Rebecca Dunham
Rebecca Dunham for ASITHOO

Rebecca Dunham

November 14, 2021

It's My Party

Since I began modelling, I have been in a foreign country, working, on two consecutive birthdays. The days before each birthday I'll wallow in sad thoughts about being without my family or friends on my birthday, but each time I have had great experiences. My birthdays abroad have made me feel loved and happy, despite being away from my family and friends.

Last year I was in Beijing for my birthday, and had a shoot in the afternoon for Milk magazine. The day started as a disaster; my best friend Pola was ill, my agency changed offices so I didn't receive any of the birthday mail I hoped for, and the weather was ominously dark and stormy. But as soon as I arrived at my shoot, the entire crew wished me a happy birthday and kept referring to me as 'the birthday girl'. The shoot went great and I ended up shooting three different small spreads for the magazine. At the end of the day the remaining crew sang happy birthday to me, and the makeup artist touched my face up so that I would look pretty for my birthday party. When I arrived back at the model apartment I was greeted by all of my friends waiting to get the party started. I'll spare you the rest of the details but needless to say it was a memorable birthday!

This year I'm in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is beautiful. I feel much more at home here than I did in China. The city hosts people from all over the world and, with a Little India, China Town and expats from Thailand, Indonesia, and England the city has so much to offer. This year my birthday was a lot more low-key but my agency and new friends here (and, of course, all the amazing people back home) made it so special.

On the eve of my birthday, everyone from my agency went to see the new James Bond movie and at midnight I received text messages from the owner and the girls from my agency, even though they were sitting a few seats away (don't worry, my ringer was off, I'm not one of those annoying movie goers)! The next morning I had a shoot for ASITHOO by Rakate. It was really amazing. The makeup and hair were really fashion and the designer's collection was interesting and artistic. As an added bonus my co-model was my closest friend here in Kuala Lumpur, Marina. The crew all wished me a happy birthday and everyone was so friendly and fun to work with. Working in Kuala Lumpur has caused some culture shock for me, after so many months on mainland China. The biggest difference is that everyone speaks English here, so it is much easier to make friends on set and to have a happy work environment. Marina and I spent the day joking around with the crew and I practiced my Chinese with the photographer.

Even so, it's easy to feel lonely, no matter where you're travelling as a model. We are all so far away from our friends, families and everything that feels normal. This isolation and loneliness is always heightened for me when I spend a special occasion or holiday away from my home. I have my moments of feeling homesick and really lonely, but it is days like my birthday - the days where you think you will be the oneliest - that you realize the people around you are your family. Even if a placement only lasts three months, the friendships can last you a lifetime. After just two weeks of being here, the girls already knew me well enough to buy vegan dark chocolate and my favourite red raspberry jam as a birthday gift! And of course, your biological family and your friends are all just a Skype call away.



Rebecca is with Wu Models, in Kuala Lumpur.


Blogs We Follow

Cailin Hill (The Model Burnbook)

Models x Models (Models x Models)

Liis Windischmann's (14+ LouLou blog)

Laura Kell (A Model Life)

Madison Schill (Chic Greek Geek)

Kathleen Burbridge (Kathleen in Wonderland)

Ania Boniecka (A n i a . B)

Shawn Dezan (motivated//ambition)