Today I’d like to introduce you to a pretty model, fantastic personality and my dearest friend Rebecca Pearson. I’ve met Rebecca about half a year ago at the private Pixi event in London. I was impressed with her beauty, intelligence and open heart. So I couldn’t resist interviewing Rebecca for Yukova Blog. Enjoy!
Yuliya: Introduction. Could you tell my readers a bit more about your model background and blog, things you do and what you believe in?
Rebecca: Hi Yuliya! Certainly – I’ve modelled for 15 years now – I was scouted outside Topshop as a very gawky teenager, with glasses, braces and acne! Amazingly, someone saw my potential and I’m enjoying a really long, successful career (though of course with many ups and downs). It was because I felt so lucky to have enjoyed a great career with a supportive family and friendship network that I decided to start my website, Modeltypeface, to provide that network for other models.
I dish out advice on the legal side of modelling, as well as how to survive it with your body, mind and soul in tact.
Yuliya: I know you’ve worked with many many big names in fashion and beauty industry so far during your career. Could you share with us what are your favourite projects and what make them favourite?
Rebecca: Yes, my favourite projects were the lowest paid, amazingly! Though I’ve worked with brands such as L’Oreal, Nivea, The Body Shop, Avon, Vogue, Harpers and so on, my favourite job ever was an unpaid road trip in Wales! I had to just be really silly for the camera with a lovely group or people and it was made into a book, which I’ll cherish forever.
Yuliya: What is your normal day look is like? I guess it would be at least 2 types of days: inside and outside. What do they look like for you and which days are your favourite?
Rebecca: My inside look is… NO makeup (I like to let my skin breathe) and a People Tree dress because they’re Fair Trade and comfortable. I mainly just sit at my desk and write, write, write so I can’t be doing with restrictive tight clothes (or bras!).
For outside I also have two looks: my ‘modelling’ look and ‘off duty’ look. I much prefer the latter! I love to wear feminine vintage dresses with DMs and a leather jacket with the sleeves rolled up. I like balancing feminine with masculine, and I just feel most comfortable in that getup! For modelling, I have to wear boring black vest tops with skinny jeans because we’re meant to be a ‘blank canvas’. Snore!
Yuliya: Could you tell us about your food and dietary routine? What are the products you prioritise and which of them everyone should avoid in your opinion?
Rebecca: Yes, I loosely follow Ayurveda, which helps you with what food & drink you should eat based on your individual constitution. I am strongly against cutting out any food group other than processed food unless you have a real allergy. I eat 2-3 meals a day and I never skip a dessert if I want it! I find that the less strict I am with myself, the less ‘emotionally’ I eat. So, rather than bingeing and feeling guilty, I’ll eat when I’m hungry and I’ll stop when I’m full.
I think that the best diet anyone can follow is to cook their own dinner made from fresh, seasonal vegetables. It’s cheaper and better for you, and unlike processed food, you know exactly what’s gone in your food.
Yuliya: For you, what professionalism of the model includes?
Rebecca: The main thing for a model is that they turn up to their casting/job punctually, they are clean and they are friendly to everyone. It’s not exactly hard but you’d be surprised at how some models behave. Many are often late and arriving at the job straight from an all-nighter, as well as moaning their way through the photo shoot.
We must always remember to be polite and kind to your agencies, who work hard to find us jobs. In return, we always hope to be treated with the same respect and paid on time – sadly not always the case!
Yuliya: When a company selects a model for a shoot, what do you think is the crucial factor for them? Do you think it’s important to be a kind person and interact with the team? Or it only comes down to your measurements and type?
Rebecca: I think that when they select the model, the main thing is that the model has the right look and maybe not specific measurements, but certainly the right figure for the brand’s clothes (some may want very thin, others more of an hourglass shape).
You often meet the client before for a casting, which is like an audition. Your personality does come into play here – sometimes a client will like you so much they will change the whole look of their campaign!
Getting on well with the team is really important once you’re on the job, as it means you’ll get better pictures, make a great impression on a lot of people who may recommend you to other clients, and you’ll hopefully get rebooked next time.
Yuliya: Do you agree that ‘model courses’ and training are important for becoming a successful model? Do you think somebody can become a model, if they only have a natural talent for it, but they don’t spend time polishing it?
Rebecca: No I think those courses are, on the whole, a waste of time and money is done by people who aren’t really working in the mainstream fashion industry. There’s only one person I’d recommend here and that’s Jen Dawson, who runs a course called Model Confidence. She’s a legitimate fashion model who has worked in the industry, for some of the biggest clients, and will give a model the tools they need to succeed.
I agree that someone can become a model without being trained. As a New Face, you’re definitely thrown in at the deep end and you learn as you go, but there’s something quite fun and exciting about that. I don’t think you need an innate talent, more a confidence, a willingness and openness to learning. I was actually quite shy when I was scouted, but it felt to me as though modelling was another life where I could express myself without judgement. I loved photo shoots – though of course, I made some rookie errors I just listened to what the photographer told me to do and had fun with it! That way you find your own groove, your own style and your own niche, so you get bookings based on that.
Yuliya: What was the reason you’ve started your blog? Do you think it’s important to be on top of social media presence nowadays for models? Does Instagram/Blog/Facebook help you to find clients?
Rebecca: Models have to have an online presence, sadly. And they have to be huge! Instagram etc are seen as a great advertising platform for clients, and it’s seen as the bigger the number the bigger the platform, which I actually disagree with. I think a small following who are very engaged is just as effective (probably because I have a small, engaged following!). Clients have definitely seen me on social media and booked me from that, at the same time many haven’t booked me because I don’t have those big numbers.
I started Modeltypeface because everyone was telling me to do it – my agency, clients, other bloggers – but I wanted to wait until I had an idea that inspired me to work for it every day. I love reading beauty blogs, but I felt that Ruth Crilly had done the model/beauty thing so successfully and I wanted to bring in the feminist writing I was getting published in places like Vagenda.
One day, it struck me. Other models were always emailing me with an advice they felt they couldn’t ask their agency. Why didn’t I put all that advice in one place?
Since then the blog has really taken off, and I’ve been on the BBC & Sky news speaking live about issues surrounding modelling, I’ve been published in the Telegraph & Evening Standard and, most importantly of all, I get letters from fellow models and young girls saying that my words have really helped and supported them.
Yuliya: Do you think it’s crucial to have an agent nowadays? Is there a way you can progress without agency in your career? What girls need to know about contracts with agencies? What points to avoid signing? Is it possible to negotiate an agreement between model and agency? Or it’s standard and you have to agree to it.
Rebecca: I think having an agency is necessary, yes, especially when you start. They have an enormous database of clients, they will organise the best fee on your behalf and they will scan clients to make sure you’re in safe on jobs and castings. Not every agent is perfect and models and their parents need to make sure the agency is legit when they sign– you can find out how to recognise sham agencies on Modeltypeface.
I don’t know anyone who has negotiated their contract beyond the standard 25% commission – I can tell you that the best advice in terms of legal standing and contracts comes from Equity, who represent models as well as actors. For just £10 a month we get legal advice on tap, it’s a fantastic service.
Yuliya: In your opinion, is it possible to be a 40 or 50-year-old model nowadays and still make a living off it? Is there such a thing as model’s retire age today? What are the options you know to developing your career after modelling? what can be a next logical step?
Rebecca: There’s no definite age, but after your late 20s it can definitely slow a bit. I do know models in their 30s who work quite a lot, and there are more and more brands emerging who are aimed at an older generation: 40+, who were previously quite invisible on the fashion landscape (despite being the age group with the money).
Honestly, there are so many different careers models go into! Some marry rich men and become trophy wives, while others become partners in law firms! Many carry on in the fashion industry as stylists, makeup artists and photographers, having amassed a good number of contacts and work experience. Many, like me, are hoping to get into journalism and blogging because it feels like a natural and organic progression, and one that fits in with our freelance schedules. You learn, as a model, to go with the flow whilst grabbing and opportunity you can.
Follow Rebecca on Twitter @rebeccapearson, Instagram: @1rebeccapearson, Facebook www.facebook.com/modeltypeface and Snapchat: Modeltyepface.
QUESTION OF THE DAY:
Would you like to become a model?
You may also like to read my interview with Steph Elswood – fitness model and blogger.
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[Photo credit: Theo Games Petrohilos]