Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?
Hey! I'm Lauren-Jade, I'm 22 and have been freelance modelling for almost three years now. My speciality is fashion, and more recently colourful editorial.
What does your creative career involve? Give us the typical outline of a day?
Being freelance means a lot of admin, but I won't bore with that side. On a typical shoot day, I tend to prepare the day before with shaving, nails etc. The morning of, I check through the shoot brief and pack what I need, usually with a few extras. Honestly, I'm quite disorganised as I spend so much time putting pieces together and deciding the creative aspects, I forget to do the practical bits – ironing, making sure everything is clean.
What does being a model mean to you?
Being a model to me isn't just 'looking good'; it's why I tend to be a one-person team, I want to do my own makeup, hair and styling, as it's some of the most creative aspects of the job. Fashion modelling to me is being able to sell a look, and the most important aspect is confidence. You can pose to the high heavens, but it's difficult to sell it if you are not comfortable in what you're wearing.
What’s great about your job?
The connections I make. I've met so many wonderful people through modelling. A lot of people think models are catty and will scratch each other's eyes out, which just isn't the case in my experience. I've made friends who I swap clothes with, who I share ideas with – and I will continue to be that person.
What are the bits you don’t like or find challenging?
Because most of my work is paid, there's occasional shoots where I have no creative input, the client decides everything and those are the hardest shoots. Long days are difficult too, I am a disabled model, and posing is a lot harder than it looks! I leave eight hour shoot days and will sleep for 16 hours straight.
Do you think there’s any misconceptions with your job?
There are so many misconceptions, of course I can only speak to freelance, but people think we get free clothes all the time (I'd have a lot more money if we did) and we constantly work with huge teams of people, which as I said earlier I prefer it being myself and a photographer.
I think the misconception that bothers me most is that all models are unhealthily thin. I do naturally have the measurements of a typical runway model, but that doesn't increase the amount of bookings I get in the slightest.
What are the highlights of your career to date?
The highlight of my career was modelling underwater. I was able to do it with another incredible model and a photographer I consider a close friend. Not only was it an incredible experience, but being underwater was a huge fear of mine that I wouldn't have overcome otherwise.
What was your career path into this job? Have you also worked outside the arts?
I hadn't actually had much experience besides hobbies creatively. I did some acting as a child and modelled for friends at school/college, but I started my career whilst studying criminology and sociology at university. I wasn't aware freelance modelling was a thing until a friend introduced me to it, and I guess I got a bit hooked!
Can you describe your biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?
The pandemic. A lot of models have adapted and are doing remote shooting etc, but I don't have the space or equipment to do the same, and the same applies to self-shooting. I feel like my brain is bursting with creative ideas with no way of actualising them – I can't actually say I've overcome that, but my plan is once everything is safe, I won't be right back into trying to get paid work again, I want to take some time to be creative, have fun and re-find my feet with no pressure.
Have you noticed any changes in the industry? If so, what?
Inclusivity. The industry has changed so much and come so far with accepting different types of models; alternative modelling is a huge genre of itself at the moment. As well as trans and plus-size models being on the covers of magazines.
You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to 16-year-old you. What do you say?
TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN. For the love of all photographers retouching the scars you made on your face, use cleanser and toner and leave the damn blackheads alone! Also, enjoy wearing black and greys whilst it lasts. One day you're going to feel a lot happier, and those black and greys will feel sad and heavy.
Do you have any advice for young people interested in doing your kind of job?
There's a genre for everyone. Learn how to spot red flags, learn to stand up for yourself, say no, and walk away from bad situations. Set boundaries, don't let anyone tell you what you can and can't do. Learn to do makeup, study posing, learn the basics of photography and lighting! And most importantly, have a grand ole time, this job can turn horrible very quickly if you forget to find the fun in it. Don't just do it because you think it's well paid and easy to do because it really isn't. Do it because you love it.
You can find Lauren on Instagram here.