all opinions are created equal in the modelling industry.
The best advice I can give models is to put a little bit of faith in the professionals and to remember that hair eventually grows back. What may seem as an initially daunting change can be worth it in order to finding a look you truly love. Today, I'm the very proud owner of a blonde bob and still feel every bit the princess.
Julia Stone is The Business Model's Beauty Editor. After years of modelling in Canada, South Africa, and China, Julia Stone has parlayed her industry experience into a career as a make-up artist. She is represented as model and make-up artist by Plutino Group. Follow her on Instagram @juliamks.