Written – mes noms est James, je vis en île de canvey dans le sud-est de l’Angleterre
Like most models; if I’m ever out, trotting down Carnarby street, and someone comes up to me, and ever asks what I do for a living, I nearly never say I’m a model. All of a sudden I become an Actor, or a Dancer or a Helicopter pilot or of course now; a Writer. All be it unless you’re a big casting director or Brucey Webber in which case, Hi I’m James, I’m at select.
Now I think this is, not because we think, that you think, that models have no brain and get everywhere just because of their looks; as clearly this in not always the case. I can even say a few things in German and remember without prompting every single stop on the c2c line between Shoeburyness and London Fenchurch street.
Instead I think it because, everytime you say you’re a model, everyone then automatically assumes, you get lots of free stuff and are a reckless playboy, who gallivants all round the world and who should never be let anywhere near anyone’s daughter.
And it’s just simply not true. I’ve been modelling now since I was 15 and in all that time, all I’ve ever got is a few dirty old pairs of socks that I’ve managed to sneak off a job when nobody was looking.
Or it could be because, as soon as you say you’re a model, its just like saying I’m a big wimp and please don’t hurt me, don’t touch my face.
It’s ok, I admit it, I’m not a fighter. After all how do you think I got into marathon running?
But saying that, I guess I’d like to think for a very small period of time; could pull a scary, “I’m going to eat your head off” face, making them think twice for a split second and then whilst they’re mulling it over, legging it off up the road to find refuge.
Anyway, the other day I was on this job in Hackney in East London. For those of you not familiar with the area, lets just say erm, well I guess. “Up and coming”.
So I turn up for work bright and early shooting some little French catalogue you know, smiling away all day, wearing nasty knitted jumpers, the sort of which, your Great Great Auntie would buy you for Christmas, that would go straight in a draw under your bed never to be seen again, that your Mum would make you phone and say thank you for, along with your lotto scratch card and the £10 hmv voucher. (Granted I have a very generous Great Great Auntie)
So I arrive and go round shaking everyone’s hand; as you do, going though the motions finally meeting the photographer who sort of looks you up and down, putting you all on edge, so your then thinking, “fuck! They’ve booked the wrong model here by mistake” they hate me! They wanted James Crabtree, not James Taylor”, before after what felt like an eternity them giving you a kind half nod of approval before grasping your hand with a firm hand shake and swiftly turning there back to you to go and shout and one there assistances to move a light, “1mm to the left.”
Before I know it, I’m lured away upstairs to the hair and make up area and sat down at this little stall in this dimly lit room and then out of the darkness, the little short French man with big thick rimmed glasses and a tash, who id not seen before comes over to me (minces) and without even saying hello starts pulling my hair and then manoeuvres round in front of me and then starts touching my face. “Oh I forgot to mention during this time, I’m already enduring; which I can only assume, is this little French mans Ipod, player these really weird French songs.” (Loved that )
Anyway, enough was enough, so I thought before this little man messes about with me anymore, I should let him know who’s boss and in my best French accent calling on all my years of learning French at school, I said, “Hello, my names is James and I’m from the Canvey Island in the south east of England.” I thought I’d go all out so chucked that in there as well, you know just for affect.
But it had no response and he carried on playing with my hair and making French sounds at me like nommm, and ehhh.
At this I was a little bemused, but what was to follow, was far worse. You see, I don’t like make up to much and I really don’t like people playing with my hair, that goes for even being in bed; when you know after and the girl reaches across and starts stroking you, I mean maybe if it’s your girlfriend but I’m not a fan. But I especially can’t stand it if I didn’t even get to have the pleasure first.
Now from my past experiences, normally, if your on a job, you have a designated person for make up and a designated person for hair, and what normally happiness is they both look at you and go, he’s a man, lets put minimal amount of make up on him and keep him looking like a man, we don’t need to curl his eye lashes or straighten his hair, or even hint at getting that blow dryer out of the suitcase, “In fact James, here’s some gel, you could probably do your hair better yourself mate, here you go, go for your life.”
But no, not this guy, he was an all in one, all singing, not much saying, French; hair and make up artist and even after my best attempts to try and escape, with all the crazy eyebrows I could throw at him, he was like a man possessed, showering me with foundation, blow drying my hair into an afro before straightening it back, before realising that doesn’t work and gelling it all down slick to my forehead, before it all bouncing back up again.
I wasn’t a pretty sight, but sadly, I didn’t have much say and before I could say, “Garlic”, I was whisked away back downstairs again and straight into action, I looked like a white, “Don King” in a granny sweater, my hair was huge and I had more slap on that a girl on a Blackpool night out
The shoot was going, alright, we had some pie for lunch and I tried to keep my spirits up. So I decided to nip outside down the road to get a bottle of Lucazade. So I trotted off down the street. And down to this little cornershop about a five minute walk away, so I’m walking down the street, and everyone and I mean everyone is giving me funny looks.
So I finally made it to the shop and I thought I would be nice and buy the crew some jelly babies and such like, by now I’ve had a few items, and I’m standing inline waiting to get severed and the little man behind the counter looks up at me as if he’s ready to serve me so I give him a smile and edge forward and go to start putting my items into the basket, when all of a sudden, the big aggressive burley man barges me out the way in his shell suit and asks for a packet of Mayfair menthols.
I didn’t really know what to make of it all really I was a bit taken aback and then the next thing I know, I’ve got this big man in about his fifties in a thick Scottish accent squaring up in my face, spit flying; asking me, “If I have a problem pal??”
“No, No problem here, please carry on” I couldn’t even muster up a second of scary face. As I watched him leave the shop turning round snarling at me. I hurriedly made it back to the shoot. And that’s where I stayed until 5pm when my cab turned up to rescue me.
And this is my problem with the, “All in one hair and make up artists”, you see, he nearly got me killed today as I had stupid hair and was covered I too much makeup and this is solely where I lay the blame for the reasoning of male models keeping it hushed up about what they really do.
You see they all want to get all creative rather than just doing what needs to be down, unlike normal hair people and make up people do, this new bread, of all in ones; feel like they have something to prove, fair enough, if I’ve eaten to much Kentucky that week and have a spot on my nose, by all means please cover it up and if my sideburns need a quick trim that’s all good too, but other than that please, on behalf of every male model out there. Don’t make us look like big girls otherwise, one day we might all turn into one.