Category Archives: Truthful Blogs
With the modelling and photography industry expanding daily, competition is at its most competitive. No matter how good you are at your craft, there’s that inner feeling of insecurity that knows someone else could do ‘it’ better. Of course not helped when people steal your ideas or business models (something I see happening all of the time) but it’s learning how to overcome these insecutiries that ultimately makes you the stronger and better creative. Some decide to change what they’re doing and invent something new to keep others guessing, or, like myself, you can take it as a compliment and strive to do better.
I am very dedicated to my job and apply immense pressure to succeed at what I do; I have sat in tears many times wallowing in the sheer unfairness of someone that has poached my clients, copied my business model or even just the fear of either of those things happening. But it was my Fiance who convinced me to stop and realise if people want to imitate you then obviously they believe in you and what you’re doing, and if anything, it should encourage you to do even better.
So my thoughts are forget the photographer who shot a similar picture to you or the model who had their hair cut the same- who cares? Think of yourself as an inspiration who in turn is inspired. I am inspired every day by people, nature, clothes, make-up, general things I see- good and bad. I would be the first to say when I create moodboards for shoots the first thing I do is flick through magazines or go on to Google images and pull off those that I thought, “wow”, but haven’t we all? Otherwise, how do classic magazines such as Vogue remain on the shelves? Do we not use them as references for fashion, style, and in our industry, influential ideas? If you were to ask any photographer, art director, stylist, hair and make-up artist or model why they decided to create what they have on a shoot, I guarantee somewhere there will be an influence. What’s important is taking that influence and putting your own spin on it- failure to do so is summed up by Sir Joshua Reynolds, ‘a mere copier of nature can never produce anything great.’
There are so many factors that influence our individual opinion and arguably the media is one of them. When it comes to models we all have our own thoughts- “I wish I was one”… “Skinny, anorexic and self-0bsessed”… “They marry footballers”… “An easy job for so much money”… “All unhappy”… “Beautiful”, but for us in the industry we know the truth. We have seen them at their lowest. We have seen their true reaction once their lives get splashed across the paper- “model X caught cheating with X footballer”. And honestly, whilst sometimes they live up to the ‘model expectation’, the general consensus is you’d be pleasantly surprised to really see what lies beneath the glamorous hair and make-up, clothes (in some cases) and confident personas.
A model we have chosen to write about is our good friend, Annie Bullah. Renowned for being a ‘TV Babe’ Annie has been in the industry since she was eighteen, always with the goal of being the next Jordan, and just like her idol, you either love or hate her. For me, I get her. I see the vulnerable, naturally beautiful little lady underneath the make-up, extensions and false eyelashes and honestly, I love her.
Annie Bullah is a UK Model Folios blog choice because she so epitomises the glamour stereotype and the misconceptions. I want to share my Annie experience with you because not only will it hopefully broaden your view of models, but moreover prove the trustworthy relationship you can build with us here at UKMF. Relationships which can expand your success in the industry and the confidence you have for knowing you are being promoted in the way you want to be and on top of that, gaining the financial credit too.
This interview is as always honest and gives an insight in to the world of not just Miss Bullah, but the model industry as a whole. We hope you enjoy it.
“Happy girls are the prettiest”
INTERVIEW WITH FAY BACON AND ANNIE BULLAH
By Coco Minnie x
Annie’s calendar is what I would describe as a typical beach-style-glamour shoot. It’s very simple and captures the beauty of Thailand. It is inspired by Jordan, Jemma Jameson and Pamela Anderson.
Annie: I LOVE my calendar. I loved Thailand. It’s the best thing I’ve done work-wise.
How did you both decide the theme for the Calendar?
I know the type of model Annie is and what she wants to be perceived as. She LOVES Jordan so we looked through previous shoots she had done. Obviously as her shoot was with Alan Strutt and he has shot Jordan many times, including her first calendar he had a great idea of what to do and so the Official Annie Bullah 2011 Calendar was born!
Annie: I have really specific ideas when it comes to modelling and I know what works for me. Fay and I work really well together as she understands my ideas and picked out all the best references for me. We worked on every detail selecting outfits, hair and make-up, everything. I couldn’t have asked for a better service.
Which was your favourite month in the calendar and why?
May or November. I know Annie loves May, particularly as a landscape.
Annie: Yes, that’s my best picture ever! 8 o’clock in the morning in Thailand. Victoria Secret’s bikini. Amazing!
Had you worked with eachother before going to Thailand?
Yes, we’d worked together on building Annie’s website, plus I also promote Babemag.com and we had worked together on a shoot for them.
Annie: I wanted to shoot with UK Model Folios and Alan because they’re the best. Alan is my favourite photographer to work with and Fay is so good at shoot production, direction etc. She knows exactly what I want and I love working with her.
Fay, before you met Annie did you have any preconceptions of what she’d be like?
Erm… Honestly, I expected her to be stand-offish because I’d seen her once or twice shooting but never spoke to her, however the minute we chatted I was pleasantly surprised. Annie needs to feel comfortable around people, I think she’s quite protective of herself and has been hurt a lot in the past by women, and maybe people generally. I think she trusts me and so we get along really well and I almost ‘Mummy’ her when we work together. She’s a truly lovely person.
Annie: I can give off that impression sometimes but I don’t mean it, I am a really open person when you get to know me and I’m very loving. I like to keep myself quite private work-wise and only work with people I trust and think will help me. I was introduced to Fay by Alan Strutt so knew she would be good for me if he had recommended her. We clicked instantly and now I love her!
How difficult do you think it is for models like Annie to escape being stereotyped for their image?
It’s very difficult if she wanted to be taken seriously in a professional career for example a lawyer, but Annie wants to be a glamour model. She loves Jordan and just like Jordan plays to the press; Annie plays the whole glamour stereotype perfectly. She wears low-cut tops to show her amazing boobies, and little jean shorts to show her bum. She loves the attention and admits it. She doesn’t try to be what she isn’t.
Annie: The bitchy comments I get are outweighed by the good. I am very lucky as I have great fans, family and friends who keep me confident. Of course there are people who want to see me fail or bring me down but I have to ignore them. To survive in this industry you have to be thick skinned.
Do you find that people tend to judge glamour models on their choice of job and appearance?
Yes, completely. I am honest enough to say I judged them too before I started working with them. There’s so many different views that people take, but the main ones are it’s derogatory to women; glamour models are cheapening themselves and have no brains. Oh, and that they all want a footballer. That’s classic.
Annie: I’d never date a footballer. I don’t believe glamour degrades women, I actually think it celebrates our sexuality and feminine curves. I love looking glamorous and making the best of myself. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m also very homely and like staying home with my man and chilling out.
How does working with companies such as Celebrity Publicity and UKMF benefit successful models such as Annie?
We can put her in the direction she wants to be in i.e. magazines. We can expose her in the best way to the right market with the best content. We will ensure contracts are in place too so she benefits from all of this because there is a huge tendency for models like Annie to be taken advantage of by those who recognise her willingness to get in to magazines and the public eye. These sorts of models end up on the front pages of magazines sure, but sometimes they’re mags they didn’t want to be on, and moreover not earning any money from the picture sales. We don’t allow this and are very transparent with everything we do.
Annie: I am very selective who I work with and since working with Fay, UK Model Folios and Celebrity Publicity I run everything by her now because she gives the best advice and makes sure I’m getting the best deal in my work.
Before you started working in the industry were you ever nervous or hesitant to work with glamour models?
No, although I used to find myself feeling uncomfortable when I told people I worked with them because there’s always that same reaction of, “phwoar, can you get me a job?” from the men, and “Oh, do you? “ *snob accent* from the women. I’m very proud of what I do though so…
Annie: I was nervous as I didn’t know whether they would be bitchy or friendly towards me. You hear a lot that models are nasty to eachother so I was worried about that.
Why would you recommend UKMF and Celebrity Publicity to other models that tend to get judged due to their appearance / their choice of career?
We treat everyone with respect but are honest with them too. Take Annie for example, she loves the whole OTT hair and make-up, but I am always telling her to tone it down because she is genuinely naturally beautiful and looks better, in my opinion, when she’s naturally made-up. Of course she doesn’t always listen to me ha, but we can only advise.
Annie: I am very fussy when it comes to my hair and make-up, but in saying that I did tone it down for the calendar and actually really liked it.
Fay, after working with clients do you often feel protective over them?
Yes, definitely. I aim to get a real rapport with my clients and strike a bond. I am close with all of my Thailand girls now for example because I lived with them for seven days and they’re such lovely women. On the other hand I’m honest too. Nobodies perfect and everyone has their negative points but I’ll give the model the negative feedback if I feel it can benefit them career-wise to work on it.
Fay, the first time you met Annie, what stood out about her?
She’s got an amazing figure. I also love her tattoos and how lovely she is. Annie is the typical example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. She’s actually really down-to-earth, caring and a homely girl. I love her.
For you, what makes a woman stand out?
I could lie and say personality, but initially it’s looks and then ultimately the two combined. I’m not going to feel bad saying that either, I mean walking down the street you’re not going to look and think, “she looks like a lovely person”… It’s the, “wow, she’s hot… I want her bag… and shoes… and hair colour…” Whilst we’re on the subject, Adriana Lima is my ideal woman. I would consider being a lesbian for her. I feel this should be public knowledge! (Both girls giggle)
Annie: I love natural beauty and a woman who takes care of herself. I love glamour and pretty, girly things. I also love girls that are approachable and nice to one another.
What was it like working with Annie Bullah in Thailand?
It was great fun. She’s so sweet and looks upon me sometimes for a bit of guidance, which I find really endearing. Sometimes I have to rein her in a little bit and encourage her cultural side because otherwise she would’ be eating McDonalds every day! Like in Thailand my goal was to get her to order Thai food and enjoy it, and she did. (Annie laughs!)
Annie: The Thailand calendar trip is amazing. Models have to go, even if it’s just for the experience. The girls who went on the trip were great fun and I have built a good friendship with, Melissa Reeves. We got up to much girly mischief!
Recently there’s been a lot of press in the media about people being stereotyped (more recently Channel 4 have been showing a documentary called Beauty and The Beast: The Ugly Face of Prejudice), do you think that there is more pressure on young girls and boys to look ‘perfect’?
Yes, definitely, our culture is obsessed with looking good. There’s the pressure to have the best clothes, the best car, the best make-up, hair-do; the list is endless. It’s is silly that we strive for this celebrity life, literally trying to afford the same pair of Louboutins as Cheryl Cole despite the fact she earns millions of pounds more than us, but it’s life. However, as much as looks are important in modern society, they’re not the be-all-and-end-all, but in the modelling industry they are. The physical is at the forefront of everything and in the end the model with the best physical assets is at a distinct advantage. Naturally personality is key and the two compliment eachother in ultimately giving you an even better career, but realistically if the next Kate Moss turns up on a photographer’s doorstep s/he’s not going to turn her away for lacking intelligence and being a diva.
Annie: Haha that’s true. Even as a model we want to become models because we look up to other models, or see them looking great in magazines and on telly and think, “I want that.” It is a pressure to then be that pretty though which is why a lot of models become insecure. It is a very competitive industry and one where it’s difficult to find true friends.
Do you think that something needs to change in the industry about how certain girls are judged because of their choice of career and if so, why?
It’s naïve to think opinion can be changed now because even without the media, people think what they think and as much as I can help by defending a model and saying she’s brainy or a lovely girl, the preconception is there. I think it’s just important for us in the industry and the model to overlook that preconception and make our own minds up.
Annie: I agree. All I can do as a model is be me and hopefully people will like me but if they don’t then there’s not much I can do.
Fay, you’re known in the industry for working with a variety of models including fashion, lingerie and topless. Do you find that ‘outsiders’ tend to judge all of these women on their looks and choice of career?
Yes, definitely. If you’re a fashion model, you’re anorexic. If you’re a lingerie model… don’t actually know what the theory is there, but if you’re topless, you’re degrading yourself. Some think if you’re a model it’s because you failed at everything else. I do not agree with any of these things. It’s the media that makes us feel that way. Of course there’s some truth in the whole ‘size zero’ thing and no matter what type of model you are, models are affected by wanting to keep skinny and toned, but I guess when so much attention is focused on how you look, you are going to become affected and ultimately they do have to have good bodies.
For more information on booking a calendar shoot or for general model advice you can contact Fay direct firstname.lastname@example.org
To purchase Annie Bullah’s Official 2011 Calendar, including signed versions visit Celebrity Calendars now
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!