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Personality, Professionalism, and her "goddamned beautiful face"

Updated: Apr 19, 2021

Early on in my career, I had the pleasure of modeling for a German ski clothing catalog. It was a pleasure because of the location (the Italian Alps, for ten beautiful days), the fun and energetic crew (with whom I’d worked many times), and the handsome pay, to name a few reasons. For a booking such as this, the models and the crew spend a whole lot of time together. This usually includes all meals, the long shoot day, and some downtime.

On one of these particular gigs with the Germans, I was booked with one other model, new to this client, and to me: *Beth, from San Diego. She was breathtakingly, shockingly beautiful. Beth didn’t show up for breakfast on the first morning. Everyone else was there: the photographer and his two assistants, the hair stylists, the makeup artists, the clothing stylists, the art director, the producer, and the executives from the catalog. Worried, the producer of the shoot, Christina, went to Beth’s hotel room to check on her. After several knocks on the door, no answer.

Concerned and slightly miffed, Christina returned to the table, letting us all know that Beth hadn’t answered her door. We continued our breakfast time, without Beth.

The call sheet listed 8am as the time to be ready for our hair & makeup. Beth was not only absent for breakfast, but was late for hair & makeup, as well. She was almost an hour late. Being even five minutes late for call time is a no-no. She was also looking very tired and disheveled. In short, she was unready and unhealthy. She didn’t speak to any one of us, except to barely mutter a ‘hello’ through a yawn. The shoot was rushed that day, especially in the afternoon, because all of the images were shot outdoors and needed daylight. Due to Beth’s tardiness, the entire day’s shoot was negatively affected. (article continues below photo)

At dinner time that night, Beth was absent. We all started our meals without her, assuming she wouldn’t be joining us. It wasn’t until the dessert arrived that Beth decided to show up at the table. However, she didn’t sit down with us. Instead, she stood at the head of the table and asked us all collectively, “Ok, who here has some pot? I could really use some. Someone here must have some…?”

Astounded, no one said a word. So, Beth simply rolled her eyes and headed back to her hotel room.

There was an uncomfortable silence as Christina rose from the table to follow Beth and have a talk with her. Minutes later, Christina returned, saying, “Doesn’t she GET it? This job isn’t just about her goddamned beautiful face - It’s about having a personality and being professional! ”

When I first meet with new models for coaching, many of them are a bit timid and nervous. This is understandable. I was, too. When I get into a conversation with them, though, their personalities start to shine through. That’s when it’s possible to begin easing into learning the logistics and the mechanics, if you will, of modeling.

Over my many years as a model, it has become evident to me that some models believe that their good looks alone can sustain their careers. (I’ve learned that good looks alone can sustain nothing of major significance in life, but I digress…) I’ll admit that when I first started out in the biz, I didn’t realize that as a model, personality and professionalism matter as much as your “goddamned beautiful face”. No one had ever told me that, but it’s true. Thanks to my experience working with a model like Beth (whose strikingly beautiful face certainly opened doors), I learned just how important personality and professionalism are in this business. These things make for a better model, and attract the clients who will book you over and over again.

(*not her real name)

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