Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Life at Uni carried on in a blur of rehearsals, theatre productions, some class attendance and plenty of socials. Every night was spent with friends, whether it was just my roommate and I chilling at home, listening to Smashing Pumpkins while we avoided doing our homework or big nights out in one of the many bars and clubs catering specifically for the student population of our University town.

After escaping from the now ex-Bad Boyfriend’s prescriptive clutches, I’d acquired a wardrobe consisting overwhelmingly of mini skirts and mini dresses, with my dark Gothic vibe reserved for evenings out when I’d boast black minis with sky high black rubber platform boots and my Dad's leather jacket. What I wouldn't give for some pics of this time?

One Saturday my two best friends and I escaped our small town to go mall trawling in the city. I can’t remember if we were even there for a specific purpose, but amongst other things, we used a photo booth to capture this tiny image.

Jewel, Modelmental, Nightingale. Little did I know what a meaningful day we’d captured.
And I do realise I look more like a shiny happy little raver than a deep and disturbed Goth, but somehow I managed to be both, depending on the time of day and type of activity!

As we were about to leave, I noticed a pretty, petite lady a few steps ahead, who kept looking back at us, then walking on again. I wondered if she knew me, or if we’d been loud or obnoxious, since she kept looking back. Eventually she stopped and waited for us to catch up to her. “Would you be interested in modeling?” she asked me, studying my face as I considered my answer. I stammered something affirmative and she gave me her card, all the while assessing me, checking out my height and build. Eventually she seemed to nod at herself and told me to come see her in the week. The card simply said Metka, Scout Models Cape Town.

I’d been down this road before so I wasn’t exactly overjoyed at the opportunity. I also hadn’t heard of Scout Models so I wasn’t impressed as I’d been with Mulligans before. I’d just had a really good day hanging with my girlfriends and this compliment was a nice little cherry on top.

During the next week I called Metka and borrowed Nightingale’s car to drive into the city to meet with her. I’d gone to some trouble doing nice hair and make-up, borrowed a dress and put on high heels. Scout was a small office on a main road, nothing too impressive, but not too shabby either. I started off by telling Metka about my earlier attempts at modeling and how I really didn’t want to waste her time or my own. I was very busy at Uni sixty kilometers away and had to beg and borrow cars for transport. She said it’s fine; it would take time to get me started anyway, why don’t we just start putting a portfolio together and see what happens.

Before we ever got round to organizing a test shoot, Metka called me with some big news. Her agency was being bought out by Storm, a major London agency owned by Richard Branson. They were opening a branch in Cape Town, Kate Moss was flying in with Mr. Branson for the launch and the whole industry was excited about what this meant for Cape Town’s relatively small, fledgling modeling scene. I had to go for an interview with Storm, as they were only taking on a selection of Metka’s models, mostly children.

I knew this was big, but as I’d had such a hit and miss history in this crazy business, I tried not to raise my expectations. I borrowed Nightingale’s trusty old Honda and drove into the city once more. The Storm offices consisted of one big open plan space with six bookers on computers with headsets. Behind the bookers the wall was covered in their models’ composite cards. I teetered into the open in a high-waist pencil skirt and heels, hair slicked back into a ponytail in an attempt to look nonchalant.

Storm Models

Debbie was in charge of the New Faces division and called me over. As I had no pictures yet, I could only present myself, and shyly explained that Metka had sent me.
Debbie removed her headset and stared me down with narrowed eyes. She asked me to take a step back and do a 360 degree turn. I did this, shaking with the effort of trying to look elegant. She folded her arms and gave me another look up and down.
“I like this girl. Hey, Michelle?”
Michelle (I’d later figure out that she was the big boss) glanced over at me and carried on working. So Debbie just continued talking to herself.
“Yes, I think I like you. Have a seat.”
I sat back down and Debbie took my details and my measurements while one thought and one thought only raced through my mind: I was joining the same agency as Kate Moss!


DT said...

Oh my word how wonderfully exciting! Your heart must have thumped like mad in your chest. Talk about being at the perfect place at the perfect time! I can’t wait to hear more!

Julia (Color Me Green) said...

what a cliffhanger! how very exciting. and too bad there aren't any pics of your goth time.

Being Brazen said...

That must have been such an awesome day!

Ruby Slippers said...

How fab! Oh, and I can't believe there are NO pictures of your goth time. Tell your friends to go through their old negatives.

Cate Subrosa said...

Squee! I'm so excited for you, even now! :D

Marie said...

OMG! I can just imagine how excited you must have been. What a break!!

po said...

I am enjoying your model story, looking forward to the next installment!

Hannah Noel said...


Brunhilda said...

I would have liked to have seen the boots. I had a thing for boots too at that phase in my life. Very exciting tale :)

ansie said...

you do know how to get us excited!

Fort bonifacio condo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
boracay island Philippines said...

It’s a fabulous outfit, I love it.

Modelmental said...

DT, after all my miss-starts, the perfect time & place theory makes sense. Things will happen as they must!

Julia & Ruby, I've been bugging friends for older pictures but alas, before digital people only took photo's for special occasions! And poor students, hardly ever. Terrible, isn't it? Believe me if I find any, I'm so posting them!

BB, it was a great day though I had no real concept of how life-changing at the time! Just think, today could've been a life-changing day but we won't know till later? Weird!

Cate, Marie & Hannah, you ex-bridal blog buddies are the sweetest! I almost get excited in retrospect? If only I'd truly known at the time that it was a rather big deal!

Po, that's a great compliment coming from you! I'm a silent stalker of spindrifting seamonkey!

Brunhilda, I went looking online for similar boots but nothing like it anywhere! The closest ones are those truly tall rubber platform goth ones, mine were a bit more tame!

Ansie, aw shucks, blush.

Boracay island, bugger off spammers!

Anonymous said...

You really had an exciting life, and still manage to sound so down-to-the-ground, being able to laugh at yourself!