Saturday, March 03, 2012

BLOG TOUR: Me and Modelling by Sophia Bennett

I am very excited to welcome Sophia Bennett on my blog today, on a blog tour to celebrate the release of her latest book, The Look! My review can be found here.

by Sophia Bennett

Later on in this blog tour, I’ll be writing about my relationship with fashion, but for this post, I thought I’d write about my relationship with modelling, and why I chose it as one of the themes in this book.

You’d think, as I wrote a whole series about a would-be fashion designer and her friends, that I’d know a lot about modelling. Well, eighteen months ago you’d have been wrong. I was always interested in the people who designed the clothes, styled them, wore them in real life and even, on occasion, photographed them – but not the people who just stood around while the clothes were chosen for them. They were pampered, vacant pretty faces. They were other people. Modelling was never on my list of career choices.

In July 2010, when a fan of Threads called Lizzie wrote to me and asked for my advice about whether she should consider modelling after school, I didn’t have much to offer. All I knew was that, worst case scenario, you end up alone, in a room with an untrustworthy photographer who asks you to take your clothes off, or surrounded by a bunch of faceless businessmen who are admiring your bikini body for ‘marketing research’. Actually, though, best case scenario: you end up on the cover of Vogue, with a bank account the size of Brazil, speaking five languages. It had happened to a friend of mine. I couldn’t just say ‘Don’t do it’, because she might have a great time. Possibly. But how do you know which way it’s going to go?

The one and only time that I actually tried it was after I’d written The Look (I did it for belated research), when I was photographed with my husband for Good Housekeeping magazine, and, d’you know what? It was a fun experience. The stylist, make-up artist and photographer were all fascinating people, creative and hard-working when they needed to be, fun to talk to the rest of the time. And the food! My goodness we pigged out when we weren’t shooting. You’d think it would all be lettuce leaves and lemon juice, but for the crew, it’s certainly not.

My job that day was minimal and repetitive, mostly consisting of trying not to look cold, waiting for a cloud to go over the sun to give us the right light, or waiting for me to stop giggling because my husband had said something outrageous. It was unstressful and pretty enjoyable. For a morning. For no money. And honestly, nobody asked me to take my clothes off. In fact, they bought racks of dresses from John Lewis for me to try on. Lovely!

But by then I was all grown up, and with no illusions about my model potential, and doing it for a bit of a laugh. On the other hand, thousands and thousands of girls secretly consider modelling – or singing, or acting, or any number of glamorous, cut-throat professions. And they’re not necessarily totally self-confident yet. And they need the money. And they’re not used to managing their timetables and finances, and the hard work and frequent rejection that these careers entail. The more I researched it, the more I wondered: how do they cope?

So in the end, I chose to write about modelling not because it’s glamorous but because, if you try and do it properly, it’s difficult. And because if you start to be successful while you’re still young, it forces you to work out very quickly what your priorities are. And because if you happen to be dealing with complicated family problems at the time, it could escalate them to fever-pitch – which the sort of story I’m always looking for as a writer.

How many other professions give you the chance to put your main character into a bath of fake snakes, in front of a sleazeball with a camera, missing her family and about to make the biggest decision of her life? (Interestingly, one of the few things Kate Moss has said on the subject was that one of her least favourite experiences was having to pose with snakes.)

Many of my writer friends love dreaming up dystopian futures, or paranormal scenarios, or fantasy worlds. I love their stories, but as a writer I’m still busy wondering how we’re supposed to cope in this world. It’s complicated and stressful. Especially if you happen to be an insecure teenager with a bit of a complex about facial hair. And somebody offers you a lot of money to do something you’re not sure about. And your family seems to be falling apart.

So I’m grateful to Lizzie for asking me about modelling and giving me the chance to write this story. And as a result of all my research, if some stranger were to come up to me on Carnaby Street and ask me to be a model – what would I do? Every girl needs to make her own decision. I know what I would say. What would you do?

Sophia Bennett was the winner of The Times/Chicken House Competition 2009 with her gorgeous debut teen novel Threads. Since the release of Threads, Sophia has written two sequels: Beads, Boys and Bangles (May 2010) and Sequins, Stars and Spotlights (February 2011). Her fourth and latest book is entitled The Look and is out now!

You can follow Sophia on Twitter (@sophiabennett), 'like' her on Facebook (, or follow her blog (

Thank you to the lovely Sophia and Tina from Chicken House for organizing the blog tour and letting me participate! Be sure to check out the next tour stop, Bookster Reviews, tomorrow for an exclusive extract from The Look.

And FYI, if a stranger came up to me on Carnaby Street (which would be very unikely. I don't even LIVE in London!) then I'd uh... probably have a little breakdown. And then become a world-famous teen model for a couple of months, tops, until I got bored. LOL.



  1. The Look is amazing!!!! And so is this post! I must admit, modelling is something I would love to do...It looks so fun and glamorous! But I probably won't end up doing it...I'm not really a model sort of person!

    If a stranger came up to me on Carnaby Street asking me to be a model, I would probably say yes! ;)

  2. What a fantastic post! I can't wait to read The Look. Loving Painting With Words, and am a new follower! Mind stopping by my site, too?

    Jessica from Booked Up!

  3. the modeling world has never really intrigued me much. but you make some good points. great post!


Show your love for this post. G'waaaaaaaan you know you want to.

Next Post Previous Post Home