Welcome to the newest installment of What I Do Wednesday! My goal is to showcase careers of all different kinds – traditional and outside-the-box.
I’m thrilled to introduce you to my friend Claire. She’s a world traveler, Fashion Week model and sweet-to-boot. I’m always picking her brain about her job and the modeling industry. I’ve learned a ton about the profession and the dedication, uncertainty and rewards it provides. She was so kind to share today with you all, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what it actually takes to make it as a model.
Let me tell you, it’s not as easy as it looks.
So lots of people have preconceived notions about what a model actually does. Give us the run-down. What’s a day-in-the-life of a model?
For me every day-to-day is different, I have no standard day. Every night at 6pm I get my schedule from my agency for the next day (talk about last minute!). That schedule consists of the next days duties, which range from working, going on castings, having a test shoot for my portfolio, having a meeting at my agency, and more. If I have a job that day, that job could consist of walking in a runway show, shooting for a brand’s website or advertisement, modeling’s in a designer’s showroom for a buying meeting, shooting for a magazine editorial, and much more. Any days I have off I keep myself busy – I aim to workout 3-4 times a week, and I am also working on building my social media platform, which is vital for a model these days!
What’s the best thing about your job?
There are so many things that I love about my job, it’s hard to pick just one! Something that I definitely love is the type of people I get to meet and work with on a regular basis. The modeling and fashion industries are full of creative types – photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists, creative directors, and more. It’s so inspiring to be around their creativity, collaborate with them, and to be a part of their artistic vision. Another thing I love about my job is the diversity of my day-to-day and the fact that I am never doing the same thing. This keeps it interesting and never repetitive! On any given week, I could be at any studio, showroom, or brand headquarters across NYC!
And the worst?
Like any type of freelance work, this job holds no guarantees or steady schedule. Each week I do not know what lies ahead until the last minute. I am never guaranteed work or income, so in order to do this job, you have to be comfortable with risk and have the ability to go with the flow. Although this can be challenging, I think this aspect of the job has taught me to not to try to control every aspect of my life and to be comfortable with whatever life throws at me. It has also made me extremely thankful for each job that I do get. It’s like every night at 6pm I have a little present in my inbox telling me what I get to do the next day! This way I am always excited to go into work and do my best, rather than dreading another work day. It’s all about how you look at it!
Tell us a fun career story – what’s been the highlight thus far?
Walking in New York Fashion Week has to be a highlight! I remember before my first show in NYFW, I was not nervous, because I have been doing runway shows since I was 17. But as soon as I stepped onto the runway, it was a total shock and different from anything I had ever done! I had never had a job with that much amount of press in the audience. At the end of the runway sat at least 30 camera men snapping away my picture for different fashion publications. Luckily I didn’t fall! With the amount of people and effort it takes to produce these shows, the energy backstage is truly incredible.
You know I love talking about dreams and ambitions and career trajectories. Where do you see this career taking you? What are your big dreams?
I am very grateful that I get to do what I do, and I honestly want to keep modeling for as long as I can! So far I have only walked in fashion week in New York City, and I would love to have the chance to walk in the fashion weeks of the other major fashion capitols (Paris, Milan, and London). I also want to continue to grow in my career and gain higher level clients and bookings, this way I can work with the greats of the industry. I have a degree in fashion merchandising, so I would love to someday incorporate my education with my modeling career and create a design collaboration with a fashion brand. I would also love to someday use my platform to create a charity for a cause I feel strongly about.
We were talking earlier about preconceived notions. I bet that can be really frustrating when meeting new people. What’s the one thing you wish people knew about being a model?
I hope people know that modeling is a real job, a real business with high earning potential, and it is a lot of work! Working in this industry takes a tremendous amount of strength. It teaches you that you must be resilient every time you do not book a job, that you cannot take it personally, and to keep moving forward. I also hope people know that modeling means so much more than being pretty or having people take pictures of you. Having a chance to be a model means having the opportunity to work with a variety of fashion designers and brands, to learn the ins and outs of the fashion industry, and be a part of a creative team and help a vision come to life. It is something that I do not take for granted. I also want people to know that there is no true stereotype of a model. People often ask me if the other models are nice. I truly do not know where this stereotype comes from. The only one commonality of all models is that our genetic makeup fits a certain standard, so you cannot stereotype a model’s personality or intelligence. Models come from all over the world and from all different backgrounds. Some of the models I know are the smartest, kindest, and most inspiring people I have ever met!
What advice would you give someone looking to enter into your own field? What do you wish you would’ve known before you got involved in the modeling industry?
Check and see if your nearest city has a modeling agency. Look on their website for their criteria and set up an appointment to go in and see them. Working first in your local market is great experience. I modeled in Dallas for 5 years before I moved to NYC, which prepared me for where I am now. I would also say don’t entirely give up your other passions and pursuits for modeling. If you are planning on going to college or pursuing another interest, these things can be done in addition to modeling. The more you have to bring to the table, the better you will do in this industry. I am so glad that I had my college experience before I moved to NYC for modeling, as I feel much better equipped to handle this city and industry now than I would have at age 18. I know everyone’s path is different, but that is what worked for me. Follow all of your passions, and if modeling is one of them, it could surely lead you to some great adventures!
What I Do Wednesday: Claire VanBeber, Model
December 14, 2016