Rebecca Dunham in Marie Claire

Rebecca Dunham

April 25, 2021

It's Getting Hot In Here

It's really hot. I kept thinking that I've never sweat so much in my life. I felt beads of sweat rolling down my back and stomach. I touched my neck as I reposition my hair and it's wet -- not just beads of sweat wet, but just out of the pool wet. The entire group was melting across the small cliff we were positioned on.

After a two hour drive the whole crew, which consisted of the stylist, two makeup artists, three local models, three foreign models and two designers, slowly got out of the vans to assess our location. We were in a small parking lot outside of the saddest children's theme park I've ever seen. This was my third day shooting for Marie Clare. The magazine was doing a feature on up and coming Indonesian designers. Each shoot showcased a different designer, photographer and location. Each concept was cool and interesting and all of the designers were incredibly talented. It was just my luck that all of my locations were outside; the first was in an emptied out swimming pool, the second on the rooftop of a hotel and the third in this bizarre theme park. Not that I'm one to complain; I was thrilled to be shooting for Marie Clare and considered the location changes to be free tourism. I already had a slight suntan from my second day of the shoot, so what was another day in the sun?

It turns out this time was a little bit different. I was the first model to be ready to take my position on the cliff. Dressed all in black I climbed the cliff with help from the photographer. As I reached my ever so tiny ledge I put on my heels and got into position. The other models slowly followed suit, reluctant to stand in the sun on a cliff. The longer I stood on this tiny ledge the more the heat and pressure got to me. The more sweat I felt dripping down my body the more afraid I became about slipping off my ledge. The crew was all very understanding and wanted it to be safe, so I knew I just had to say the word and they would help me down. But knowing all the girls would be stuck in the sun longer if I surrendered was all the motivation I needed, so I stood my ground and we began to shoot.

I started to feel very nauseous and light headed. When the photographer stopped to look at the pictures in his camera my anxiety spiked and I knew I couldn't stand there much longer. When I began to see only black, I told the model beside me I was going to faint if I didn't sit. She relayed the message and the crew said to stay seated and pose in a boyish manner.

Working in a country where the people are so welcoming, accommodating and nice has been an adjustment for me. So often in Asian countries models' limits are pushed and we make adjustments that we shouldn't necessarily make. Compromising your values, physical or mental safety isn't worth any amount of money or any tear sheet. I'm very grateful to be working in a country where the people understand this and value a model with guts and personality. The Marie Clare crew treated all the models amazingly well and was out there in the sun sweating it out with us.



Rebecca Dunham

Rebecca Dunham

Rebecca is with 21mm, in Jakarta.


Blogs We Follow

Cailin Hill (The Model Burnbook)

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Liis Windischmann's (14+ LouLou blog)

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Kathleen Burbridge (Kathleen in Wonderland)

Ania Boniecka (A n i a . B)

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