,Ellen Hancock – A Not So Model Life
Looking at the Instagram accounts of models can create a flume of confused thoughts. Trips all over the world, fancy clothes, perfect bodies, photoshoots. Yet… sometimes there seems to be very little in the realm of actual jobs. Or somehow a gals career can go from nothing… to parties… to success. It all seems a little fantastical, a little strange. Girls are getting flown all over the world for parties or vacations. Their lives seem oh so lucky, as if they are the chosen few. Plucked from nothingness into lives that are fancy free, fascinating, and seemingly over-pouring with luxury. People follow these models on IG and they become a certain kind of celebrity.
Yet what I’m about to tell you is that a lot of what you’re seeing on these girls’ accounts can have very little to do with hard work, or even luck in their careers. You’d be surprised about how much of their “success” comes from things not at all work related. Often career success will come, but it is later – spring-boarded from a time in their life when other things were going on behind the scenes that got them to where they are today. Their internet celebrity being first, the thing to bring them attention and the numbers of followers that build commercial success later on. The truth can be awfully shocking.
I guess the best way to verify these somewhat wild conclusions of mine is to tell you a little of my own story. When I first moved to Los Angeles several years ago a vaguely close model friend of mine invited me on one of these Vegas trips she had recently started going on. A free flight to Vegas, free hotel suite at a swanky casino on the strip, free model dinners, drinks, and VIP access to clubs. Absolutely everything was pre-arranged by a club promoter she had somehow met. She told me I might even make a little money – that some of the girls would sometimes accompany clients to poker tables towards the end of the night, and occasionally would get handouts or have bets placed on their behalf. Wow. Of course I wanted to go! In all of her pictures the trips looked amazing, and she assured me it was all legit, safe, and fun. She sent pictures of me to the club promoter who was putting the trip together and I got approved. We were off!
The trip was everything she promised it would be. We had an awesome time, with only a few minor downers. Everything was definitely pre-arranged and luxe, yet we were also expected to keep up the party. Wearing huge heels all night can only be pain-free for so long. On a couple occasions while trying to take a break and sit down one of the club promoters would come over to us and sternly tell us to get up. My friend told me that was normal and to just to try to keep it up. We were also told to always have a drink in our hands. I was so excited to be there, we let it slide and had fun. The dinners were delicious, the hotel was cushy, and the novelty of being in VIP was legitimately exciting.
I wound up going on several Vegas trips, a club night in LA, and even a random party on Alcatraz island. They were all set up roughly the same, with everything provided. Though the more and more trips I went on, the more and more the novelty would wear off. Things I hadn’t noticed before started to creep into my eyesight as I became wiser to everything that was going on. After a couple trips it became quite evident that our value as “atmosphere” was not very high. We were readily replaceable for the most part, and often we were treated with very little respect. The promoters themselves were usually quite kind, but the club owners and clients were womanizers at best, and often spoke down to us, yelled at us, and shuffled us around like props. It didn’t matter how you were feeling, you were expected to keep up with the party schedule and look happy. Being treated that way gets old pretty quick when you’re a person with self respect.