When you’re an aspiring model, one of the most alluring parts of the job is the benefits. Although potential fame and fortune are highly appealing, it’s sometimes the experiences that other people can only dream of which make it a career worth aiming for – such as travel as a model.
Rather than being stuck in a school, university or office every day, models get the chance to go all over the world. Better yet, they don’t have to pay for it. After all, it’s part of the job!
We spoke to two different models to help us get an idea of the kinds of places you can go when you travel as a model, the kind of work you could end up doing, and the reputation you need to build for yourself before these opportunities arise!
How Long Does It Take To Reach The Point Where Travel As A Model Is An Option?
This really does depend. Some models will literally land on their feet, whilst others will have to work their way up from the ground. Typically, no matter which side of the modelling industry you’re hoping to break into, you’ll need to build up a name for yourself and have proper examples of your capabilities before they’ll take that kind of chance on you.
We spoke to Joanne Evans, a current glamour model, and Leanne B, who’s a former glamour model. These industries may differ from other ones, but they feel their experiences are quite typical. Remember that companies want to make money, so to invest in taking you away, they have to be confident that you can help them do that.
Model: Joanne Evans // Photographer: Tom Calton Photography
Hi Jo and Leanne! So, how did you get into modelling, and how long was it before you were invited to model internationally?
Joanne: I’d always been keen to model from a young age, however I never had the confidence. It was actually a friend who drunkenly persuaded me to give it a go! I went straight from nothing to glamour though, never a step in between! It actually all happened very fast. I started to get publications from the word go, as my very first job was for ZOO magazine.
I’d probably been modelling a good few years before I got to go anywhere abroad to shoot. I built up a good reputation with the companies and a fan base surrounding these companies. If you work hard, actively promote and push your work, a company is going to be more willing to push you too!
Leanne: I got into modelling when I sent some images in to Front magazine. I had been modelling for about a year before going abroad, but had been shooting with one particular website for about eight months before I was asked if I wanted to travel abroad to shoot. It was probably 14 months after I started modelling that I went to Spain with a major magazine.
Where Can You Expect To Travel To?
From the outset, travel around the UK is your most likely option. This is because a lot of shoots will happen in the fashion capital, which is of course London. If you’ve not grown up there, this is exciting in itself!
However, the even more exciting prospects of going further afield do exist, too. We asked Jo and Leanne where they’ve been.
Which countries have you been lucky enough to work in, and who did you go with?
Joanne: I have been taken to different countries with different companies. With the Suicide Girls, I have been flown to America to LA to shoot at the Suicide Girls’ house a few times. I’ve also been to San Diego to work at San Diego Comic-Con, which was incredible! I’ve also been flown to Ibiza and Denia in Spain by Xtreme Playpen to shoot! Once a company took me to Bulgaria for a photo shoot, which was a completely different experience. I’ve had a few other chances recently to go away, but sadly had to turn them down due to my other job.
Credit: Jo Evans Instagram
Leanne: I was modelling for a glamour website. It was a site that had a large number of followers with a keen interest in old-school style glamour modelling. The images were bright, provocative and playful. We went to Bulgaria, as the director of the company had a villa out there. I also went to Spain for a major men’s magazine, staying in a photographer’s house with five other girls.
What Are The Benefits Of Travel As A Model?
Getting to see the world is one of the best things that you can do as a human on this planet! However, when you work abroad, you feel as though you’re making huge strides in your career and being recognised as being worthy of venturing to new places on the company’s money. When it comes to future jobs, it further highlights the calibre of model that you are, such as your level of experience. It looks good that other people have taken that chance on you.
Modelling is typically a fun job, but you do have to work hard. Being flown overseas is almost like a reward. It seems Jo agrees. She told us:
“I loved meeting new people and girls who had similar passions to me even though we all were very different! Plus the companies I worked for were all such lovely people.”
Model: Jo Evans // Photographer: KL Photography
Models might be worried about the practicalities. Will they be taken care of whilst undertaking travel as a model? It seems that the answer is yes. Being taken to luxury destinations keeps models happy. However, the work aspect does play a big part – Leanne talked us through the balancing act.
“Travelling to Bulgaria was great. We flew out on the Monday afternoon, chilled by the pool, shot all day Tuesday until 5pm and then went out to a local restaurant for food and drink. We then flew back Wednesday morning. It was relaxed and that particular company have always been the best people to work for. They paid within days, and as I found the work myself, I didn’t have to give my agency a cut of the pay.”
Are There Any Downsides?
When you travel as a model, you’re not travelling in the way that you would with your family and friends. Whilst it’s great that you’re seeing different countries and places, it’s not going to be on your schedule, and you’ll be working, just like in any other job. That means that you have to follow instructions, even when it’s hot or you’re tired. You may want to visit local attractions or lie on the beach, but you might not see anything outside of the hotel complex!
Remember, as your career explodes, it may also be difficult for family, friends, or even partners as well. Jo told me that this was something she thinks could be difficult for some, but that the right person will just understand you’re only doing your job (and what you love):
“I think a bit of a negative to modelling is being able to be with a partner who can cope with it. I guess being away and modelling can add an extra strain on that too. However if you are with the right person, it shouldn’t be an issue!”
Leanne had a slightly less positive experience with modelling abroad and wanted to warn that this can happen.
“The trip with the second company was completely the opposite of the first. I flew out on a Wednesday morning and as soon as I got to the photographer’s villa, I was sent straight to hair and makeup up and then outside to shoot. I remember shooting until 9 or 10 at night. The next day we had six girls to get ready, and have hair and makeup up done to go to the local beach. We spent all day on location, and had no food or drink apart from one bottle of water between all the girls.
We then rushed back to the villa late that evening, and we caught a flight at midnight back to London. As I live in Bristol I had to sit in a cold coach station until 7 am waiting for the coaches to start running. I was so cold and tired; I wanted to cry. The two experiences were comply different, one was very relaxed and pleasant, and the other rushed and tiring. Obviously I was very, very fortunate to be able to say I have been abroad for modelling, and got paid, but it’s more hard work than it looks!”
What Considerations Do You Need To Make About Modelling Abroad?
Model: Jo Evans // Photographer: Gemma Edwards
If you really want your career to be modelling, you need to understand that it is work, just like any other job you might do. Deciding whether to travel as a model can be a big deal!
You need to do the appropriate research into companies, before agreeing to go on the plane. Expectations versus reality sometimes differ, but this is natural, providing you’re not being exploited. Be enthusiastic, be compliant, and work hard; and if you want to be asked again, you should be.
Parents, if sending your children abroad for modelling, ideally, you should be allowed to go with them. Alternatively, you need to ensure that all arrangements are in place to ensure they’re well looked after. Talk to a lawyer to make sure everything on the contract is legal.
You will work long days, you will get tired – but if it’s a good company, you will have fantastic images, appropriate compensation, and memories to last a lifetime!