LizBell's Kyla Love
April 26, 2021
I came into my room, sat down on my bed, and started crying. Once I started, I couldn't stop. Eventually I calmed down enough to catch my breath. My nose running and face soaked with tears, I called my mom on Skype; "I can't do this. I can't. I can't. I can't."
Day one in London and my usual "can do" attitude had apparently missed the train from Paris. I was so excited about London-I adore British style, magazines, accents, literature-you name it, I love it. So what in the world was the matter? Why was the Iceland-emitted ash cloud flooding aerospace the only thing keeping me from ditching out onto the first available flight home to Vancouver?
It wasn't the city. There were plenty of things I wanted to see: The Globe Theatre, the Tate, the National Portrait Gallery, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Portobello Road and Brick Lane. It wasn't work; modelling is an amazing job and Julien, my booker at Models1 had been nothing but wonderfully welcoming. It was home-or a lack of it. I found myself crying on a bed in the chilly front room of a dark, empty house located in a quiet suburb an hour out from the city.
I can't stand being lonely. I love people and I love to be surrounded by them-friends, family, and strangers alike. (Although I must say, living in models' apartments has really made me value private space for reading, sleeping, getting dressed and picking one's toejam). So, an eerily quiet suburb an hour from the city I was aching to explore and admire? Not such a good idea. And apparently, painfully depressing.
Thus, I spent my first few days in London dwelling beneath an omnipresent cloud of misery and executing late-night web searches for new places to live. By the time I moved into a room half a dozen tube stops from the city centre, it was time for a Friday full of castings, and then my first London weekend would be upon me.
I haven't had much trouble getting around London besides the fact that it can sometimes take an hour to get from casting to casting when both addresses are outside of the city centre. London is a sprawling city, but the tube (subway/metro) is easy to navigate, the bus-stop signs are useful, and people tend to be helpful with directions. The lay of the city also means that there is more space for parks and greenery than somewhere like Manhattan. This aspect of the city reminds me of Paris, whilst its diversity reminds me of New York; in a way, London seems like it may be the best of both worlds.
While it's a little early to pass judgement on London, I'm not aching to get on the plane back home anytime soon. I'm loving London's diversity, colour (and the amount of colour people wear here is astounding!), size, beauty, and markets!
Speaking of markets - I spent my entire weekend at them! I just got home from a day spent shooting along Portobello Road in Notting Hill, and yesterday was spent around Brick Lane in East London. About forty minutes from each other by train, these two areas are like completely different worlds. I couldn't stop staring at the outfits of all the young Londoners that filled the streets around Brick Lane yesterday-until I realized just how many people were staring at me! From the inside of a pub to the sidewalk to a black taxi on the side of a busy road, surrounded by a crew of twelve to fifteen at any given time and sporting makeup and a wig, I was apparently quite the sight. Given that Brick Lane and Portobello also draw plenty of tourists, there was no shortage of cameras capturing the scene from all angles during our shoot, and I found myself temporarily transformed into a tourist attraction.
(click on images to enlarge)
It's been a great shoot when everyone is still lingering around and the end of the day, chatting and relaxing before going on their ways. There are definitely times that people bolt off set after wrapping-I once left a show so fast I accidentally stole the socks I was wearing, having forgotten to take them off (I still wear them). Then there are times when everyone has been so happy with the shoot and with getting to know each other that we've really come together as a team (as the crew on set is referred to but doesn't always behave), and are sorry to leave each others' company. There are times when I enter a studio before the morning chill has left the air and leave after sunset without having set foot outside. Then there are times when I see a city (or a part of it) in a totally unique and spectacular way that I wouldn't have otherwise. After wrapping today, I was happy to find everyone still lingering.
Modelling can be a lifestyle full of high highs and low lows-really lonely low lows. My life can feel really empty-of family, of close friends, of that ‘chez soi même' (place of one's own) feeling. But then it feels really full-of new people, new sights, cities, countries, ideas, sensations, and experiences. Also, I become more grateful every day that I have such beautiful family and friends to miss (these are people who are always present in my life, though there may be oceans between us-they shed light, perspective, and love on my life, which occasionally involves talking me through the a breakdown via skype). At the end of day six in London, sitting in my warm, well-lit and centrally located shoebox of a room, I love my life and this is exactly where I want to be.
With much love to all of my friends and family, wherever you are, always,
Kyla Love is an Liz Bell model, currently with Models1 in London.