So today was a pretty big deal. Back in my home town, shooting for Debenhams, one of the UK's biggest department stores and being the face of the new UK wide Bra Fit campaign. I didn’t really know what to expect, other than I would be spending most of the day swaning around in my underwear and a fluffy robe. Meh, who needs to know more that that.
When I finally arrived at the studio on the East side of London (it'd been a while since I navigated the London transport system), I was ushered to a separate room upstairs where I was told to just chill out and wait to be called to hair and make up. Now chill I can do. It was here that I met Jess, one of the five other girls I would be sharing the stage with.
We wasted about an hour chatting and getting to know each other over a bowl of museli and homemade muffins. I decided to skip the muffin on this particular occasion as I felt that today was not the day to be adding to my already deliciously homegrown muffin top.
It can be shoots like this where there is a lot of waiting around so having other girls on set helps make those thumb twiddling moments a heck of a lot more entertaining.
It was finally my turn to be beautified so I plonked myself into the make up chair where the experts gave me the classic "lingerie look". Luscious, bouncy locks and a flawless looking face. It was here that I met the second model recruit, Emma. A gorgeous woman, super smart and very witty. Sitting next to her I noticed she was keeping busy with a bit of sewing. She told me she had recently started a little business selling pillows with quirky messages to friends and family.
Working as a model can be a bit of a roller coaster. There are weeks where you are flat out and weeks where.......well, not so much. So having a hobby, signing up to a course, or having another little money maker are incredibly important in helping you stay sane and keep your brain ticking over.
The third troop, and she really was a trooper, Bianca , had literally just got off the plane from LA and was curled up on a chair, weary eyed and ready to pass out at any moment. Proof that modeling is not always easy and glamourous. However, she powered through and ended up being the life and soul on set. This is what I like to refer to as "model delirium".
We each had our individual shots taken showing off our uniquely selected lingerie sets for our bust size and body shape. I was wearing a brand called Fantasie, a sexier brand for the bigger busted woman.
P.S that safety pin is not part of the bra. Don't worry, fashion hasn't completely lost it's mind (see below).
Once we’d all flaunted and flirted with the camera it was time for a well earned lunch break. The catering was in house and it was really frickin’ good. Baked salmon and chicken, vegetable quinoa, salad and roasted vegetables. It makes such a difference being served a quality, nutricious meal. The number of times I’ve been loaded up with heavy, stodgy sandwiches then by 3pm felt the afternoon carb slump, which can only be cured with yet more carbs. It really does effect my performance and energy so I am always grateful when clients make an effort to feed us with healthy, nutrient rich food.
In saying this I am of course equally grateful when they provide dessert too. Pear and chocolate tart served with cream was the perfect little treat. And seeing as I skipped on the muffins at breakfast I think I deserved a little slither. Or two.
Fuelled for the second half of the day we were ready for our group shots. Let me introduce the fourth and fifth members of the pack, Marte, the sultry red head and Karmi, the exotic sex kitten. All six of us carefully selected for our differences and showing that beauty really does come in all packages.
"Does my BUTT look BIG in this? Yes, and it looks FABULOUS."
This was by far the most entertaining part of the shoot. I personally love shooting with other models. By bouncing off their energy and interacting with them I find that real moments are captured and that really is where the magic happens. Of course, this only works if you're not shooting with a total diva and spotlight hogger. It wasn't hard to laugh and fun with these girls, it also helped that our photographer kept yelling out hilarious comments and profanities. Although let me tell you that laughing on cue is a real art. There is a fine line between a caught-in-the-moment giggle and an I'm-about-to-eat-your-face-off chortle.
But with the help of Beyonce, Rhianna and a well placed wind machine we were feeling pretty sassy and ready to work it.
I can’t begin to describe the confidence I felt during this shoot. All the girls were so self assured and happy in their own skin and being around that kind of energy is infectious. Like most woman I have days when I struggle with how I look and you just hope that day is not the day you’re being photographed semi-nude and then blown up to quadruple your size to be splashed across shop windows, the internet and social media.
As a model I’m constantly being judged by how I look, which is perfectly fine as that’s what I signed up for. It just means dealing with it as best I can on the days I don't feel so fierce. Although in this moment, shooting for Debenhams and standing with these beautiful woman by my side oozing confidence, all those feelings washed away and I just remember feeling happy, comfortable and at peace with my body. It then stopped becoming about how we looked and all about what we stood for instead. Celebrating our differences and embracing all that we are in the hope to encourage other women to do the same. All whilst wearing the best possible lingerie of course.
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All behind the scenes shots taken by photographer Bruce Horak