My original subject for this week’s article was; “How to Handle the Jealous Boyfriend on-Set.” The more I wrote, the more I asked myself; “Why is this such a prevalent problem anyway? Why do models let this become an issue?” At the end of the day a significant other’s presence on-set should be an aid, not a hindrance.
In my own experience, a jealous boyfriend can be lethal to a girl’s modeling career and overall safety. I once dated a man who became insecure of the time I spent working and communicating with my male photographers. I soon found myself forbidden from working with any man behind the camera. This quickly progressed into me not being allowed to communicate with any male photographers at all, followed by angry outbursts if I would even so much as contact a male childhood friend. I was accused of doing and saying things I would never in my lifetime do or say. The situation only escalated as his temper continued to rage about things he’d only imagine taking place. Needless to say, my job opportunities quickly dwindled as the number of my “permitted colleagues” was cut in half.
Thankfully I realized the toxic dynamic of this relationship and left before things grew too physically abusive. I was thankful my career helped bring this dangerous nature of our relationship to light. I’m certain male models can experience the same thing in their relationships, as this is by no means a behavior limited to men or women only. Models, you should never allow this type of behavior in a significant other — on or off the set.
As these memories ran through my head, I decided a better topic would be the dynamics you sign up for when dating a model; what to expect, how to handle it, and things a significant other should understand. Are you a model who feels your boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t support or understand your job? Are you the significant other of someone who works in entertainment or in front of the camera? Are you a photographer wondering how to tell if a boyfriend/girlfriend will be helpful on-set or not? Well then, here are some of the most important things to understand about dating a model.
It really is just business.
Our shoots, gigs, creative planning meetings, communication with photographers – all of it. This is our work. These are our equivalents to “a day at the office.” To the outsider it’s easy to imagine all sorts of things going on behind closed doors or on-set. There are commonly misconceptions about how far a model will go to secure work, or the boundaries that a photographer or other model will push. However, if the individuals in question are serious about their careers, the focus will be entirely on achieving the perfect shot and nothing more. The possibility of lawsuits or accusations of exploitation can be extremely harmful to someone’s future opportunities in the creative industry. While there are some who conduct themselves less than honorable in this line of work, it certainly isn’t the norm.
We will be asked to pose with member of the opposite sex.
We are commonly asked to sell the illusion of a romantic couple or platonic friendship for the lens. Whether this be for a bridal shoot, clothing ad, or dating app commercial we are often in situations where our co-stars are of the opposite gender. We may be meeting our co-stars for the very first time on-set, or they may be old friends we’ve worked with before. Regardless, we are given the task of playing our roles convincingly for the lens. Modeling is – at it’s very core – acting.
Every model has different boundaries while playing the roles they are given. Personally, I exercise a no-kiss policy. Little pecks on the cheek, forehead, hand, etc. are okay, but I have never had an actual on-camera kiss. Unless the shoot is with my significant other, I don’t intend to…and I make this clear with every shoot where the request might be made of me.
It’s also one of my rules that I don’t pose in an overtly sensual manner – whether with another model or alone. I tell every photographer that I strive to keep my work as PG as possible. Not only does this avoid negative rumors and the danger of photos being leaked to the wrong audiences, but it allows maximal sharing of the work I do. Ethics and morals aside, I’ve found countless benefits of exercising this rule and highly advise it to every up-and-coming model. Strive to protect the integrity of your work and your future possibilities will remain wide open.
Some jobs do require explicit poses, scenes, or interaction while others may not even require holding hands. It’s up to the model to fully understand what will be expected of them with every job before accepting or declining. It’s then up to us to ensure our professional decisions don’t damage our cherished relationships with the ones we care about, which brings us to…
Communication and Trust
The two most crucial traits of any successful relationship. They’re especially important If you or your loved one works in the entertainment industry and will be dancing/acting/posing with someone of the opposite gender. I can’t stress enough that a couple in this situation should be open and honest from the beginning. All insecurities should be stated, all questions should be asked, all explanations and reassurances should be given. If there are any doubts at this point, the relationship and career will likely not survive together. More often than not, one will need to be sacrificed for the other. The key is consistent openness and honesty followed by the significant other’s trust that shoots are precisely what they have been portrayed to be.
If you come on-set, please be respectful of the working space.
Again I must echo my previous statement that being on-set is similar to a day in the office. We have to be focused, precise, and at our very best when in front of the camera. A significant other should be mindful of this and give the photographer and model ample room to communicate and work together. Our “plus ones” are often asked to hold reflectors, generate breezes, carry equipment, position lights, etc. This can be a huge help! But please leave the creative decisions and concepts to the professionals running the shoot. If your opinion is asked, do share it. Otherwise, please give us the space to bring the desired vision to life.
This post has already grown longer than expected and still it only grazes the surface. The dynamics of dating a model are complicated at best. I hope you enjoyed my little recipe for success and honest glimpse inside! Modeling and acting are more than careers – they are ways of life. It’s highly important that a model’s significant other supports his/her professional endeavors and seeks to understand things from the place in front of the camera. Photographers, it’s crucial that you understand the common aspects of models’ relationships and can recognize/avoid complicated situations. Models, wait for the relationship that falls into place with your career. Unless you are willing to sacrifice your job for love, waiting for the right partner is better than risking both for a partner who doesn’t support your professional endeavors.
Until next week,