After careful consideration, and almost a decade of modelling, I think the time has come to re-prioritise my life. 2011 is likely to be my last year of modelling officially. I am not 'retiring,' (mostly because I absolutely despise that term, and at 31, I'm damned if I'm old enough to 'retire.') I don't intend to quit entirely. But I also can't keep leading my life alternating between two unreliable jobs, in the hope that they will add up to something resembling one reliable income (many of you will know that I am also a singer/actress, and have juggled two careers separately for years).
There has been a spate of high profile models moving on from the world of internet modelling of late. Many of them have quit because of negative or bad experiences within the industry. So rather than add fuel to that fire, I would just like to take this opportunity to say that my decision to re-prioritise has absolutely nothing to do with falling out of love with modelling (and this isn't something I'm saying just because I think I ought to). Of course the modelling industry isn't perfect, and like anyone else, I have my rants and bugbears. But while over the years, I have become increasingly resentful towards my singing/acting career, (which is full of people who are very willing to waste your time for minimal rewards), my modelling career has actually kept me sane in times when I would otherwise have had no creative outlet. Far from growing resentful, I am genuinely grateful for the opportunities I've had, and the many people I have met through the modelling industry. It is because I genuinely love what I do, that I am unlikely to completely stop doing it.
I am proud to have been modelling for a decade, and I absolutely will NOT be moving on because of my age! I know there are many who feel that there is no place for older models in the modelling world. I personally would argue that if you are creating art, the emphasis is on creativity, rather than youth or conventional 'beauty,' and age should not be a factor. We live in an increasingly ageist society, where despite the fact that the vast majority of our population falls into an 'older generation,' that generation is not represented by the marketing images we are constantly bombarded with. As much as I would like to make a stand against that ageism and continue creating artistic work until I am in my 90s, the fact of the matter is that if I were to do so, it would more than likely not be on a profitable basis.
I would love to continue doing what I do just for the love of doing it, but sadly bills do need paying and travel is not free. As such, I need to rethink my priorities, and I just can't remain available indefinitely for bookings at any given time.
I have no intention of making sudden or drastic changes, and I will definitely continue to be available for bookings throughout June and July. I will probably be available in August, and possibly even in September. I do intend to continue modelling work up until the end of the year, and while it is unlikely that I will stop entirely in 2012, I also can't guarantee that I will continue, and will be gradually tailing off work throughout the remainder of 2011.
I would love to go out with a 'swan song.' There are many photographers I would still love to work with. I've had conversations with several people towards the end of last year and early this year, but due to various other commitments (illness, a European tour, and a foster dog who won't travel and took longer to re-home than expected), I haven't been able to tour the UK and haven't been able to see those plans through yet. I fully intend to tour the UK over the summer, and I hope to work with many of the photographers whose work I have admired in the past. I do already have some very exciting shoots booked, and I can't wait to complete those and share the images.
However, all good things must, eventually, come to and end. If you are one of the many people with whom I have communicated in the past, along the lines of 'we really must work together one day,' can I suggest that you book me sooner rather than later. I would particularly like to fill June and July, so please do get in touch and send me some dates. I will be the first to admit I am hopeless at email tennis. I am very efficient when it comes to confirming a booking, but it makes it so much easier to get to that stage if you can start with some suggestions for when and where.
I am definitely planning to visit the south coast over the summer, and am happy to travel anywhere in the UK as long as it is financially viable to do so - I just can't afford to do it at my own expense. One of the major factors that has influenced my decision to re-prioritise is the increasing cost of travel, which makes it so much more difficult to make modelling trips profitable. If you are based further afield, then please let me know where you are based and give me a rough idea of when you would like to shoot, and I will do my best to coordinate my travel plans to include your area.
I am genuinely very grateful for the opportunities I've had through modelling, and the people I have met. I do intend to continue creating art, and I love doing so. I'll keep updating this blog with forthcoming shoots over the summer, and I hope to fit in many more fantastic shoots before 2012.