A Zoolander House..?
Way back many moons ago, I lived in a huge house in a Sydney suburb by the sea - Vaucluse.
We (my then boyfriend and I) had three spare bedrooms and wondered if we could offer accommodation to passers-by. Keep in mind that this was way before the internet and Air BnB was around. Or the hit show by Tyra Banks, America's Next Top Model.
This was even before mobile phones were everywhere. Only the rich and powerful had a mobile phone that was the size of two house bricks. Can you even imagine a life without mobile phones..?
Back to "my idea". My modelling agency would offer contracts to models from all over the world, shooting for Australian magazines with our fabulous photographers and the models needed to stay somewhere. A lot of the models don't want to stay in hotels - way too expensive when you are establishing yourself and just starting out.
You might be thinking about Gigi Hadid when she was flown in for Melbourne Fashion Week..? She is a Supermodel so the sponsors paid a large sum and would have placed her in the best hotels.
Our large five bedroom house was better than staying in a hostel or hotel. It was a safe affordable place to explore the scenery and getting to the inner city castings was a direct bus ride. You had your independence, overlooking the sea, close to Bondi and best of all - no curfew. I was only 20, so "no curfew" was imperative.
I thought it would be so cool to have models come and stay at our house. We could form new friendships with people from around the world, show them a local way of life and maybe connect them with great brands and photographers for more work too.
I decided to tell a few key Sydney model agencies in case they had any visiting models from overseas. Cameron Dias came here to work as a young model and enjoyed flying under the radar, surfing and loving our Aussie lifestyle, way back before she was famous.
There were only a couple of these places we'd heard of, dotted around the harbour. One Model's House nearby was run by a very old lady. She owned a two story mansion, overlooking the stunning harbour with a sweeping staircase and marble flooring... with ornate gold hand railings and a huge chandelier in the entrance hall. But she had a curfew for the models. If you weren't home by 10pm, you needed to stay somewhere else that night. I'd been to the mansion to collect some models for a grand ball being held one evening, so I saw the house for myself. It was built in a luxurious Art Deco style overlooking Vaucluse and the harbour, boasting 12 bedrooms with an out-house or granny flat on the property.
Models from Russia, London, LA or somewhere far away, would be in Australia for three or six months under their contract. When the mansion couldn't take in any more models, maybe they could stay with us..? Our place wasn't ornate with chandeliers, but we were young and there was no curfew. We had beautiful models from New Zealand, Queensland and Melbourne stay with us. Being 20 myself, I didn't yet comprehend the importance of getting a good night's sleep as a model. I was free from school and living in a grown up relationship with responsibilities but definitely living for fun, not focussing on how fleeting a modelling career can be.
Fast forward all my own years of travelling and living in London and NYC, working in boarding schools as the Boarding Supervisor and Deputy Head of Boarding to the purchase of Reel Management. It has been the generosity of friends who let me stay in their beautiful homes and welcomed me like family that certainly reminded me, what goes around comes around. Since moving to a house in South East Queensland two years ago, I'm now able to reinstate the love of providing people a safe home. By offering the spare room and downstairs private space to models from Colombia, Switzerland, Chile and Rockhampton. The models stay for a few nights or more than a few months, before I say goodbye and wish them well on their exciting journeys around Australia or the world. Just recently, my house was filled with a gorgeous model family. This is a very humble home. More like a shack. But everyone who comes here feels comfortable - and that makes me so happy.
Right now I have young go-getter Joaquin from Chile living in the spare room. He was in the original RM/Elsa Dillon shoot, published in a magazine and recently worked a few days on-set of the sexy feature film being shot on location around the coast. This is in between his studies and work life to support himself while he finishes university. I find that people who have travelled and lived on their own to support themselves, exhibit great respect for community living and sharing, have a real appreciation for their quality of life, have strong family values and enjoy staying in a humble home.
What about you..?
Would you consider living in a model's house?