What is it like to be A Freelance “Model” in Paris?

I have been one of those people who look at the photographs taken by someone else and recoil in horror, and I still am, sometimes. I can point out a million things I hate: my hair is sometimes flat, my forehead is greasy, I have nowhere to hide my chubby Asian cheeks.

By no stretch of the imagination could I become a model. A model is someone you gaze admiringly at in fashion magazines, on billboards, and in boutique windows. They always have beautiful  bouncy hair, a flawless complexion, and perfectly airbrushed bums. However, not long after I moved to Paris, a city that places beauty and art above anything else, I started taking photographs for a number of talented photographers and have found the experience surprisingly pleasant and rewarding.

I was lucky. My photoshoot was smooth-sailing and easy. It was a kind and skilled French photographer Yann who reached out to me on Instagram. I arrived at his apartment/photo studio near Republique in my winter clothes and minimal makeup. We had a brief exchange on Whatsapp and found out that he has been working in the music industry and now as a professional photographer who looks for “models” to enrich his diverse portfolio.

I am not going to lie. I was beyond nervous but Yann made the entire process seem so simple. We took some portraits and had one change of outfits that I brought. During the session, his girlfriend Mathilde arrived home who turned out to be a Chinese graphic designer, which made it even easier for us to communicate and carry out a more pleasant shoot. The next week, we did another photoshoot at my studio in Le Marais which was slightly more “risque”. Yann and Mathilde never failed to provide great creative ideas and the shoot lasted nearly four hours. Here is Yann’s website. http://rithbanney.com. Feel free to check it out!

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After the first shoot with a great photographer, it only gets easier and easier. I am fortunate because so far the photographers I have worked with are very kind and professional. Despite my broken French, I never encountered any communication problem or have managed to remain friends with the photographers.

Tips

I am a “modele debutante” but I do have some valuable tips for those who are interested in starting modeling on a freelance basis.

Be professional. Have clear communication before each shoot and show up prepared when you say you will. Stand your ground and do it with grace and professionalism. Always arrive on time, reply all email in a timely manner, and answer every phone call.

Set your limits but do not limit yourself. What are you willing to do or not do? Are you okay with nudes? Lingerie? Video? Fetish? Stick to what you have agreed to for the shoot and say no if you feel uncomfortable as most would understand. However, be open to new ideas. When you submit your portfolio to freelance gigs, do not limit yourself to one category; rather, expand your horizon and actively converse with photographers about new interesting ideas.

Build a portfolio. This one is not necessarily mandatory but if you’re more serious, a portfolio will help you reach out to more photographers and potentially build your own network. Having a website of your own would give you the best platform to list details of your experience & background and promote yourself to potential clients. Having your profile in social networks will boost your online credentials Also think about what genres and styles you prefer and perhaps state your preferences in your portfolio.

Stay optimistic. Your positive and fun attitude would be welcome by clients and photographers that choose to work with you. At the same time, be prepared for the worst. Stay cool even in a negative environment, never badmouth anyone, or do not exchange heated words with a client when things are getting out of control.

 

Check Mates & Gingham Gang

A warm winter coat doesn’t have to be the monochromic black, navy, or beige; a mixture of black and white check prints makes you stand out in the crowd while remaining effortlessly chic and wearable. It is surprisingly versatile, creating an edgier look and underlying the simplicity and elegance of a black turtleneck and the sensuality of sheer black tights.

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The “Skin-Tone Look”

In fashion, a shade closest to natural skin tones is called “nude”. However, natural skin tones vary from pearl to mahogany. So essentially “nude” is not a color, but more of a concept come up with by individuals who naively thought that “one shade fits all”. Ballerinas were required to wear “nude” ballet slippers and it used to be virtually impossible for people with darker skin to find “nude” nylons and stockings that matched their skin tones.

Nevertheless, fashion is constantly evolving. Back in 2015, Christian Louboutin added 4 shades to its “The Nudes” shoe collection, embracing an au naturel look for all women.

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Hence, the trend I am writing about today is the “skin-tone look”. On the one hand, it is incredibly feminine, sophisticated and understated. On the other hand, if the color blends with the person’s skin tone impeccably, it creates a striking effect that makes the ensemble astonishingly distinctive and gorgeous. Here are some great examples for various skin tones.

Ivory/Pearl

Blush/Bisque

Beige/Sand

Sun-kissed/Golden

Honey Bronze/Chestnut

Caramel/Toffee

Espresso/Mahogany

Red Carpet Looks

Yeezy

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Although I am not personally a fan of “sports casual chic” or sweatshirts, Yeezy has to be mentioned. The collections and choreographies of the fashion shows sparked controversies as references to the racial diversity and inequality across America and beyond. Kayne however denied the political connotation of his clothes, making a statement in 2015: “It had nothing to do with race. It was only colors of human beings and the way these palettes of people work together and really just stressing the importance of color, the importance of that to our sanity, these Zen, monochrome palettes…” His collections have been received far more favorably by the public in spite of bigotry encountered by the rapper in the fashion world. But there is one thing I will agree with, “Every color is beautiful.”