Commercial models and their clothes

One of my least favourite questions nowadays is ‘so what do you do for a living?’ It is certainly not because I’m embarrassed or ashamed by my answer, but it’s more that there is a high chance of this question being asked in the school playground or gym changing room. You know those times when you’re looking far from glamorous and you can visually see people look you up and down and compare you to Gisele Bündchen! Therefore, to save my blushes, more often than not, my generic answer is that I work in marketing. 😉

Many people are unaware of the whole side of commercial modelling, so make assumptions based on the fashion modelling that they have seen on the tv and Britain’s Next Top Model!

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The purpose of a commercial model is to enhance the product, make it come to life, allow it to be seen in its real environment and show the lifestyle of the people ‘around’ the item. We’re not there to be the ‘face’ of a product like a fashion model, we should not overpower what we are there to sell nor should we take attention away from it and generally, we should represent an aspirational, but attainable, average person. Chances are, that on a daily basis, you will see many commercial models in magazine and street advertising and in television adverts, yet you wouldn’t recognise or be able to name any of them!

The next question I’m often asked is, ‘do you get to keep the clothes?’ To which I generally reply, ‘yes, because they are mine!’

The fact is that when you’re a commercial model you are expected to provide suitable clothing for your jobs. Once you are confirmed for a role you will be sent a brief giving you details of the wardrobe that you are expected to provide, how they would like your hair styled and, if necessary, what kind of make-up look to create. To be fair, this is generally a nice, natural, day look. Not too heavy!

What a client doesn’t want is that your clothing detracts from or gives the wrong impression of the product. Therefore, if a potential customer is more attracted to your clothing, jewellery or make up over the product that you are helping to sell, then the campaign could fail!
Scotts

So let me tell you a story. I started modelling just under two years ago and the first thing that I had to sort was some images for my portfolio. Cue a quick trip to Modelcamp HQ one frosty winter’s morning (unfortunately before their Fuerteventura days).

A couple of days earlier, Lewis had provided me with a list of the kind of thing to bring, so I cobbled a variety of outfits together to take with me. However, it very quickly became apparent that my personal style was not totally aligned with the commercial world as Gary rifled though hangars laden with All Saints leather jackets, trousers and a whole host of black and grey. Needless to say that his stylist skills were put to the test as he struggled to put suitable looks together, declaring that I need to get myself some colourful Primarni!

It was a steep and sharp learning curve, but I very quickly realised that what I like to wear in my own time is not going to cut it on a commercial shoot. So much so, that I now have a separate cupboard full of my work clothes that I never open for my personal life, yet they are client approved and that makes for easier packing! My work wardrobe is like a costume; it helps me to become the character that I am employed to play, be that a friend, mum, wife, tourist, or office worker.

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If you’re new to commercial modelling, here are my 7 top tips for putting your work wardrobe together:

  1. You may have to potentially lose your personal style when you’re on a job, but you are being employed for your look/face/body so don’t get a strop on! When you’re being employed as a new mum, turning up expecting to wear your leather mini skirt and crop top is just not going to happen, no matter how good you look in it!
  1. Lots of briefs include ‘no stripes, big patterns and logos’
  1. Put together a selection of the following kind of thing:

Women

– smart, darkish jeans
– cream, smart trousers / chinos
– white jeans
– white / grey long sleeved t-shirt
– plain t-shirts of various colours – neutral, pastel and bright
– range of plain knitwear – neutral, pastel and bright
– an office suit (as this is more expensive, I only buy one as needed!)
– a couple of summer and smart dresses
– knee(ish) length skirt
– age appropriate gym/sports wear
– plain coloured one piece swimsuit
– nude and black underwear, strapless bra
– a trench coat, outdoor jacket, smart coat
– collect some smart and woolly scarves/winter hats
– keep a range of costume jewellery together / belts
– black ballet pumps, clean white pumps, beige and black heels

Men
Similar to the above, with the obvious exceptions

– a nice suit
– smart jeans & trousers
– a couple of smart shirts with co-ordinating ties
– polo shirts in different colours
– couple of pairs of casual trousers and/or chinos – navy, beige
– smart shorts and swim shorts
– T-shirts (white, black, a few colors, no logos)
– couple of smart jumpers
– black/ brown smart shoes, casual/boat shoes, trainers (minimal branding)

Obviously don’t feel that you have to go out and buy all this straight away and bankrupt yourself! See what kind of jobs you get in and build up the most appropriate for your roles!

  1. Once you know what you need, you don’t need to spend loads on the clothes. Pop to H&M, Matalan and Primark etc.
  1. Ensure that what you take is clean, ironed and polished, especially if you’re on film as it cannot be retouched later. Even if it’s a photo shoot, no photographer is going to thank you for the extra time they have to spend in post production photoshopping your dirty shoes!
  1. Don’t forget to remove your jewellery/watch unless asked to wear it.
  1. Avoid current high fashion items. You are meant to reflect a ‘real, attractive person’ Also, if you’re lucky, the client may want to use the image again (nice usage/buyout?) but they won’t be able to if your outfit is particularly dateable.

So there you have it. You’re all now prepped, primped and perfectly ready for your next job! Those of you who have been doing this a while, what have I missed? What are your must have, wardrobe essentials and top tips?

Good luck!
Katie xx

The ageing face of marketing

 

Marketing. There’s no avoiding it. You simply can’t do much in this life without being faced with some image or other enticing us, or showing us, just how good our lives could be if only we purchased said product.

Personally, I’ve been on many sides of the marketing game. As a consumer, I’m compelled to eat cake after a gorgeous Insta post or want to up my watch game after spying some pretty rose gold number in a magazine. I have also worked in various marketing roles in my life, looking after campaigns aimed at getting you lot to drink more in your favourite bar, aspiring you to buy a Bentley or simply finding your next role through an excellent recruitment agency. Finally, and more recently, I’ve jumped career and become a commercial model. For those of you unsure of its meaning, basically, you’ll never see me on the front cover of Vogue but it’s highly probable that you’ll find me on the front of a B&Q kitchen catalogue 😉

Now, perhaps it’s something to do with passing 40, but all of a sudden some advertising campaigns have started to grate on me. You know the ones aimed at verging-on-middle-aged-me that use a fresh faced, 19 year old model? The age fighting eye serums shown on a woman without a single, tiny claw on her crow’s feet? Or the expensive loungewear catalogue aimed at over 40s-disposable income ladies, yet modelled by the lovely 23 year old? Yes, those ones!

Now, I have nothing against aspirational marketing. It’s the whole point of it after all. We all aspire to a bigger, better, faster, stronger and occasionally younger version of ourselves and if we want to put our faith in that new gravity defying mascara (knowing full well that we have short, stubbly lashes), well we jolly well can.

However, I honestly think that some marketeers are missing a trick by not using more age appropriate models, particularly where there is a definite demographic; and this applies to all ages! 40 year olds modelling mobility furniture aimed at 70+ must be frustrating for them too.

Let’s take mother of the bride outfits as an example. In an era where the average age of a bride in the UK is over 30, most mother of the brides are going to be over 50. So why are many of the clothes modelled by tiny under 30 year olds? I recently heard one Love My Dress bride say that her mum found the whole experience demoralising because of the unrealistic images in the boutiques showing her how she should look in that outfit. And we all know that we are highly less likely to buy something if we’re feeling crap about ourselves!

Dare I be so bold as to mention older ladies modelling lingerie and swimwear? A quick online search of some of the UK’s favourite underwear sellers confirms what I thought – that there isn’t a model over 30. Maybe 32 at a push; even those advertising granny bras (not being rude, but you know what I mean!) Now, underwear modelling is obviously not for all us mere mortals, but have you seen the figures on some women over 40?! Flipping heck, they’d give that Victoria’s Secret lot some competition in the sexy stakes and would a 55 year old lady get a better idea of how her potential new bra or swimsuit is going to look on her by seeing it on a gorgeous, aspirational, older model? Hell yeah!

Personally, I do feel that things are starting to change (albeit slowly), particularly in lifestyle images. After all, I wouldn’t be employed if some companies weren’t looking for 40+ models. Moreover, model agencies have expanded and sprung up solely to promote a range of ‘classic’ models; be they curvy, sexy, grey haired, silver-fox-like, quirky, short or skinny (and everything in between) so there are obviously interested companies and clients out there – and to them I say yay! However, when it comes to high end and designer fashion, using an older model seems to be done only to shock, go viral or grab the headlines, rather than the norm. Particularly for women.

Yes, we all know that men definitely get away with getting older more easily than women, who are meant to desperately hold onto their youthful looks or risk being resigned to the scrap heap and traded in for a younger model. Now, with the likes of Botox and fillers, it’s easier to keep those wrinkles at bay for a while longer. However, for those who don’t want to indefinitely inject the unknown into their faces, they will potentially look older and more haggard than ever! I once did a job for a new American, skincare brand and when the owner saw my forehead lines, he was fascinated as “no one has wrinkles in LA anymore!”

We want inspirational, beautiful yet real women, full of life, fun and passion. This is not the 1970s; people do not don the brown slacks and look old by the time they are 35. However, I do believe that we lack, gracefully ageing, role models. If we were to be asked to name some aspirational, older celebrities, I’m sure we’d all go for the same few women – Helen Mirren, Dame Judi Dench and Twiggy. Where are all the others?!

Importantly, it’s not all about turning back the clock and looking younger, it’s about embracing where you are now and it’s about looking and, more importantly, feeling great at every stage of life. I would never go back to being 20, even if some magic unicorn offered me the chance. I am at my happiest and most confident right here, right now and I would love the marketing world to realise that. I am not chasing some long faded youth and I’m not about to hang up my style or my Zara/All Saints addiction, nor swap my jeans for linen chinos, a twin set and pearls.

Finally, the salt-and-pepper and silver grey pound has the biggest clout on the market. We are BIG consumers, miss out, or alienate us, at your commercial peril! I believe that even in the make-up and beauty sectors, traditionally a real youth market, we are now the biggest spenders. However don’t read this and think that we are all desperately trying to hold onto our youth and slapping expensive, useless creams on our face in a vain attempt to look 25 again. It’s just about making the best of what we’ve got and what we’ve got is actually pretty damn good!

Kevin Lavery, the vice chairman of the Mature Marketing Association, says: “The fact is we are an ageing society. But that’s not the thing – the older demographic controls the world and it is becoming apparent to so many companies, because 80 per cent of the UK’s wealth is held by the over-50s.”

So I appeal to designers and marketing directors out there; please target us older lot appropriately and tap into more real beauties that truly represent your target demographic and beyond. Far from potentially putting people off your brand, it’s pretty much guaranteed to have us ladies flocking to it!

I, for one, as a massive consumer of pretty-much-everything you care to market to me, would most definitely love you for it.

Katie xx

 

I would like to thank all the mature simply beautiful models for volunteering to send along some of their images to be featured in this blog post. I hope that this tiny selection illustrates just how beautiful older ladies are.

What do you lovely readers think? Have I got this all wrong? Do most of you want to see more age appropriate models or do you prefer to see someone 20-40 years younger because they look better? I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment below.

Me & make up after 40

So I’m a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to make up. In fact, up until about 18 months ago I called myself make-up phobic! A slight exaggeration I suppose, but I was most certainly fearful of orange cake face. It definitely started around the age of 15 when fellow classmates started slapping on the foundation three shades too dark, leaving a tide line around the jaw line. I knew that I was never going to risk looking like that so avoided foundation for about the next 25 years.

My idea of a made up look, is more what most women (especially today’s younger women) would wear to pop to the loo – simply – the all important, under eye concealer, a brush of bronzer, a pinch of blusher, a little sweep of eye liner and a touch of mascara. Et voilà! I’m ready to face the world. If you’re lucky, I may even add a smidge of natural lipstick or lip balm.

And then I changed career and, in 2015, became a commercial model and was expected to do most of my own make up for jobs. Shock horror! My above skills were simply not going to cut it and I was going to have to overcome my fear of foundation pronto.

Luckily I met a couple of professional make up artists early on and grilled them on the products they were using and essentially just bought the lot and continue to follow a simple formula to create the natural look requested by most of my clients. So far, everyone has been happy with my work, so I must be doing something right!

However, I’m always looking to learn and I’m fascinated the sheer range of things out there to highlight, illuminate, camouflage, accentuate and possibly totally change the look or shape of your face, that is, if you’re blessed with the right skills 😉

I’m obviously not, so I enlisted the professional skills of Allison Tye to have a little experiment with, and ask her advice about make up after 40. Allison is a freelance make up artist, working across the Midlands, specialising in bridal and special occasion looks.

Allison took a bare faced me from nothing to natural, then to a bolder, possibly evening look (that was a little bit of a bold look for me but it’s good to test the water and see what you think!)

The full list of products used is listed below along with any high street equivalents.

While she was working away I asked her some questions…

What are your top tips for women over 40?

  • It’s all about the preparation. Moisturise and prime your face before you apply any make up. Your make up is guaranteed to look better.
  • It’s important to find the right base.
  • Look for illuminating products and those that contain light reflecting elements.
  • Don’t use anything too thick, heavy or matt as these are ageing. You don’t want it sitting in, and accentuating, those wrinkles 😉
  • Don’t be afraid of colour – it’s youthful and brings colour to your face that loses its natural colour as we age.
  • Change your make up colours with the seasons as the light changes, particularly lip or eye colours
  • If you have thin lips avoid, dark, matt lip colours
  • Invest in a good set of brushes
  • If you have brows (i.e. didn’t pluck them to death in your earlier years!!) always brush them up to lift the face

Are there any definite things to avoid at our age?

  • A matt, heavy base. An illuminating, dewy look is much more flattering
  • Too much powder
  • Move away from the colours you used 10 years ago
  • Don’t be afraid of using a lip liner but make sure that it matches your lipstick
  • If you have hooded eyes, stay away from harsh black liners; grey, plum and brown are much more flattering
  • Glittery eye shadow is a no no as it just sits in all our creases!

What advice would you give to those in a make up rut?

Don’t be afraid to use online tutorials – Charlotte Tilbury, Lisa Eldridge and Pixiwoo have all released videos aimed at 40+ make up looks.

How best to prepare you skin for make up

  • Moisturise according to your skin type
  • Smashbox photo op under eyes to help your concealer. If your eyes are getting a little wrinkly, this will help to spread the product more easily.
  • If you have time, (so we’re not talking a school run quick fix!) use other products under your make up – illuminating, primers etc

You’ve no time to take all your make up off for an evening out so what’s the best way of changing your look from day to night?

  • Change lipstick to a deeper colour
  • Using a bit darker colour on your eye
  • Add a touch of shimmery eye shadow
  • Add more eye liner
  • Add a few individual lashes

Products used to create these looks
Neither of us are affiliated to any brands so these are all genuine recommendations from Allison’s make up kit

Face
Budget to splurge?
Base BB cream Estée Lauder light
Estée Lauder double wear concealer light

Prefer to spend less?
Rimmel London BB cream
Rimmel London wake me up concealer

Cheeks
Budget to splurge?
Charlotte Tilbury films star bronze & glow
Nars blush in Orgasm

Prefer to spend less?
W7 Hollywood bronze & glow
Revlon powder blush 003

Eyes
Budget to splurge?
Charlotte tilbury colour chameleon pencil in Bronze Garnet (this looks amazing with green/hazel eyes!)
Mac paint pot in Indian Wood
Estée Lauder sensuous extreme mascara in black
Mac gel eyeliner in Blackout

Prefer to spend less?
NYX eye pencil in Bronze
Maybelline colour tattoo paint pot in On and On Bronze
Maybelline gel eyeliner black
Rimmel London scandal eyes mascara

Lips
Budget to splurge?
Tom ford lipgloss is Rose Crush
Charlotte Tilbury in Secret Salma
Night Lancôme lipstick in Rose Rhapsody

Prefer to spend less?
Revlon colour used matt balm lip in Standout

Next time, we’re going to look at an in-a-rush-10-minute-make-up-look but if you have any other suggestions as what you would like us to feature or have any questions, please do leave a comment below.

Have a beautiful day, whatever you have on your face!

Katie xx

 

You can connect with Allison on Facebook, Instagram and her website
She is available for makeup lessons, parties, occasion makeup & bridal

Who needs the Coca-Cola truck?

Client: British Garden Centres
Director: Matt Woodruff
Production: White Noise
Agency: Face

Apologies. Since starting the blog, life has been super busy. Generally really good busy – loads of work and holidays. A lovely summer full of fun. Along with a fair scattering of life’s general shite, not leaving much time for blogging 😉 So I thought it was about time that I posted a little update here.

I’m a definite believer that Christmas should stay within its twelve days in December, unfortunately most of the western world feels that it should start creeping in sometime in August, while we’re still slipping on our shorts and enjoying sweet, homegrown strawberries.

However, last month I was transported to a magical winter wonderland to film a new TV ad for some amazing garden centres. For some, Christmas starts once they’ve seen the Coca-Cola ad, but if you live in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, apparently there’s a rival in the form of British Garden Centres’ Christmas commercial.

I warn you though – should you choose to visit one of their amazing Christmas wonderlands, you won’t leave empty handed. I came away with a big box full of festive pink and silver pretties. And watch out for the handsome little lad playing my son. He was as charming as he was cute!

To view the ad click here

 

Oh so proud…

Client: University of Hull Business School
Photographer: Nick Eagle
PR company: Jaywing PR
Make up artist: Leanne Shaw (the best eye shadow blender in the west!)
Agency: DK Models

The brief for this job was to look proud and oh so quietly confident of the achievements I have made.

This was a striking campaign consisting of six different models photographed individually against a colourful background. Photographer, Nick is a brilliant portrait photographer (ssshhhh, I didn’t know this before I met him for this job! I’ve since cyber stalked his gallery and thought it was amazing.) so he was obviously the perfect man for the job.

The images have been used across a range of promotional materials and online.

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Hi, I’m Katie Isles :)

 


So a couple of weeks ago I popped off to London on one of my, now weekly, jaunts to meet Andy from Pout Clips and record a little promo vid. The thing is, often your photos don’t look exactly like you on a normal day but this video is just that! Me and just my own make-up, a blank space and a camera.

Luckily Andy has loads of photographic and video experience and turned my silly moments  into this little clip.

For someone who has never done an all-about-me video before, it was a little cringey to watch at first but after some brutally honest mates allowed it to be shown in public, it’s now there for the world to see.

So, clients, what you see here is what you get!
(Although feel free to tell me to rein in the mad dancing!) 😉

 

Casting today!

Hello everyone!

Today I was lucky enough to be invited to cast for a TV commercial for a well known online fashion retailer. I was super chuffed as this is rather exciting for quite a newbie model.

It was also great timing as over the weekend I went to London to attend a casting workshop with two of the capital’s top casting directors, Tree Petts and Lou Clouter. The workshop was brilliant, reassuring and informative. I received some great feedback so I was eager to try out my skills asap!

So I drove for nearly two hours,
found studio √
arrived early √
had hair band on wrist √
natural make-up √
dressed as per the brief √
held a power pose for two minutes à la Amy Cuddy – no! (couldn’t find anywhere private to look silly – haha!)
and went in!

I was in the casting for approximately 7 minutes and then I drove the nearly two hours home. Thinking most of the time about what I shoulda, coulda done! How I would ‘do better next time,’ ‘think of it as a learning experience’ and the loudest voice of all ‘what an idiot! You can do so much better than that.’ 😦

We’ve all been there. Any fun tips to stop beating myself up greatly appreciated.

I resorted to Snapchat and gave myself some extra starry sparkle and some alien eyes!!

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So here’s to the next casting!!

Love, Katie xx

Scotts of Stow

Client: Scotts of Stow
Photography: Loop Photography
Agency: PHA

Back in November I was invited to shoot for Scotts of Stow’s summer catalogue. While the shoot took place on a cold and rainy autumn day, in a very cold studio, I was modelling a foldaway bike in my bright, summer clothes. They had hoped that it could be an outside shoot but the weather gods were against us…big time! So instead I had to balance on a stationary bike. Good job I love pilates and could engage that core!!

Unfortunately I will always remember that first shoot, not so much for laughing and balancing on the bike, but more for driving home and finding out that my mom had cancer. That two hour drive home in the pouring rain (and tears) was the longest of my life. 😦 Luckily, by the time the catalogue was published, things were looking a little more positive for my her!

The Loop team are a fabulous bunch of lovely people to work with and I’ve since been back several times to work on the autumn 2016 catalogue, modelling everything from leaf blowers to filing cabinets. And pillows. I love modelling pillows by the way, if anyone else wants an *experienced* pillow model! The weather has also improved since that first job too as you can see in one of the photos below. (Most work shots are still to go live but there are a couple of behind the scenes images!)

Thanks so much to everyone involved xx

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Behind the scenes in a cosy jumper
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That bike photo! 🙂
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Such a tough job, but someone has to do it!
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A beautiful location to blow autumn leaves on a spring day

Scotts

 

Back on the catwalk

Client: Incorporate Wear & Jeff Banks
Location: Luton
Hair & make-up: High Definition
Fellow models: Emma Cargill, Abbey Saunders, Leanne Street, Lee White, Luke Boyden & Manveer Sohal
Agency: Alan Sharman

I really loved this day.
1. Because I luuuurve the catwalk!
2. Because I got to spend the day with a great group of models and now want to be Emma’s new auntie.
3. I got to meet Jeff Banks. Those of you old enough to remember The Clothes Show on BBC1 on Sunday afternoons will understand 😉

Can’t wait to get back on the catwalk again! Give me a shout if you’re looking for a model for your show.

Pics of the actual show are not available but here are a couple of behind the scenes images of the lovely bunch! Oh and no, I’m not trying to pick pocket the dapper Mr Banks!!

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