BEAUTY AND THE BACON
Fay L.Bacon: owner and creator of UK Model Folios
At just 23 years-old Fay L.Bacon has achieved more then most women her age would aim to achieve BY their early 30s. Not only has she successfully set up her own company, but she has also directed a variety of high-profile shoots. A talented business women, loving girlfriend and a daughter that anyone would be proud to have, Fay lets us in on her busy life and what it’s really like working in the world of models…
What’s your role at work?
I’m the Director of UKMF. I oversee everything including day-to-day management of the company and organising/ directing the shoots, but my main focus is to promote it as she’s still only a baby after all!
How old were you when you started working in the industry?
I was 19.
Do you think that because you were still young, working with models had a bigger impact on you?
Most definitely. Nineteen is a difficult age because generally you’re still finding yourself and can feel awkward about who you are and where you stand physically. I struggled working with models, particularly those who were the same age as me because I felt almost embarrassed about the way I looked in comparison to them who seemed so much prettier, with these amazing bodies- it was like I was failing in some way. Also, I realise now the people I surrounded myself with when I was younger used me for getting people from work i.e. famous models to parties etc. That in itself damaged my confidence and made me feel inferior.
“I genuinely was considering getting a breast enlargement to be accepted, but luckily the Photographer Alan Strutt convinced me not to saying that, ‘cosmetic surgery isn’t the answer to insecurity.’ I loved him for that.”
Were you really nervous the first time you had to work on a shoot with a model?
No, I have never been nervous, but my first photoshoot was for Page 3. I remember asking before all of the models arrived whether they would actually get their boobs out infront of me and someone laughed saying, “you’ll see a whole lot more than boobs!” The next minute all of these famous Page 3 girls walked in giggling and completely stripped off. It was bizarre to me at first how they were editing their pics with the Photographer, or having a normal conversation in just thongs. You soon get used to it though and now it’s normal for me to walk in to work and pass a naked girl in the hallway! It almost wouldn’t be a complete day if a girl didn’t come in and show me her boob job!
How did you feel when you saw certain models in real life for the first time?
I was in awe of them. I thought they were all so beautiful and remember thinking all those girls I would envy for being pretty at school didn’t even compare. It completely changed my perception of beauty and made me view the average girl walking down the street a lot differently.
Were you surprised at how girls looked in the magazine compared to how they looked face-to-face?
Yes, some were far prettier; others were far dodgier! And some completely shocked me because their personalities didn’t at all add up to the stereotypical model. I particularly found that in glamour, I suppose because you’re made to believe glamour models are all bimbos so when they would turn up with posh accents and talking about their uni degrees I was shocked!
Is there a specific time for you that sticks out, when you felt unhappy with yourself physically?
Yes, between 20 and 21. I was socialising regularly with the hottest models at the time and we would go out partying all over London getting tonnes of male and female attention, like literally you could walk in to a bar and everyone would want to be your friend and buy you drinks. At first it was amazing, but then I became really self-conscious about whether people, particularly men, were talking to me for me, or whom I was with. I would look at all the models looking completely gorgeous, and because they were all richer than me, they would have these amazing apartments, cars and of course, the clothes, and I just felt like the ugly, poor friend. In the end I really didn’t enjoy it anymore and decided to detach myself from the clique, which was the best thing I’ve done. I would never put myself in that situation again.
The other time that really sticks out in my mind was going to Thailand for the first time on a Miss Maxim shoot. It was the biggest project I’d ever worked on and a real turning point in my career. Although the trip was AMAZING and I met some incredible people, I came back feeling so uncomfortable with myself physically. I was working over there with twenty finalists in the Miss Maxim International competition so they were all skinny-minnies and at the time I was about a stone heavier to what I am now. I’ve always loved eating food and anyone that’s been to Thailand will tell you the food is the best in the World, and so cheap! I was scoffing so much and I remember one evening this group of models looking at my plate and nudging eachother obviously saying I was eating too much. That was it; I didn’t want to eat again!
What made you realise that you are just as (if not more) beautiful as famous women, models, glamour models etc?
Well, I’d definitely never say that I’m just as beautiful as anyone, but without sounding too cliché I realise that beauty is so much more than just the physical. Plus, there is no way to define beauty i.e. what I think’s beautiful and what you think is beautiful is two entirely different things. However, personality and intelligence adds so much to a person’s beauty and that I learned myself through working with women that I know men find irresistible, yet I found them to be the dullest people ever because they lack substance and that is a big turn-off. After a while those type of women become very unattractive and the ones who have better personalities become more so.
In terms of who made me realise my beauty? The biggest person I have to thank is my man. The moment we met he told me I was beautiful about twenty times on that one day, but like he genuinely meant it, and he has continued to do so every day since, at the weirdest times too e.g. I’ll be talking and he’ll stop me and say it then. I remember sending a text to my best friend the day after, the first time Callum and I had… well, you know… and I said that was it, I didn’t need a boob job, and had just travelled home across London without a scrap of make-up on because that’s how sexy and beautiful he had made me feel. It was the best feeling ever and it made her cry!
Maintaining that now, of course I have my days like everyone where I feel like a complete mingbag and I’ll say to Callum, “look how fat this is”, and “err, I just feel disgusting”, but he always makes me feel better. Most importantly, he has never been interested in whom I work with or what they look like because he honestly doesn’t care. Deep down I do believe he thinks I’m the most beautiful woman in the World and at the end of the day that is genuinely all I care about. I have never felt as beautiful as I do now and ironically, the better Callum makes me feel, the more beautiful I want to be.
Having worked in the industry for a long time, do you see yourself differently in comparison to how you saw yourself when you first started working?
Completely. I’m happy with who I am now and all I want to do is learn more about life and my career. I really feel for the first time like I have a complete sense of identity. I don’t want to change or grow to be a better person. I do not follow anyone. I don’t try to fit in, I’m just me and I realise if you don’t like that then there’s nothing I can physically do because I’m not changing for anyone. The best people surround me and each one of them adds something to my life.
As for work, I feel like I’m getting somewhere now and people respect me. The other day I said I didn’t feel successful because I didn’t earn what I wanted to, and Callum said look at all you’ve achieved- that’s success, and he’s right. I have really pushed myself in my industry, but on my own accord. Sometimes money isn’t always a reflection of how successful one is, it’s where you’ve come from and what you’ve managed to achieve that says a whole lot more. I have a confidence now that I never had before, like I can walk on to a photoshoot with all these high powered people and say, “why not do this?” or “that might work better”. I would never have done that before.
When you first started working at Celebrity Publicity did you find that any of your habits changed? (e.g. more exercise, healthier eating…)
Initially I lost some weight because I was working full-time and commuting to London early in the morning; not getting back until late at night and it all took its toll on me, but I didn’t intentionally do that. Then I started to gain weight as the job can be very social and I was out partying all the time, eating McDonalds at stupid o’clock on the way home. But now, I’m healthy and purposely so. I LOVE food too much not to eat, but I have a good diet and I try to exercise through walking to work as I have no time for the gym. I have discovered my ideal weight and I try to maintain it.
What motto do you live by?
Work hard and what will be, will be… Oh, and be nice to those on your way up, because you never know who you’ll meet on your way back down- that’s one of my best.
Who is your idol?
My Mummy and my Grandad Michael. He escaped a Polish prisoner of war camp at 21, leaving behind all of his family, most of whom had been killed infront of him. He fled to Scotland not speaking a word of English and went on to become head chef at Unilever, hold down a successful marriage to my lovely Nanny, have three beautiful Daughters… and here we all are now. He’s my hero.
Do you have any advice for girls (or boys) who battle with insecurities?
Surround yourself with the people that make you feel your best.
Work hard and don’t be ashamed to be different or step outside of the norm. I don’t believe those who follow someone else are as successful as people who take a risk.
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve been given?
A feeling is just a feeling and it will go. Sometimes we can all be too hasty to stick with something we’re not happy with like a career or a relationship just because we’re too scared to express how we feel, but if you do step away that feeling of hurt, sadness and apprehension will gradually fade away.
Don’t follow the crowd. I used to, but I don’t anymore. It has made me unpopular at times, but I couldn’t care less now. I don’t drink alcohol until I’m sick and I don’t take drugs so I can look like a mess. Some people think that’s boring- really?!
Did you ever feel the need to constantly look good?
I’m very vain so my main priority is to look good, I admit that, but I look good for me. That said I don’t let vanity affect me to the point that I’ll wear heels to work instead of flats when I’m walking about (what’s the point in hobbling with blisters?), or won’t bust my ‘driving trainers’ with a cute dress to quickly run in the petrol garage.
How do you feel when you hear about size zero models suddenly passing away or fainting because of their frail frames?
I think it’s very sad. I wish they could realise that size zero looks awful before they starve themselves to get there.
Have you ever felt pressurised by the media to look a particular way?
I feel pressurised to be not just slim, but very slim, although physically my frame isn’t made like that. I have a very small upper half, and a bootylicious bottom half with real thighs that you can grab- I don’t like it, if I’m honest. I’d love to have long, lean legs and everything to just be mega toned. Love it or hate it, clothes nowadays are made to fit the skinny frame; we all just have to make the best of it.
At UK Model Folios do you encourage all types of models to come and have a photoshoot?
Yes, of course. Our job is to make everyone feel beautiful and comfortable and I know we do it because models will come in at the start and try to hide the fact they’ve brought their bikini along for a possible shot. Once you tell them how fabulous they look, they can’t wait to strip off and pose all over the studio in it.
What advice do you have for girls who feel that they don’t look like a stereotypical model, but still want to come in for a portfolio shoot?
Fantastic! My favourite models are the edgy ones or those that don’t conform to the norm so don’t change a thing, just come in and see us!