Life as a Canadian Model Abroad
Hi! I’m Melissa
As the face of the Hillberg & Berk Valentine’s Day campaign and international model living in China, I often have conversations about how glamorous it is to have a career as a model.
It’s funny—it seems those outside the industry associate modeling with luxurious travel, designer wardrobes and fashionable parties.
Don’t get me wrong—I love my job; however, the truth about modeling is that it often entails long hours, demanding working conditions and major commitment.
Here are a few of my favourite modeling myths to remind you that models are normal women, with flaws, challenges and ambition!
Myth #1: Penthouse suite, anyone?
Unless you are Kendall or Gigi, the accommodation arrangement for many models (like me) means shared space.
Imagine sharing one bathroom and kitchen with 9 other people! The upside to shared living is that women who start out as strangers become like your family. You celebrate special days, like Christmas and birthdays, together because we are all away from our homes and families.
I have had so many wonderful people come in and out of my life throughout my career, but this is what models do. We are constantly on the move.
Myth #2: Private jets and first class
More like last minute plane rides, public transportation and even scooters.
From castings, to fittings, to shoots, models often need to travel all the time. I have become very good at getting around foreign places because my career depends on it.
Myth #3: Everyday's like Sunday
Sleeping in, lounging in PJs, slow-moving mornings. Sounds nice, right? Well, my days are nothing like that.
Think: 200+ outfit changes in one day, 30-40 poses in 60 seconds or less, high heels for hours and no personal space.Or, think of being in a room with 150 beautiful women and feeling vulnerable and exposed at a casting.
In this industry you need thick skin, perseverance and a little grit to get by.
Now that I have painted a more accurate image of my life as a model, you must be wondering, is it worth it?
Even though at times all I want is the comfort of home (or just a baked potato), I wouldn’t change anything. This industry is not for everyone, but it has broadened my perspective and taken me to places some people only dream about.
I have discovered new cultures, new fashion styles and learned Mandarin and even some Portuguese.I am so lucky to have the opportunity to meet so many nice people along the way and I have friends now from all over the world.
If you chase a dream that ignites your passion, you will discover your very own pot of gold (with or without the private jet).