Why this top model quit the luxury lifestyle to go to university

As a top model, Greta jetted across the globe — Thailand, South Korea, Italy — to pose with the world’s finest clothes created by the most exclusive designers.

She was snapped by the world’s most famous photographer, Rankin, and was invited to the most opulent parties.

But her unbreakable desire to continue her university studies, and an unwillingness from the industry to accommodate her wishes, eventually forced her to give it all up.

‘[My agency] kept on sending thousands of castings and jobs and calling me ten times a day asking if I can do the job,’ the UCL student tells me.

‘If I said “Sorry I can’t do the job I have a class” they would just hang up on me. Then they would start giving me less and less jobs saying “she can’t do it anyway so why bother?”

Screenshot 2019-11-19 at 09.51.22.png

Runway wizard: Greta was travelling the world as a model

‘They make you feel gross about yourself because you have another life or you want to achieve something or do something else other than modelling.’

Now I know what many people might be thinking: ‘Why should the fashion industry care if their models go to university?’

I ask the same thing.

‘You can be a model for only a few years but you have to care about what you should be doing after that,’ she tells me.

‘Even if you want to continue working in fashion after [modelling] you still need an education.’

So the real issue isn’t ‘what now’ but ‘what next?’.

Buzzfeed worked out that the average retirement age of a Victoria’s Secret Angel is just 28 — a time when many of us are just starting to settle into our chosen career paths.

So the question is a very valid one, and one that some larger agencies are not too fussed about helping their models with answering.

‘One of my friends was doing very well and she was working with one of the biggest agencies,’ Greta tells me. ‘And the agency kept on telling her “Please don’t do uni because we want you, you’re making too much money”. She couldn’t resist.

‘She was unhappy, she started seeing a psychologist. She was making tonnes of money [but] she was just broken inside and last year she decided that she was going to go to university, go as far from London as possible so she wouldn’t get sucked into it.

‘[Now] she is doing absolutely fine, she doesn’t need to see a therapist anymore and her life has really turned around and she’s doing great.’

Screenshot 2019-11-19 at 09.52.01.png

Working hard: Greta is now a UCL student

Greta’s solution was to quit the large agencies and join Model Students, a Nottingham-based agency specialising in work for those who go to uni.

There smaller size allows for a more personal relationship.

Plus, as José Pope, the company’s head agent for London, tells me, the company believes models should be given the chance to achieve their educational goals and prepare for life after the runway.

‘Everyone should have an education if they want it,’ he says. ‘Especially as a lot of companies [require] a degree.

‘If you don’t have minimum a masters, even, it is still really difficult to get a job. So that’s why we’re trying to promote students to carry on with their education while they’re modelling and pursue that as much as possible.’

I ask why some of the larger agencies seem to be against the idea of their models studying at the same time as working.

‘It makes their job a lot easier because that way they know, no matter want, if their client wants them for the next week or a specific day they can just say “yeah, they’re available” and don’t really need to check-in on the models as much,’ he says.

‘It just means for us, it does make our job a little bit harder because we do need to check with each model what they’re schedules are like and constantly have those chats.

‘The larger agencies have these huge clients that don’t want to be left waiting and they need to get back to them really quickly. It’s a fast-paced industry where things can change at the last minute so that’s the main reason.’

And for Greta, the move seems to be paying off.

She tells me: ‘To be honest Jose and Anna [Gray, the founder] have been the best and most understanding managers I have ever dealt with and they are always so nice in dealing with everything. There’s never pressure on anyone it’s been great.’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *