To be a model is the secret dream of many, many girls nowadays. But most of them also believe, that you can only work as a model, if you get a job for the next, big fashion show, walking on stage for fashion-designers… Is that true? No – it isn’t. We’ve met Marlies from Austria who got discovered on a class trip a few years ago and now works as a model worldwide – without being on the runway – and with a lot of success.
First of all, tell us a little bit about you!
Alright, my name is Marlies P. and I am 22 years old. And originally I am from Lower Austria, Europe.
How long have you been working as a model and how did you enter the world of modelling? Have you had the desire to model since childhood?
I have been working as a model for about 3 years. I was on the class trip after graduation and someone asked me, if I was interested in modelling. So I thought “sure why not, let´s try”! After that I was with this agency for a couple of months. Working with them was fine, but I didn´t really like the agency. So a bit later in May 2008, somehow through a friend, I joined Stella Models in Austria. Before this all happened, I haven´t really thought about modelling.
How was your start- did it take you quite some time or did you manage to breakthrough straight away?
When I started at Stella Models, it didn´t take long time until starting my first job – of course castings followed, but I quite quickly was being forwarded to agencies abroad and with this I was in the business – and abroad a lot.
How was the reaction of your family when you started modelling – were there any difficulties?
They didn´t make any fuss. They have always supported me and there was no problem, especially because they knew that I would continue studying economy law and that it would have priority. Modelling comes after my studies.
You are from Austria, is that where you have most of your jobs?
I have rather less jobs in Austria, maybe 2-3 times a year. Most of my jobs I get abroad, especially Germany. The market is bigger there and the money a lot better! *laughs* I don´t mind that at all, I like to travel and working with the second agency in Hamburg is a lot of fun!
How does it work with two agencies – do they choose the jobs independently or do you have a say in those matters?
In general most of it goes through my “mother agency” Stella Models in Austria, but it depends on the respective job. I am quite independent though and I also choose which jobs I accept and which ones I don´t.
Tell us a bit about your every day work – is it very hectic and stressful?
No, not at all – because I am just a “part-time model” and I study – it is less stressful than for someone who is just focused on modelling. I do travel a lot, but I don´t stay away for like 3 months, which is common in that business. Because of my studies I just couldn´t do that anyway. I try to shorten the time of those kind of jobs, so I am only away for some weeks, expect where this is not possible such as bigger jobs in New York f.e., where extra effort with f.e., the visa or the like, is necessary.
Do you sometimes cancel jobs?
Sure, for example when I have an exam. The agencies know that and they accept it. They even think it is good when someone has also another priority such as an education. Besides that, from the start on the agency took my whole package – me and my studies! *laughs*
Ok, the interesting part – we can’t see you on the catwalk!?!
*laughs* No, because I am too short – just a few centimetres – but there is enough other kind of productions to be able to work as a model!
As a model do you have a say of f.e. how the picture should look like?
Mh, yes and no. Most of the time the photographers and clients have a precise concept of what they want. But of course it can happen, that if the photographer or I have a special idea, you try this out together. But most of the time you have to abide by the standards.
Have there been shootings where everything went wrong?
Yes, of course! *laughs* It was my first shooting in Germany – and I have never done catalogues before – and the photographer didn´t give me instructions. He didn´t say anything and dozen of times he took a picture with me in the same position. There was no sort of support from him and also the rest of the team was not very friendly – and that can be very tough on a 3-day shoot. The result therefore was not very intoxicating and the feedback from the client and the agency likewise neither. It was my first job and I was making such an impression…*laughs*. But those things happen and it doesn´t have any influence on my current career.
Are you nervous in front of the camera – after all is it not easy to stand in front of so many people and pose?
Yes, sure you are always a bit nervous, especially at the beginning – but you learn to be more confident and independent very quickly with this kind of job. You are on your own most of the time and somehow you grow into all of it with time.
Do you look at your own pictures?
Sure! It is really interesting to see what came out of the work and to see the result is important. Moreover I am very self-critical and when I don´t like a picture, then I know what I can do differently next time. It also happens, that pictures have been retouched that much, that you don´t recognize yourself anymore. But this is part of the business and you have to accept that! *laughs*
Have you ever had a bad experience? You often hear dubious things in the newspaper and on TV about the model business…
Mhh. Not really. For sure there are black sheeps like anywhere else too, but if you are with a professional agency, they check that everything is fine.
Friendship between models – is there such thing?
Well, let´s just say within the model business as a matter of principle you don´t gain friends for life, especially in countries outside of Austria, where the competition is a lot bigger and stronger. Everyone tries to go their own way. You know some or more people, but often you don´t really have time for more.
Do you do sports or do you have to keep diet in order to obtain your figure?
No, I don´t have to diet. I am lucky enough to have the genes of my mum *laughs*! I do sports regularly, but not in a fitness studio or likewise. I go out into the nature, on mountains, and so on…
Last question – what are you planning for the future?
I take pot luck. First I will finish studying and continue modelling – after that let´s see what happens! *laughs*
Marlies – thanks a lot for your time and the interview!
Interview by Emanuel Sprosec