Striking silhouettes, rich, embellished fabrics and unapologetic glamour-this is what most young girls envision when they look at supermodels on the red carpet. While it may seem like a high-street world filled with excitement and pricy clothes to sport, there’s no skimping on the details of the not so shiny side. The client’s influences can take a lot out of you, especially if you are new to the industry.
It may seem like a fun job, taking your photo for a living and getting to travel around the world. The reality is far from it. If you don’t have thick skin then you can’t survive the modeling industry. People from all walks of life, will judge you and cause many new insecurities, you never thought you had before.
While the business comes with many pros and cons, it seems health is a major issue up for discussion. I was excited to interview Rebecca Pearson, a model, and writer from London. Rebecca created Modeltypeface as a safe place for other models to come to, benefit from her very own insiders knowledge of the industry. Rebecca’s goal of Modeltypeface is to empower women with helpful and fun chic knowledge.
Heather Lisa Noire (BF) What made you wish to speak out about all the negative stigma in modeling?
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) As soon as I hit my 20s, I started feeling quite protective towards the baby New Faces. Many of them seemed so young and clueless, and I didn’t want them to make the same mistakes I made.
I also noticed that other models would come to me to ask questions that they didn’t feel they could ask their agency or clients. I’m in a very privileged position. I have an supportive agency, a close network of family and friends, and I have qualifications I can fall back on. I feel like I should help empower those who do not enjoy my many advantages, especially as I am a feminist! So I put the nurturing instincts and the fact that other models seemed to trust me, with my extensive knowledge about the industry, to provide a platform to give other models information that is lacking elsewhere. Part of that is talking about the negative areas we don’t like to speak about: money worries, or doing shoots we don’t feel comfortable with, for example.
Heather Lisa Noire (BF) Did you always want to be a model?
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) Goodness no! I was your typical awkward kid-glasses, braces, acne and quite shy. Many people were quite baffled when I was scouted. I wanted to work with animals, to be an RSPCA inspector.
Heather Lisa Noire (BF) Do you consider yourself an activist?
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) No I don’t consider myself an activist. I am flattered that you suggest it.
Heather Lisa Noire (BF) Favourite makeup product?
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) It has to be Pixie Beauty Blusher. If I only wear one product it will be blusher as it makes me look like I’ve had a long, vigorous walk, it brings out my eyes and it lifts my complexion.
Heather Lisa Noire (BF) What does style mean to you?
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) A stylish person to me is someone who is free and breaks the rules. Someone who doesn’t have a ‘uniform’. I used to be more expressive in this department but I feel like I’m in a bit of a rut, it can be so easy to be ground down by all the style rules we get pelted with. I admire someone like Namalee Bolle, who’s outfits are simultaneously clever and fun and sexy and silly.
Heather Lisa Noire (BF) Heels or flats?
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) Oh flats! I love the way heels make me look, but I resent that they inhibit my movements, cause me pain and stop me dancing. I’ll be in clompy boots when I’m 80.
Heather Lisa Noire (BF) Best advice you can give to someone starting out in the business?
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) Check out Modeltypeface. In modeling you get thrown in a deep end from day 1 and there isn’t enough information on How to get through each challenge. I remember constantly feeling utterly bewildered. I’ve got lots of useful information on Modeltypeface, as well as all of the embarrassing mistakes I made you can learn from.
Loads of my model and industry mates have contributed so hopefully you won’t as feel alone and useless as I did when I started! It’s kind of like having a big sister looking out for you.
Heather Lisa Noire (BF) Do you like traveling?
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) Yes I love traveling and I should do it more.
Heather Lisa Noire (BF) Who influenced you?
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) My two older brothers were the biggest influence on my life. I just used to shamelessly copy them in what they liked-music, films, clothes, swear words. They didn’t go easy on me as they used to pick on me mercilessly, but this helped me develop the thick skin you NEED for modeling!
Heather Lisa Noire (BF) What is the most challenging about a shoot and when your on set?
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) Hmmmm any kind of fabric that clings uncomfortably to my thighs and bum. Whenever I have outfits or makeup looks I feel very unattractive in- I still have to exude confidence. And being cold.
Heather Lisa Noire (BF) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) Hopefully I will still be modeling though I realise the job changes as you get older, writing and Modeltypeface will have become an established platform for models to get advice and share stories and support. Most importantly of all, I will own a dog.
Heather Lisa Noire (BF) Do you think acting is cliché for a model?
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) Yes it is a massive cliché. But that shouldn’t stop anyone from trying. It’s a way of someone denigrating a person before they’ve even seen their performance. Never feel apologetic for your own ambitions and goals. Plenty of models make good actresses because they are used to the long hours, the objectivity over their looks, physical discomfort, and rejection and carrying out other people’s artistic visions.
Heather Lisa Noire (BF) Any regrets in life?
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) Yes, if I had taught myself to cook earlier I would have been healthier and happier in my body for more of my life.
Heather Lisa Noire (BF) Do you ever take risks?
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) Hmmm. On one hand, I love my creature comforts and I often feel as though I don’t push myself. On the other hand, I am a model, a journalist and a blogger, three ridiculously unpredictable jobs that are all going through a time of flux. So you could say every day is a risk for me!
Heather Lisa Noire (BF) Greatest Icons in Fashion?
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) Patti Smith, Kate Bush, Yves Saint Laurent.
Heather Lisa Noire (BF) Any hidden talents?
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) I give very good massages and I am good at judging people right away.
Heather Lisa Noire (BF) What quote best describes you?
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) ‘Be nice to people on your way up, cos you never know when you’ll meet them on your way down’. My mum always said that, and it’s true. Being kind makes you feel better about yourself, but it’s also a great long-term business plan.
Rebecca Pearson (MTF) I am revisiting all the Motown I have. I like that it makes your heart hurt and your soul sing.
Written and conducted by Heather Lisa Noire.