FASHION INDUSTRY FACT, ‘No‘ is a word that every fashion model has heard and will no doubt hear more than once (It’s one of the few items on the tiny list of guarantees offered) and when we say every model, we mean every model and just in case you have your doubts….
The one and only Gisele Bündchen found herself rejected from 42 (yes 42!) agencies before being successfully cast in an Alexander McQueen runway show in 1998.
Dutch beauty Lara Stone faced 7 years of rejection before Givenchy handed her, her ‘big break ‘and Joan Smalls was repeatedly rejected from castings because she was ‘too dark’, ‘too small’ and ‘too thin’ and is now one of modellings greatest success stories.
Hilary Rhoda was told repeatedly that she was ‘too curvy’ and ‘too American’ to be a success in the European runway shows but fast-forward to 2017 and who walked in the S/S2018 Runway Show in Paris for Louis Vuitton? Oh yes she did!
Perspective is a beautiful thing but it doesn’t always find itself welcome when you are drowning in what feels like an ocean of ‘no’s and pulling out all stops to make it in this industry. What you need is a strategy for dealing with ‘no’ so that it doesn’t send you into a spin of self-doubt and negativity.
Saying yes to the modelling industry means accepting the fact that aspects of your physicality will be critiqued and your career dependant on it. Learning how to navigate the ‘no’s’ is a critical component of your long term success in the industry so I spoke to Wellness Coach Naomi Berg who has offered us some brilliant advice on this subject, (which I will also be passing on to everyone I know!) so take a break and read on for five key strategies that will help you in the handling of the inevitable and keep your fashion game strong.
1. Have a clear vision and keep your eye on the big picture
It is so important to set a clear vision, your big WHY for being in the industry in the first place.
When you have a clear and detailed vision and can keep focused on the bigger picture, the little speed bumps along the way tend to bruise less. Remember…. Gisele Bündchen… 42 agency rejections. And if you are a bit of a history buff, remember Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When asked, how it felt to fail 1000 times? Edison replied,
“I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
2. Put on your armour! Build your resilience
Spend time working on building a rock solid self-belief that can weather external storms. Investing in your own self-confidence and acceptance is always a safe investment and the returns last a lifetime. Start with a personal accomplishment list, declarations or powerful “I am” statements to reinforce your own sense of self-worth. (Watch Ashley Graham’s affirmation for inspiration) and on the days that may seem the hardest to keep your chin up, make sure you surround yourself with your tribe who can remind you how amazing and courageous you really are.
3. Do your very best not to take it personally
This is a big one, and it definitely takes practice. It’s so empowering when you can separate the “NO, not this time” from “NO, not you”. Remember that any ‘NO” you receive is being delivered through someone else’s expectations, vision, thoughts and beliefs on what is right for the creative brief. Its not (and should never be) and attack on you or who you are.
4.Move the negative energy through expression: (get your dance on!)
The feeling of rejection has a certain vibe; a distinct energy that if not allowed to move through you can leave you feeling stuck, heavy & weighed down. Whether it’s through walking, running, boxing or even a good scream session over the music in the car, the important thing is to vent any negative feelings, rather than holding them in. Exercise is one of the healthiest forms of expression as it has the power to move you physically, mentally and emotionally towards a sense of lightness, renewed motivation and clarity.
5. Practise gratitude and grounding
The fastest way through the forest of rejection is to find something to be grateful for. When you can find a positive in what may seem like the darkest experience, it’s like finding a ray of sunshine.
Gratitude is a practice, but when done consistently allows you to become a master treasure hunter and will keeps you in the fashion game long after others throw in the towel.