Do you remember back in the days when everyone wanted to be an actress, model, professional football player, a pop star, etc? Because how cool is that lifestyle! All the glitter and the glamour. Nowadays you see influencers and celebrities living their perfect lives on Instagram, but what is really going on behind the scenes?

When I was 17, I got the chance to work as an international fashion model. I have worked for fashion brands like Calvin Klein, Celine, Lacoste, Stella McCartney, and many more. Which gave me the opportunity to travel all over the world. I wanted to share my stories and experiences with you. To share my glamorous and not-so-glamorous life as a model. Let me debunk or confirm some model stereotypes:

Models always stay in luxurious hotel rooms or suits

I think the most common thought of people is that models always stay in fabulous hotel rooms and apartments. I got the opportunity to go to New York Fashion Week, which is the busiest time of the year. After an 8-hour economy flight sitting next to a crying woman that couldn’t speak English, I finally arrived. A girl gave me a room tour of the apartment. Guess what, there were five rooms, two bathrooms and one big kitchen that we had to share with 21 girls! In every room, there were bunk beds. I got a room that I had to share with five other girls. You can imagine that if you live with 21 girls, the rooms aren’t always as cleaned up.

Models are rich and get everything for free

A model’s hourly wage is much higher than someone that works in a supermarket. As a model, I earned between 300 and 1800 euros per job. The thing is, as a model you have to pay for all your flights and hotels by yourself. Most of the time the model agency will pay in advance, but you always have to pay them back. If you are lucky the client books you for a job and will pay the flight and hotel for the model.

I am not going to lie when you are a model you also have some privileges and you get things for free. I had the chance to eat for free at fancy restaurants, go clubbing where we got a private table with free drinks, and had access to rooftop terraces with a swimming pool. But most of the time I was running around the city and had no time or money to do groceries. I had a bag of frozen vegetables and potatoes in my fridge. After a long day at work, I would heat this in a pan, that would be my go-to meal for most of the nights.

Models are always confident

I think most models are insecure about themselves. I once got a casting for Marc Jacobs and it was me together with 400 other girls that were standing in line that wanted to have the job. When standing in that line I was comparing myself to all the other beautiful girls. As a model, you will mostly be judged on how you look and that is super personal. As well that 9 out of 10 times you hear that you did not get the job. This because there is a lot of competition. Eating disorders and a bad self-image are common among models and young girls and is a growing problem. Of course, it is an ego boost when you walk in a big show or earn a lot of money because of your appearance. You have to be confident if your job is standing in front of the camera but overall, I think models are insecure about themselves.

Models don’t like each other and are mean to each other

When you are miles away from home without any of your family and friends you are happy that you have other models that understand you. That is why most models always get along. until this day I talk to girls that I met during my time as a model. They have become my best friends. I have lived with four Dutch girls in a model apartment for three months straight. We did everything together. When someone got rejected we cried together, when someone walked a big fashion show we celebrated together etc. I could not survive without all the models that I have met.

There are always two sides to a story

I can go on for hours about all modeling stereotypes and the experiences during my modeling career. The fun and beautiful parts but also the downsides. In the last couple of years, I learned that it is hard work to be a model. How modeling is portrayed on TV or Instagram is different than real life. There are a lot of prejudices about models that are not true. Remember there are always two sides to a story, so don’t believe everything you see on a ‘perfect’ Instagram feed of a model! Behind the scenes, there is always more going on.