Good afternoon from the tiny European country that is the Netherlands! I’m Imme, 22 years old and passionate about anything creative. I’m almost finished studying English literature and culture, parttime curve/plus size model and aspirant author. I live together with my awesome beardy boyfriend in a tiny house that’s full of books. I like drinking coffee in town with friends, going to concerts and see films, playing with strange cats, Autumn, eating pizza, planning holiday or city trips abroad, and my bed. I believe in feminism and being kind. Imagination is key.
Now you know me a little bit better, let’s start reminiscing stories of the past and create new ones! I was thrown into this strange world that is modelling when I was about 17, signed to a big Dutch agency and started losing weight. As you may know, the Netherlands is a big, big pond full of long-legged, mainly blonde, symmetrically-faced girls, such as Lara Stone (alright, half British), Doutzen Kroes, Daphne Groeneveld, Bette Franke, Bregje Heinen, Saskia de Brauw, Rianne ten Haken, etcetera.
This is the thing: I can’t of course say this for each and every girl, but I don’t think Dutch girls are meant to be superskinny. Hello, we are known for our cheese! The pretty faces of the Dutch are usually happily welcomed into the international fashion world, thought often they are being told the same as what I was told: lose some butt first. At fifteen, you’re not going to say no to this.
How did I enroll into the modeling business? How did I apply? Who did I have an interview with before I got the job? In a way, perhaps there should be something like this: a job interview for aspiring models.
First of all, boys and girls are suggested to dress appropriately, like tiny hipsters. They should name ten designers and for which fashion house they are working. Next, they are to stand in a front of a huge white wall with a spotlight directly into their eyes, which they must not close at any time. Three extras are instructed to come in and pluck the boys’ and girls’ eyebrows and painfully brush their hair in the wrong direction. The boys and girls are to stand in high heels that are too big for them while answering trick questions about their girl- and boyfriends and what they would rate, say, being at home. At the end of this session, in which photographs were taken the whole time, the most unfortunate photo would be shown to the boy or girl with the comment that perhaps their ears aren’t fully symmetrical, do you see?
I am of course kidding, this is an extreme extent of both made up and real details of a day at a photoshoot – yes, make-up artists sometimes don’t seem to know that hair is stuck to a head and that a head can feel pain – but I am all for giving young up&comers a little head’s up. Or would this perhaps spoil the fun of learning how to deal with things as saying no, finding your way into a strange town, working with people that are twice your age and being touched all the time? Growing up happens faster this way and in my own experience, I can say that doing some modeling work next to going to school or uni does feel like living a double life at times.
I think it is important to let young girls know what they’re heading into, especially in this new age where ‘fame’ is number 1 on every teenager’s to-do-list. When I look at these pictures of me, pictures of when I just started modeling, I see a freshness, an innocence, a trait photographers wanted to capture. But that does not mean it should go without a model’s full awareness of what is happening.
So to all girls wanting to start a modeling career: meet some other models, share stories, know that yes, it is supposed to be a job but also fun! The fashion world is now opening up to more shapes and sizes, so if you like your butt, protect it and go into curvy or plus size modeling!