Modeling career

When does a modeling career begin to end, and then what?

A model reading backstage at the Zuhair Murad couture show in Paris. Photo: Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images

The Model Alliance – a non-profit organization founded by Sara Ziff – has become a leading advocate for men and women working as models in the fashion industry when it comes to labor rights and conduct at work. job. Since its creation in 2012, the Alliance has made major advances, particularly in the protection of child models and initiatives in the area of ​​health and good nutrition. But, as anyone in the field will tell you, a modeling career will only last a while, and if you don’t think about your next professional steps, panic can set in when the phone stops ringing. and that the castings are rare. . This transition can be emotional (and in some cases, traumatic), and the Model Alliance steps in to help soften the blow and provide guidance on how to move forward into a new area.

On Thursday night in New York City, the Alliance hosted a panel discussion inviting men and women going through this career transition, led by former models – including Lisa Davies, a former face of Marc Jacobs who now has a career in nursing, and Paula Viola, who went to law school to become a lawyer, alongside other women who have experience in this difficult field.

While each individual has a different work history and situation, it is clear that this eventual career transition is not a priority for many work models. Additionally, there is a psychological aspect that some might not consider: When modeling work begins to slow down, there can be a feeling of mourning or loss – whether it’s because you haven’t quite got it. managed to achieve everything you hoped to do in your career. , or simply because elimination was not a choice. This is just one of the harsh realities that come with working in fashion, but as we sat on the panel, we gathered a number of tips that are not only relevant to modeling work, but to everyone as well. those looking to make a career change. Read on for the best tips we heard during the panel.

1. It is imperative that you start developing something professionally before stopping anything else. If you’re still a model for a living, but don’t plan on doing it any longer, pursue your other interests – this could include going back to school, starting your own business, or volunteering in a field you think you might enjoy. – while you are still booking jobs. Exploring different areas will help lessen the blow (both emotional and financial) for a possible career change and reduce panic when your time as a model comes to an end. While it should go without saying, don’t wait until your savings are depleted to start considering other career options.

2. You are not alone. Working with different people every day as a role model gives you a large network of contacts, as well as people to get support and mentorship from. Networking is important throughout your career, and if you have a vision for where you think you would like to end up, find out if you know someone who does and get in touch – feel free to let them know. ask if they can introduce you to anyone either.

3. It is important to remember that the skills you have learned as a model are adaptable and transferable. This includes teamwork at work, world travel, interpersonal skills with different cultures – although sometimes the bigger task is convincing others this side. You shouldn’t think that a modeling career is a handicap on your CV, because as a model you are essentially a businessman, a brand ambassador. and a personal brand. You may need to let others know about your experience, but you are a pro at selling yourself. It’s not about being ashamed, but about being empowered.