Rebecca Dunham in Marie Claire
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 is with 21mm, in Jakarta.