For many men and women, there passion lies in modelling. It’s not about being a figure for photographers to take pretty pictures of. It’s about being a muse that inspires fellow creatives, a body that represents art, a visual that brings to life a well-developed aesthetic concept. There are different types of models for different markets who all have to put in a lot of hard work into getting to where they want to be. If you think it’s all sunshine and rainbows, receiving freebies, travelling the world and going to Fashion Week…well. Best believe you are in for a shock!
Have you ever wondered how the modelling industry is?
Meet Olivia Sang
Olivia Sang, a 26-year-old Kenyan, is a beautiful, professional, hardworking and successful model. Her modelling career started in 2014, when she went to the Fashion Awards Academy auditions at the Kenya National Theater. Olivia is signed to Boss Models South Africa (Johannesburg and Cape Town), Flash models Istanbul Turkey, Zone Models London, and Generation Models Spain.
This is a lady who knows what she wants and goes for it without compromising her own set of morals and principles. Olivia Sang is not afraid to speak on issues she faces and a lot of dark skinned girls face such as colourism (prejudice against people who have a darker skin tone – and/or the preferential treatment of those who are of the same race but lighter-skinned). Find out more about Colourism here.
Furthermore, Olivia Sang is not afraid to tell you based on her experiences and opinion how the modelling industry is.
Modelling Truths from Olivia Sang
It took me several years to find an agency to represent me. It also took me some time to find the courage to quit my 8-5 job to pursue modelling full time. But all I always knew, that my purpose in fashion was and is to continually encourage young black girls to follow their dreams no matter what it is.
If you feel this is your passion and you can’t go another day not doing it, then definitely GO FOR IT!
To get started;
You need to commit to it 100% through thick and thin. If it goes great, amazing! If not, don’t lose hope, you can always come back to your passion when you are ready. Start by researching on the agencies around you. Find out their legitimacy by speaking to different girls and guys who are signed with them and so on. Call and book an appointment to see the agent or you can send your picture if this is what they require you to do. If you have a great connection with them and they love you, then you’ve found a nice agency. If not, keep looking for one.
Modelling is fun and a wonderful way to experience life. However, you have to keep in mind that it is a career of its own and it is a serious business. That being said, you have to be ready to face the challenges that come with the territory.
Here are some of the things that I have experienced in my career and how to deal with them.
- Unstable income. You need to make hay when the sun shines and learn some financial management skills. Sometimes work will be slow and at this point you will need to have some money to sustain you.
- At the beginning of your career, testing with different photographers is very important because. This will help you grow and understand how your body moves and the different styles of posing. After a while, this becomes easier and easier but you have to put the work in.
- Peer pressure. If you are joining the industry at age 16 to 21, there will be a lot of pressure to do things that you are not willing to do. Just remember what your goals are and remember to focus on them while avoiding situations which will lead to regret.
- Under qualified make-up artists and hair stylists will let you go on set looking like you just rolled out of bed just because they don’t know how to deal with your type of hair and skin. We are constantly fighting this situation because we all need to be treated fairly with respect. Be ready with some of your own make-up and hair supplies in your bag.
- Being away from family for long periods of time while traveling can leave you lonely. On the flip side you get to meet some really interesting people from all over the world.
Don’t forget to have lots of fun and adventure! 😊
- Life plan for later. As a model, you need to decide what you would like to branch out to do after your career. As we all know it will not last forever. So it is better to have an idea as to what you would like to do rather than have life decide for you.
- Be aware that there are a million other male and female models that are just as pretty and interesting as you. Therefore you have to figure out what your strong points are and make them work for you. For example, I have a great personality; I am good with people and I make this work in my favor during castings and at work.
- Contrary to looking glamorous and all fun, sometimes you will be required to work in adverse conditions. You will definitely be required to shoot summer clothes during winter and vice versa. You will also have long hours on set or constant days of shooting and you will be required to to stay upbeat. Pace yourself and get enough sleep.
- Body positivity and inclusivity has a long way to go in the modeling industry. So many women are having to compromise their physical and often mental health for the advancement of their careers. The boundaries of what a model should be are too black and white, leaving little or no room for error or individuality. You have to grow thick skin and just be yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do or how to treat your body.
- Last but not least, be smart and strategize your way through your career. Do not lose focus or get entirely distracted from your goals.
Follow Olivia Sang on Instagram here.
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