By Natalia Zurowski
Models get asked a fair amount of questions about the industry and the nature of their work. Most of the time, we don't mind answering these questions and are happy to debunk industry myths and stereotypes. We do, however, get some pretty thoughtless questions and unsolicited advice. As such, we have compiled a list of questions and comments models hear a little too frequently.
1. How much do you get paid?
This question is never acceptable to ask anyone regardless of their profession. Finding out how much an individual makes should not in any way affect your perception of them or render his or her job any more or less valid.
2. When are you going to get a real job?
This has to be the most classic question. Quality sarcastic responses include: "Never," "When you do," or "I plan to retire."
People often scrutinize how untraditional modelling work is, seeing it as more of a hobby than actual work. Truth be told, very few people have job security, no matter how conventional the job may seem. People, who have seemingly stable jobs, more often than not, work for large companies where they can be laid off without a moment’s notice.
3. What is your plan?
We all have those friends and family members who enjoy playing high school guidance counsellor. We know you're just trying to help, but most models are self-aware. They will figure everything out, just like every other young person. Models don’t mind being asked on occasion but repeated multiple offences will not be warmly received or tolerated. It's like asking, "When will you be promoted? Why haven’t you been promoted yet?"
4. You should have a plan B!
We do! Most models, are always thinking of what they'll do next. Many even have side projects on the go or are saving their earnings to put towards an education or future business.
5. You should get a job as a ______.
We love when people try to plan our futures. Who doesn't?
Although models are in fashion it doesn’t necessarily mean they want a future in it or a career remotely related to a creative field. Maybe they want to be a doctor, computer scientist, interpreter, or teacher. Many models even choose to pursue a higher education later on and modelling work is able to help them fund their schooling.
More importantly, do not suggest jobs to a model when they still have one. If they are earning a living modelling and are happy, why should they quit something that supports them?
6. I'm just trying to help!
We know most people mean well and we appreciate the concern; however, there's a fine line between offering help or showing genuine interest and being condescending. We can discern the difference and the latter is inappropriate and unnecessary.
7. You're working? You work?
Yes, I am and I do.
Although a model’s job may not be your typical 9 to 5, it still involves the transaction of labour therefore rendering it a job.
If you tell a friend that you were busy working that day it sometimes comes as a shock to them. "You work?" Whether this is in a serious or sarcastic tone, we know how to take a joke; however there’s a difference between teasing and being mean. Jobs may not always be every day but good models still work day in and day out on their fitness, going to castings, social media, other jobs and interests, at the same time.
8. Where are you going next?
We don't know. Models usually never know where they will be one week to the next. Plans are always changing. Once they do know though, they will tell you. If they haven't told you, it's because they still don't know. Similarly, if they were supposed to go somewhere and they are no longer going it's because it didn't work out, usually for reasons beyond their control – further repeated questioning is not necessary.
9. Passive aggressive support
For example, “How is your little app/blog/company/photography etc.?” If you’re going to be supportive then that’s great. If you’re going to resort to belittlement, it’s better to make no comment at all.
For some reason, when a model decides to have other interests it’s seen as being cute or adorable – this is not okay. Side projects and hobbies possess the potential to grow into so much more and can help a model solidify their place in the industry and beyond. There’s no need to undermine someone’s intelligence because their occupation and perspective differ from yours. If you’re going to be supportive then be genuine, but if you are going to bring the person down, it’s better to back off.
Models know they aren't saving lives or changing the world. They also know their jobs are not forever. We understand many of our friends and loved ones only want what is best for us. We don't want people to have to worry about setting us off over a simple question. It’s a great feeling to know that people in your life genuinely care about your progress and future; however, talking down to someone or continuous prodding is bound to lead to a potential argument or a rift.
Regardless of one's profession, it is not your choice whether or not the life a person leads is successful or valid. If a person is able to sustain himself or herself and they’re happy, let them be – they’ll be just fine.