The sixties brought us The Beatles
The seventies glam rock
The eighties Madonna
And the nineties …the Supermodel.. Ah the glory days when Supermodels WERE super, they adorned every magazine cover and wouldn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day..well it’s ONE of Linda Evangelista’s legacies!!
This was when I became a rookie in the world of modeling …and I had true icons to aspire to ..Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington (my all time favourite!), Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schieffer, Helena Christensen…they were the women every woman wanted to be and every man wanted. ..and God knows, I tried every trick in the book to emulate them…begged my hairdresser for ‘root lift’..he laughed and asked me who did I think I was .. Cindy Crawford??!!!..I saved up and bought the MAC spice lip pencil and dutifully lined my lips outside the line, in ’92 at the Supermodel Final in L.A., I learnt how to tape up my chest for more oomph, and took the stage like a pro in my blue sequined cocktail dress! The Ford Agency was the one to be in ..Eileen Ford coined the term SUPERMODEL…and claimed them as her own. The Supermodels were in a league of their own – untouchable, beautiful and minted.
Meanwhile on this side of the Pond I was doing my ‘go sees’ (the grueling period of traipsing around photographers, stylists and ad agencies..showing them my portfolio and hoping they’d ‘see something’ in me..hardly likely when some of these were done in my school uniform..I went to Loreto North Great Georges Street and we were known as ‘choc pops’ – so trust me..I did NOT look cute!).
I learnt to keep my business quiet (girls can be bitches), smile on cue (it still gets me gigs), don’t complain ( thankfully I’m very easygoing), be on time ( a problem for most models), and understand that though YOU pay your Agent – they’re your boss (that’s just the way it is!)…
STILL, I wanted to succeed..I was blessed with parents that supported me but were far from pushy, friends that thought it was cool ( though I’m sure there were many discussions unbeknownst to me!), and a boyfriend who loved me for who I was not what I did. So Lillies was a topic of conversation I listened to rather than a place I was seen in. The Butterie Brasserie in The Hibernian Way was the daytime haunt of the fashionably fabulous people and I broke out in a sweat walking in to it…EVERYONE turned to see who was coming through the door (and I was aware I was the model who would never be the sex kitten). Despite that I made a name for myself..(this was a good thing, a serious model needed to be known on the fashion scene but anonymous to the public..times have changed me thinks – so many models just want to be famous..but hell, that’s another post!!). I was the geansai girl. There were a few of us – if you had celtic colouring and looked good staring off wistfully in to the distance – you were booked. I got many a dose standing on the side of a bloody mountain waiting for the sheep to appear in the background, waiting for the light to be just right, and turning my head in to the wind. But, you know what ???…they were my favourite jobs..the craic we had! Mike Bunn was the photographer we all wanted to work with and thankfully he liked me though you’d never know it!!! (many a model can relate to this!). You worked with Mike..you stayed in luxury..God life was tough.
Another lesson I learned was – if you worked abroad ..you worked better when you came home..a shot in your portfolio from Milan or London or Paris…made your business diary a hell of a lot busier. I was lucky enough in 6th year to work for Italian Vogue (they were doing an Irish feature), and THAT one shot..opened doors for me..
I had the best start to modeling any model could ask for – Rebecca Morgan was my Agent. A lady, a Mum, and a best friend…they don’t make them like Rebecca any more. It broke my heart to leave and join the bustling, boisterous, and busy Assets Agency. But that is what I did, and I kept moving forward. Today, Mags is in Oz, Alex has his own great Agency, Derek is still Derek who I love to bits and is the pulse of all things fashion (I KNOW there is a book inside of him – feck it a TRILOGY!), and Assets is safe in the hands of Courtney and Marie Claire. It’s home to me..and whilst I spent many happy times in Fashion Capitals (London being hands down my favourite)..the close-knit industry here, reminds me that even the beautiful people have hang-ups, hangovers, overdrafts, and drafty drawers (don’t know why I said that – but it sounded funny).