It was the 1950's and I was 15, standing in front of the full length mirror – posing. I posed smiling, not smiling, sitting, standing and with an umbrella. I was copying the models in a magazine and oh how I wanted to be one of them. The only problem was – I was a shy Scottish girl, still in school, who lived miles out in the country. But I could have a modelling dream though, couldn’t I?
The first step.
I moved to London when I was 21 and was standing in Sloan Square watching a lovely model being photographed in front of a bank of flowers. Beside me was a wee Scottish man who said ‘that’ll be you one day hen!’ And I just blushed and said ‘thanks’. Years later – there I was – standing in almost the same place being photographed for an advertisement! My modelling dream had been realised.
The joys of being a house model!
I had taken a job in Margaret Street, the centre of fashion houses in 1960, as a house model. I had no training at all but learned very quickly to arrange the flowers in my beautiful deep carpeted, elegant showroom.
I also learned that I wasn't allowed to speak at all. Just show the range of dresses when asked and say (when asked) ‘no it doesn't itch at all’ and ‘yes – I think it’s beautiful’. Not a happy place.
It was an unhappy showroom; the diva boss/owner (red hair, long orange finger nails) was always losing her temper with the accountant, the tea lady, her husband and anyone else who crossed her path. I stayed out of her way and knew better than to say anything while next season’s garments were being fitted on me. This was not how I had imagined my modelling dream to be.
Back to Scotland.
To cut a long story short – I moved back to Scotland and applied to the three model agencies there. I am slightly small for top international modelling but my chosen agent told me ‘you won’t set the heather on fire – but you’ll be useful.’
She trained me on my footwork – ¼ turns, ½ turns, ¾ turns and I shall never forget practising my full turns for weeks along a line on my sitting room carpet.
I truly wasn’t the best model in Glasgow but I worked on a cruise ship for 17 days, in Harrods, did photography for lots of magazines, and spent a fabulous three weeks working in Bermuda. I did lots of fashion shoots too and got very nervous before big productions because I could never remember 12 different routines! This was all more like my modelling dream.
A kiss on the cheek.
My favourite show, however, was in Frasers, modelling for Philip Sommerville, the Royal Family’s milliner. He chose me as the blond, dressed me all in cream and once when I was at the end of the catwalk – he left the podium, walked down the catwalk, lifted my veiling and kissed me on the cheek! Wow – the highlight of my career I think.
I did lots of ads for television and talk shows – one with David Emmanuel in London
Older models wanted.
I love my work and it actually continued from the 50’s to the present. Just shows that if you want something – go for it, it’s never too late.
And talking to more mature ladies – there is lots of work out there for us – as I say – go and get it – you’re never too old. I have been fortunate enough to be able to follow my modelling dream so could you.
Carole is a model with The Model Team, 180 Hope Street, Glasgow
0141 332 3951
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