Survival of the Fittest – The Modeling Industry

Elite Models Oh the glamour of Paris Fashion Week: the hottest shows, the biggest trends, celebrities, fascinating catwalks, and the world class super models all united at the capital of fashion. Paris opens its arms to welcome models from all walks of life, both fresh faces and renowned models. Little do people know, the life of a super model is not just all fun and glamour. Let’s take a closer look at what it is like to be in the modeling industry during Paris Fashion Week.

Day 1. The Arrival

Imagine the most beautiful and renowned models all arriving at one of the most transited airports in the world, accompanied by chasing paparazzi wanting to steal the first shots of the week. At their arrival in Paris, super models check in hotels, while the new faces get to know each other in the model apartments, arranged by their modeling agency.

Paparazzi at her arrival at CDG Airport
Kendall Jenner paparazzi at her arrival at CDG Airport

Day 2. At The Agency

Models report to their agency to meet the team. Super models catch up with their managers (old time friends) and receive their first assignments. In the mean time, the fresh faces will receive training on Parisian culture and language so that they can get around the city. These young women also receive tips on walking and getting booked, as well as written guidelines and their daily schedule.

The agency also provides models with their comp cards and book perso. Comp cards is another term to call a model’s business card with their pictures and general information; and book perso is also known as a model’s portfolio issued by her agency. It will represent the model’s work and tell which agency she is representing.

Day 3. On The Job

The chaos begins with the first castings, fittings, and go-sees (basically, it means you go to a photographer studio or a casting facility and you’re seen without being previously called for) starting at 10 am, sometimes up to 20 appointments or more per day. And let’s not forget the last minute calls. With jam-packed schedules and conflicting agendas, models are torn to multiple pieces as they are given impossible tasks to complete by 6pm. All this while lagging along inside a big black bag their modeling kit which includes their book perso, comp cards, heels, water, and personal belongings. Imagine these inexperienced Paris travelers having 8 hours to visit 20 sites and being able to keep their poker face to score the job. That boils down to 6 hours of exhausting travel for only 2 hours of casting. They have no more than 5 minutes to impress each client.

this masks took 12 hours to be applied
Givenchy´s masks took 12 hours to be applied

Making a Living

Now for the practical part: How do models make a living? Fortunately, France is one of the only countries in the world where the modeling agencies are regulated by the government, which help models from getting underpaid. After their arrival in Paris, each model receives some pocket money from the agency for personal spending during the week. Items to be purchased include phone credits, transportation, and food. The agency also covers emergency expenses, because, well, models get sick too.

Models enjoy their break being turist
Models enjoy their breaks getting to do some sightseeing. Model: Jessica Le Bleis

Interested in knowing more about the modeling industry? Look out for our next blog post where we dive deeper into the topic by interviewing two models that worked during Paris Fashion Week.

by Kim Pham and Victoria Romero

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