By Natalia Zurowski
This is a love letter to all the modelling veterans. To those who have put in their time and know the industry like the back of their hand. To those who have lived and breathed what it means to be an international, working model. As models get older, some decide the industry is no longer for them - others have the industry decide for them. For those who have been able to maintain longevity, you begin to develop a new set of attitudes and principles in how you deal with the business.
The longer you do a job, the better you understand what it entails, how to handle certain situations, and what you will and will not do. It's precisely because we have done this job for so long, why we often have to explain ourselves, our choices, and our perspectives to less experienced models, clients, and industry members. We love what we do, we just need to put our foot down sometimes.
Experienced models know what type of shoots they fare best in, and are strategic with whom they align themselves.
At a certain point in their careers, models know what jobs they will and will not do and with who they feel comfortable with. There is a large amount of trust and comfort that goes into a shoot with nudity - the option to say no, is never negated by having shot nudity in the past. We know our capabilities and what jobs we work well in and which we don't. We know our angles. We know how to pose. We know which light we look best in. We know what we're doing.
A model's rate reflects the amount of experience they have as well as their reputation and brand. We work hard and have for a long time to build up our portfolios, garner experience, and create a name for ourselves. Our rates showcase our work. This is our livelihood. We pay our rent. We invest. We eat.
Socially, we are always up to make new friends. Half the fun of being in this business is meeting such a diverse range of individuals from different parts of the globe. As the years go by though, we become more selective with who we allow into our lives and often, already have a group of close friends that we call family - some of us have even created our own families already. And when we sit by ourselves it's because we value our solitude and time to think. Solitude isn't sadness.
Meeting young models as well can be awesome. Sometimes they provide you with a fun and fresh perspective on life. But clubbing and 'model dinners' have become less of a priority. We have online classes, hobbies, and side projects that we are working on to better ourselves and move forward. We know the business all too well and often assume some kind of caregiving role in the model apartment. We know first-hand rejection comes with the territory. We don't let our work get to our heads as much anymore, we've learned to let it go.
If we have chosen to speak up about industry practices, it is not because we dislike our work - far from it. We have chosen to become critical about the industry because in being critical, it allows us to step back and look at the grand scheme of things. In being critical, we can improve our business. We want to make it better. We want positive, constructive growth.
A lot of us still travel a fair bit and do not necessarily have a home base. This is not because we are choosing to float through life or are in fear of committing to a specific place or that we are bohemians. Although it is arguable there is a grain of truth to the latter, we may still want to explore and see the world as much as we can, even if we have been to a market before. Our time in the industry is not necessarily up to us, as such, we want to enjoy it as long as we possibly can.
We've grown up a bit. We like to think we have become a bit wiser, a bit more mature. We've reached a point in our careers where we know what we want and we also better know ourselves. And we most certainly are not old - and we will forever say we are 21 in Tokyo.