The Weird and Wonderful Modelling Asks

  • Freya Hill

Modelling may have its sexy, empowering connotations, and believe us, it has its fine, fine moments, but there are a few random asks that don’t always reach that level of sophistication.

Take River Island’s recent spring summer advertising campaign that featured a girl looking beautifully energized in radiant bronzer and pink lippy, then note the male model stood next to her in what can only be described as a splattering of the stuff. We imagine that must have been an embarrassing one for him. On another hand, have you noticed the lookbook shots from designer Duro Olowu where a model casts herself in the most unnatural formations to show off the kimono cut clothes she had been dressed in? We wince thinking about the neck pain that that one must have induced.

The funny thing is there’s a lot that models are asked to try out, it’s just we don’t always get to hear about it. But bearing in mind that being prepared is one of the most important rules of modelling success, being asked to do something a bit out of the ordinary shouldn’t take anyone by surprise.
A model who disagrees with the way his/her hair has been styled, with the colour of foundation that has been rubbed onto their skin, that isn’t comfortable with the clothes that they have been dressed in (believe us, this does really happen) isn’t a model who is going to form a strong and healthy reputation. Thus it’s important to be prepped for a whole bundle of random and possible modelling scenarios.


Take make-up, one of the most important parts of a model’s preparation. Whether you’re walking the runway for Giles AW 2013 or you’re posing for the Cheap Monday online catalogue, you should be prepared for a white washed face, a metallic lip, a sweep of eye liner that’s larger than the line Twiggy became famed for. We agree, it’s not the look you’d wear to town on a Saturday night, it’s certainly not a style you’ve tried out before, but for the job in hand it should be one you understand, appreciate and commit to.

The same goes for hair. We all wince at a backcombed pile of madness, we probably wouldn’t sport it ourselves, but for one particular project it might be the ideal style. Have a look at Ivan Grundahl’s models for AW 13/14 where you will see masses of black bird’s nest wigs perched on top of each woman’s head; slightly obscure but spot on for the specific arrangement.
If it’s not giant hair, maybe it’s a slicked back wetness coating your scalp (recently seen at both Gucci and Topshop), a top knot that’s show stopping in its own right or sections of tightly twisted hair that have been pinned to the scalp to form alien like antennae across the head (spotted at Kimberly Ovitz) that you need to ready yourself for?
Wigs are a common form of practice too, whether you’re at a TV commercial, catalogue shoot or on the catwalk, and in some cases, maybe even hair that’s been wrapped around your face? (Check out Maison Martin Margiela for AW 13/14, although that’s a slightly unique case).


Besides wacky hair and make-up, models will be asked to wear garments that are out of the average person’s comfort zone. Throughout a whole range of situations UK Models have seen men and women being asked to wear fur, building apparel (as in the bright yellow high visibility vest), fake nose and lip rings, plastic bags as jewellery, flesh exposing garments and rope looped through dresses and around the body in the name of fashion.

It goes without saying that adult or erotic modelling scenarios bear an entirely different set of rules and ones that should only be considered if eighteen years or above.

If you’ve been lucky enough to land yourself a contract with a large catalogue, the chances of these situations arising are quite slim (considering their mainstream target audience) but whilst working your way up, and particularly when you’re at the very top, these are some useful (despite sounding silly) situations to bear in mind.

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Posted by Freya Hill

Freya is been writing for many years on fashion and modelling. Her hands are a bit too wrinkly for a 23 year old and she has worked with MTV, New Look and Vauxhall Fashion Scout.