March 27, 2014

The Secret Life of an International Model

By Amy (Interview with Andrea)

So, I have a cousin who is an international model...NBD.  :)

(*photo sources: all from Andrea, with a couple by me.)

Andrea is a couple years younger than me...I grew up hangin out with her and her older sister, Melanie,
playing in my family's treehouse, having sleep-overs, eating delicious food at Grandma's house, and dance partying!  Andrea always let me do her makeup (I LOVE doing other people's makeup!!) and then pose her in ridiculous clothes to take pics, so I have the distinction of producing her first photo shoots...haha! :)

I took this in my family's treehouse!  Isn't that vest awesome?!  Hahaha

Ice Princess! (before Elsa.) A fancy photo shoot with my dramatic makeup...oh my gosh, the blue tear lines kill me! :)
Last November/December Patrick, Hayden, and I stayed with her family for 6 weeks while Patrick had a clinical in Utah.  My son was constantly wandering into her room looking for "Andwia!" and I got to try yoga for the first time, since Andrea is an avid yogi. (I still can't believe I did yoga with her for an HOUR AND A HALF!...I thought I would be bored out of my skull, but it was actually both relaxing and challenging!)

Andrea had her birthday while we were staying with them...
See, it's the world traveler birthday cake!  I frosted the continents!  Haha...did you know that I majored in art and minored in Geography?! 

When we were across-the-hall-roommies, I loved asking her about all of her modeling adventures, since that whole scene is pretty much a mystery to me.  (I don't usually read fashion magazines since they often promote photoshopped, unrealistic versions of beauty, therefore, I'm pretty clueless about the fashion industry!)  It was pretty intriguing to get her "behind the scenes" stories.  Parts sound super fun, but other stories made me totally cool with not being "model material." (in other words, I am not 6 foot and size zero...which Andrea naturally is!) :)  As Andrea told me, modeling is not all good and it's not all bad.  There are many who demonize everything about it, and generalize that every model is anorexic and sick (which isn't true.)  However she is quick to say that the industry isn't all glamourous and that there definitely are some unhealthy expectations.  

After hearing all these intriguing stories, I thought it would be fun to interview Andrea so I could share her thoughts with you!  Here she is!

How did you start modeling?

Being a long skinny girl my whole life, people would always tell me I should be a model.  Only in my dreams did I think it would ever actually happen.  A boy who grew up across the street from me became a photographer and asked if I would model for him.  After that shoot, I knew I wanted to pursue it.

So, how does it work?  Who hires you and how do you get jobs?

I have a different agency in every country I work in.  Companies/clients contact agencies, then hold castings to decide which girl/girls they want to hire.

Are most models part-time?  Cause you take right now, you're working at an elementary school, right?

There are many different types of models.  Personally, I am based out of Utah but don't work as a model here.  Right now, I'm working as an aid in a cluster unit at an elementary school.  I am also a shoot director/stylist for an online retailer.  I usually hire myself as the model too!  When I go to a country to model, (I pay for my airplane tickets) it's full time for 2-3 months at a time.  Some weeks I could work 7 days, some I could work only 3.  It all depends on how many jobs I book.

Where have you traveled for modeling?

I have gotten to work in Korea, China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Australia, Singapore, and Spain.

What do you love about modeling?

I love getting paid to travel around the world!

What do you dislike about modeling?

I don't like when I get told I need to "lose some inches".  I don't like living in an apartment with a bunch of other models.  I don't like people doing my hair and makeup and dressing me all the time.  It may sound glamorous but when it happens multiple times a day it gets really old.

What are the surprising details that people wouldn't know about modeling?

I like to say that being a model is being half celebrity half slave.  Sometimes you have a nice job where you get pampered and treated like a queen, and sometimes you are treated like an animal. ( Usually in Asia)

Wait, what do you mean by "treated like an animal?" 

You are expected to work all day long with no breaks, water, or food.  People constantly talk about you and your flaws, right in front of you, as if you are an object or not in the room.  While they are doing your makeup, they will grab your face roughly and move it around.  They will yank clothes off of you, without caring if they are hurting you.

Yikes.  Anything else surprising?

Something people may not know is that in some countries we get paid to go eat dinner at certain restaurants and party at certain clubs to attract more customers.

Hahaha...oh my heck, that's awesome!

Oh, and it's cool to live with people from all around the world and learn about their cultures.  But, in many model apartments it's crowded and you have different schedules so that makes sleeping difficult at times.  When I was in Indonesia I shared one bathroom with six people... it was interesting.  In Korea I lived in a tiny studio apartment with three girls, I slept on the top bunk.  But the floors were heated, so that was cool!

Do you want to continue modeling? 

NO!  Haha.  It was my ultimate dream to become an international model and I have been doing it for the past 5 years!  I love the experiences I've had but am ready to move on to my next dream.  This year I plan to go on my last few trips and then retire as a model for good!

Thanks Andrea!  Pretty interesting, huh?  And, so you know, Andrea definitely is not just a pretty face...she is an extremely talented violin player and every little kid in our family adores her, including my son.  She nannied for several years, and is basically a baby/kid magnet.  She also kept a blog for several year about her modeling adventures...check it out!  Her writing is fun and there are lots of cool locations and pics!  (

Thanks Andrea for telling us about what you do and giving us a little glimpse into such a mysterious job!  I love to hear about women with all their diverse careers, dreams and's cool to see my cuz fearlessly achieving hers!

Now, here are pics for days...but they are cool, indeed. :)

At the Gucci show in Jarkarta, Indonesia.

Fun pics, huh?  So, what do you think?  Would you enjoy modeling if you had the chance?  I personally would prefer to be the makeup artist, cause I would love doing all that dramatic makeup (it's a work of art!)  And, I am quite jealous of the traveling. :)  But, I wouldn't last long if I was a model, cause I'd probably sock someone in the face if they told me I needed to lose inches...then I'd be fired.  And I'd go eat oreos.  Ha!


  1. Not quite 6 ft and not even close to size zero you crazy haha.

    1. hahaha...oh sorry, 5 foot 11 inches and size 1. :)

  2. She certainly has a very interesting career!! I think that would be quite a way to travel the world. I wouldn't mind getting to have the behind the scenes experience of being made up and dressed and posing for photo shoots. I'm sure I wouldn't be tough enough for the actual job, though!

  3. such a fun experience and interview. Very unique and fun to read. :)

  4. I love this interview! Thanks for sharing!

  5. so interesting! certainly takes the glamour out of it.... I'm glad you shared this. :)

  6. Neat post! Love the pics, esp. the ones you took, Amy! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Fun to hear about the behind the scenes of it all!

  8. how cool! I love reading interviews.. Thanks for sharing this!

  9. My nephew is an international model too. I've heard some of these same things from him. I always thought it was all glamor. I guess not. Kathleen @ Fearlessly Creative Mammas

  10. Thank you for sharing. My son (Kathleen from the comment above, nephew) is an international model. It was fun to compare things from another model's prospective. Very similar stories. He hates being touched all the time too:) Best of luck on your new career!


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