Recently, I took my third trip to Paris. My first was when I was 17, to visit family friends and to take my first trip to Europe. A week into my trip I was scouted for a top model agency—Marilyn in Paris, one of the top five agencies in Paris, along with Elite and IMG. Of course I was excited. It was my 18th birthday and I was in Paris. Now I had been given an opportunity to stay there. At the time I was very interested in fashion and making clothes, but since have almost completely lost interest. It was my second trip to Paris that spoiled it for me. I came back for my second trip in the summer as per my agency’s request. The summer fashion week in Paris, Milan and London would be starting and they said I should pack my bags and move to Paris. So I started castings … Running around Paris and waiting in lines for up to two hours at a time was fun for a while, exciting to be even a miniscule part of such a glamorous industry. But I quickly realized I wasn’t getting much work. And the work I was getting, I was not getting well paid for. I walked for two big shows during Paris fashion week—Rick Owens, and Tim Coppens. Each taking four or five hours at least. I remember standing after a show, still in the presentation in full clothing, with sweat dripping down my back. Remember it’s early July in Paris and now I’m standing on 30-foot-tall scaffolding in the sun. Both shows I did in the same day. Both shows earned me about 500 Euros total. All of which I gave directly back to my agency. See, to be scouted by the No. 1 agency in Paris is not to have sure success as a model. One might have more success representing oneself. My agency charged me over 500 Euros for my book, my comp cards and an “in agency physical,” which consisted of a man asking me my height and weight, and whether or not I smoked. All in all I left my agency in Paris owing them 12 Euros. I almost broke even. On my third trip to Paris I intended to try modeling again. This time I knew what I was doing and was more confident. But when I arrived at the agency they had only a few castings for me. And I only went to about half of them. After that I didn’t hear from my agency and didn’t contact them either. I decided to enjoy Paris and stay as far from modeling as I could.
I ended up staying in Gertrude Stein’s Paris apartment with my sweetheart—27 Rue de Fleurus. After staying there a few nights we realized there were extra belongings in the apartment, four full suitcases, dirty dishes, dirty sheets, acrylic nails and eyelashes. I assumed it was rented in the past and that our friends who we rented it from had just stored some of their clothing and luggage there. After checking with the family friends, we realized the stuff did not belong to them, and that they had no idea who it did belong to. The owner, Joelle, realized the third party renting agency must have rented it without his knowledge. And remembered that two royal Senegalese twins had been staying there for the past few months. The son, Theo, rushed me and my sweetheart back to the apartment where we quickly evacuated and took all of our things. We spent the rest of our trip staying in the 13th Arrondisement, in Modigliani’s old atelier along with our friends.
PHOTO CAPTION: Gertrude Stein in her apartment at No 27 Rue de Fleurus, Paris, under her portrait by Picasso