It was quite a few years ago, I was fresh in the modelling business. (Although already ‘ancient’ to having started modeling so late).
But I am a late bloomer, so won’t be surprised if I get discovered in my mid to late thirties or who knows in my nighties. Besides, the whole world is now embracing the older woman, the Cougar, Sex In The City, Desperate House Wives, Demi Moore, my sister, my mom (my dad is 7 years younger than her) and the likes. Nobody, well, most healthy people, wants to look at eighteen year old models that by the time they are twenty five they look like they are thirty seven. Todays 40’s is the new 30’s and thirties the new 20’s. We need our children to stay children for longer. The sexual peer pressure in schools are getting out of hand. It is no longer about how good a parent you are. Women are getting fed up in the magazines and fashion worlds that portray as though their lives are all over once they hit thirty, they should be married, and stay at home, have children, no more dreams, its too late. (People have dreams till they are in their nighties, until our last breath we could start a business, piano lessons, singing, acting, etc…) whereas men have been portrayed as the distinguished older gentlemen with grey hairs and a few lived lines. There has been extensive research that there are a fast growing number of men in a slow rebellion revolution whom are fed up with the perfect young girl without the brains and experience that prefer the older women, whom are much more fun to be around, not so boring as their younger sisters and are more healthy conscious and looking after themselves, better company and influence for what a man’s aging bodies need. Great! I have something to look forward to. I am appalled that it is the magazine editors, and moguls, such as an example represented by meryl streep in The Devil Wears Prada, and the likes of Anna Wintour, Emanuelle Alt, whom are much older themselves, although fearfully good at their jobs and brilliant but cannot have the power to put fourth their vision because she dreads that the men financing everything will make her loose her job and replace her to someone who will jump at their request. Hence we still live in a man’s world.
Anyway, back to the dream job that could have launched the beginning of a career for me. I was with Ford models. I was sent to a casting in NewYork, but organized through someone from my agency in Milano. I was to see the man who owned and was the financier of Victoria’s Secret, La Senza, Pink, etc, of the Limited brands. Best mate with the CEO and founder, Mr Wexner.
I was met by a very sweet and kind Ghislaine Maxwell, that I later came to know was the daughter of the mysteriously deceased media titan, whom looked at my photo portofolio and confirmed the casting with the LTD people.
I saw two people and the meeting went very well. Subsequently I came back to South Africa where season in Cape Town was about to start and awaited me. I was chosen to be the next Victoria Secret model. I was flown back to New York, no strings attached and put in my very own apartment for a few days in Manhattan and flown on a private jet to Palm Beach where I was going to meet the photographer.
I was told that I had a better body than the top models already in the campaign, that they had cellulite and drooping breasts, wide hips, etc, that I, at least wouldn’t have to be airbrushed and photoshopped as much and would be better for the catwalks as one of the angels. Also, I got involved with intellectual conversations with the man in charge and he was very impressed, asking me why would I want to do modeling after he saw my art and dancing and that he invested in people, why didnt I come live in N.Y. and study at Julliard?
Anyway, Just before the models arrived, I was made an advance/ a pass. I, being very naive, didnt know how those industries worked, and reacted very badly and offended. and because I didn’t return the sudden ‘affection’, the very next day I was on a flight back to Cape Town.
That incident put me off the modeling world and the whole entertainment industry so badly, that I stopped modeling for two years. In my prime, (however I have been told I look better now than then, and am known as ‘the body’ in the South african modeling industry). It reassured what I had heard and feared.
I thought I could not tell my story to anyone. Who would believe me? That is until a few years later I heard of a documentary about a BBC reporter that went undercover as a top photographer to Milano and exposed the industry there. How much abuse of power goes on.
I am not saying that every top or super model had to go through sleeping with someone to get that job. But it does leave me wondering what most had to do to reach where they are now.
And as for the man who recruited Victoria Secret models, has recently been exposed and jailed for sleeping with under aged girls and is dragging prince Andrew’s name down with him.