"What are you going to do after modelling?"

Natalia Zurowski, Associate Editor

Why you don't need to justify your career choice

As a model, one of the questions I get asked most often - one many models can relate to - is "What are you going to do after modelling?" At first, I didn't mind answering, but it grew old fairly quickly. It's the same thing when you ask a recent university graduate about their career prospects (try being both!). While some have it figured out, many don't.

Whether friends, family or acquaintances are asking you, the question can become crippling. It gets tiring having to justify your career choice to others because in the eyes of many - primarily because of the lack of financial stability that often goes along with it - modelling isn't seen as a legitimate career. However, the same can be applied to any career in the creative industry. It's a risk one takes in order to do something they enjoy.

Despite it not being regarded as a financially stable career, I know many models who consistently make a very good amount of cash shooting for catalogues and commercials in markets across Asia, Canada, America, Germany and England; earning considerably more than their friends who have graduated from university - with good degrees in tow.

Given the current state of the economy, if a model is making good and consistent money, sticking to modelling for now is not a bad idea: According to The Atlantic, approximately "53% of recent college [and university] graduates are either jobless or unemployed." Some graduates are even working jobs below their degree (e.g. a barista at Starbucks). If a model is working well they should stay in the business as long as they can and save as much money as possible for their future.

To be fair, it's completely natural for those close to you to express concern. Modelling is a tough industry and it's easy to see why your friends or family may not understand your career choice. Constructive criticism is one thing, but there's a fine line between that, and bullying.

Related: Support System

Everyone has their limits. Even though your friend's perspective of how a person should live their life is different from yours, you don't have to live by their rules. As long as you're happy, what you decide to do in life - and how long you decide to model for - is your business. You don't need people to belittle you, you need people to support you.

I'm not saying that a model should stick to modelling without any direction or focus on the bigger picture. I think it's incredibly important to plan and set goals for yourself. But I also think it's important to live in the present. Life is a long journey and you will learn new things about yourself every day; and each day contributes to your identity that will help shape who you'll become later in life. It's okay to take things slow and live in the now. Being in the moment is far from irresponsible, it's called being alive.

Natalia Zurowski is a model with OMG in Los Angeles, and holds a B.A. from Western University


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