Becoming a model. With Kitty Underhill
Modelling is one of the top 5 ways to get your foot in the fashion industry, but it doesn’t come with a clear set path. With a clear cut between becoming the face of everything in the name of celebrity privilege, to the rise of social media influencers who have impacted a community and are called to the stage by their thousands of loyal followers; we decided to ask UK based model, Kitty Underhill, about what it’s really like getting into modelling and making a living from it.
Scrolling through Kitty’s Instagram reminded me that normal women with perfectly curvaceous bodies exist – I can’t be the only one struggling to fit into the high street sizes. Kitty calls herself an ‘inbetweenie’ model – not quiet plus size, but not the standard body shape the industry tends to look for; even though her images remind me of women I see daily and think nothing of their look – yet their representation online is often slim – isn’t that strange? As we welcome the rise of models with a voice, who stand for a cause, we asked Kitty what it’s like to start out as a model, and here is what she had to say:
I’ve been modeling since
University. I have been modelling properly for 3 years, but did it on and off when I was at university.
Planned or mistake?
I actually fell into modelling by mistake! I never thought I could model because I never saw a model with my body type. I am an actress so applied to be in a music video whilst at university to get footage for my showreel. To my surprise, they asked me to model their new range of t-shirts – I thought they had got the wrong person! I was nervous, but I went and loved every minute.
I decided to continue it
Coincidentally, I was asked by a photographer to do a test shoot on one of my acting casting profiles. From there I thought that it was time for me to do this as I really enjoyed it!
The big gap I saw
As I modelled more and more, I kept seeing that there was a gap in representation for people who had my body type in the modelling world. This fuelled me even further to keep modelling as I think that representation is key to helping people feel better about themselves and their bodies. In my career I make sure to spread body positivity and body confidence wherever I can. So, in the end, my modelling career became about more than just me, but about helping people accept themselves and their bodies.
Biggest life lesson learned
To trust my instincts – if something feels weird or fishy, it most likely is. I have also learnt (though on some level I knew this already) it is paramount to be lovely, friendly, and stay humble.
You should make the most of
The experience! Being on a shoot is so fun, and meeting new people is fantastic too.
Don’t be afraid to set your own rates when people ask to shoot with you!
Note to newbies and freelancers
Kitty gave tips to anyone who is about to enter the world of modeling. We asked her what to look out for when you are new to this but most importantly is it easy to get paid? She admitted that it certainly isn’t easy to get paid! At the beginning you will have to build up your portfolio, which means doing free shoots. Once you get signed to an agency it’s easier to get paid. She then added that since she’s a model that doesn’t quite fit into straight size or plus size she found it difficulty to get signed, instead she took on work as a freelancer. The beauty of living in the world of social media and technology is the ability to create a portfolio and run with it following rejection. Here are 3 things Kitty warned to watch out for as a newbie to modelling:
- – Don’t be afraid to set your own rates when people ask to shoot with you!
- – Watch out for agency scams. Any agency that makes you pay to shoot is not a legitimate agency! I went for a shoot with an agency and they said I could only get signed if I paid around £1,000 for a portfolio! THIS IS A SCAM. Agencies will never make you pay for a portfolio.
- – If a photographer is asking you to do something you’re not comfortable with, or is pushy with you, or inappropriate, don’t shoot with them!