I’d Be Lying If I Said The Industry Doesn’t Change You
When I was asked, at the tender and impressionable age of 15, on a trip up to London from the West Country if I was interested in becoming a model I had no idea about fashion, grooming, or style. I was after all a bambino – so to speak – stumbling through adolescence, unsure of who I was. If I was ‘cool’, what ‘cool’ even meant and for the most part more concerned with Yo-Yos and rugby than brands, trends, celebrities and fashion. In those days the only conscious effort I made to style myself concerned plastering unnecessarily large amounts of cheap hair gel into my thick unkempt hair.
Oh how things have changed? Or have they?
After 9 years in the fashion industry – in an industry I never intended to get involved in, doing job I could never have imagined myself doing – having worked with world renowned photographers, having shot with the famous and the infamous alike, having being dressed by scandalous stylists in clothes designed by the most successful fashion houses and after existing in a trendsetting world that at times has felt all too un-real, am I any different to how I was? How far have I come from that 15 year old boy stood in front of the mirror scooping ladleful’s of fluorescent blue hair product into his oversized and somewhat mulletish haircut attempting, albeit unawares, to define himself in his eyes and indeed in the eyes of his peers.
Ask Yourself Why You Want It So Much?
Modeling forced me to grow up quickly. I’ll never forget standing lost on that ill-lit and gradually darkening Parisian street at the age of 16, holding back tears, unable to contact anyone from the agency or call anyone from home. It threw me into an abundance of incredible and bizarre experiences, from being ordered to kiss Kate Moss on the nose by Bruce Weber, to riding naked and bareback across an Argentinian wheat field atop a rather upset and fly-bitten steed. Life became a strange, exciting, yet unsettling blend of long haul flights, temporary friends and lonely hotel rooms; a life lived as though one were a leaf in the wind, a life where everything could change with a phone call. My advice to all wanting to make modeling a profession is this: Ask yourself why you want it so much, work out what you want to do after, make the most of every opportunity you’re given, spend your free time building something you believe in, don’t take yourself to seriously and – most importantly – stay grounded. Without some hold on normality you’ll soon be lost.
Is this a warning?…Maybe…..
Fear of Rejection
To keep yourself from loosing your head, whilst making a career in such an unstable realm, it’s so important to remind yourself you’re only human, that you’ll have bad days and that in choosing this path you’re giving up a certain amount of control to fortune and fate. May the Gods of fashion smile favorably down upon you, but if they don’t, oh well, get over it. If you’re scared of being rejected then this isn’t the industry for you. People always ask me about my diet and my training program but this doesn’t interest me in the slightest. Self-hatred is an epidemic. If you want to change a part of your body start with the mind.
Shift your paradigm and learn to love yourself as you are, inner beauty, inner strength and inner richness are sure to be born from that. I value these inner qualities more now; maybe it’s a reaction to being involved in a world so concerned with the external, with the image, for so long. Our experiences change us and modeling has had its hand in molding me. So now when I’m modeling I try to draw something out from inside, show some part of that inner world, create something more that just an image and tell a story. I feel like I’ve been given so much, and now, however I can, I want to give something back.
So sure, I’ve come a long way from cheap hair gel, have settled into a style that feels like my own, and I know a well dressed man when I see one. But the real effect modeling has had on me lies beneath the surface. Ultimately I don’t care what suit your wearing; I don’t care how much your watch is, but I do care about your relationship to life…about what thoughts we share…what thoughts we don’t…and what stories we can make together.
If you like you can step inside my mind here iamsamway.tumblr.com
See the sound of my soul here @ soundcould.com/iamsamway
And Follow me on Twitter @iamsamway