Your teenaged daughter, or son, wants to be Barbados’ next top model and every where she/he goes, either here at home or when you travel, she/he is constantly told ‘OMG! You have the face and body of a model’ but does that mean you should move your baby hundreds of miles across the world to do it?
LOVING ME asked Barbadian Supermodel Lene Hall, who celebrated her birthday yesterday, for advice.
“See it for what it is, a business. Some of the shows on TV make it seem so easy, that you could be tall and attractive and you could automatically be a model and I think that’s what a lot of people think but that’s not necessarily a fact.
“Agents see what they believe they can make money off of and how they can market you and if one person doesn’t see it in you then somebody else will. Sometimes everybody doesn’t translate well in front of a camera. Everybody that’s attractive isn’t necessarily photogenic,” she said.
Lene said that she was told by some people she should open an agency but her response was that she could not because she was honest and “I don’t like to give people false hope”.
“I’m being very honest … For some people it just comes natural and that’s how I like to tell people. I want them to see it for what it really is. If you’re too short to do runway, maybe you can do commercial and catalogue, or maybe you can do TV [because] you have a personality that can translate on camera and video. You can do TV commercials you can get into acting, there’s such a wide variety in this business that you can get into, it doesn’t always have to be high fashion because everybody’s not high fashion,” Lene stated.
The Supermodel who left Barbados 19 years ago after being discovered while working in a jewellery store and moved to New York, said that she was high fashion but “not really catalogue which doesn’t always work well in my favour because catalogue can make more money. It really depends on where you sit in this business.”
Lene has walked on several catwalks for designers such as Ralph Lauren, was the face of Sam Fine, Este√ Lauder and Revlon. She has been photographed for magazines including Oprah, Essence, Spanish Vogue, Elle, and Marie Claire, and was very frank about what takes place.
She noted that with all the reality shows about models, and the sometimes amazing transformations that take place over their duration, some viewers’ perception become warped.
“It’s hard because of social media, and all of the reality shows in terms of different businesses, who wants to be a singer who wants to be an actor, who wants to be a model they go on and they make it look [easy and you say] I can do this because you shoot with the most famous photographers but that doesn’t happen.
“When you see America’s Next Top Model for example, you see these huge photographers like Patrick Demarchelier (French fashion photographer) and the [other] big photographers so when you see them shoot some of these girls and the shots come out so amazing, who tells you when you get into this business you’re going to shoot with Patrick Demarchelier, … that alone is an accomplishment so you have to see it for what it really is.
Don’t give up. If it’s something you really want to do, don’t give up but don’t fool yourself and don’t stop school to do this because it’s not the time to quit school,” she said.
“I had someone who recently approached me about a girl in Barbados who wanted to model and she goes to [Queen’s College], and I told them ‘no she should not quit school’. You have a better chance of being struck by lighting twice to quit school today and be discovered tomorrow and things happen like how they did for Rihanna.
“I’m using Rihanna because she’s Barbadian. When you look at her story it’s a total fairy tale, it’s an amazing fairy tale and I thought my story was amazing. I look at hers and that doesn’t happen too often, so don’t always look at other people. You can look at other people and say ‘why can’t I’ and push yourself to do better and nothing’s wrong with that because it’s always good to aim for the top but also aim for reality,” she said. (DS)