if you’re lucky enough to get in and afford it, go to university, please. modeling is an amazing career—but, in my opinion, it’s not really a career path you can choose as readily as, say, medicine, banking, or, um, lawyering. there is no core curriculum, no majors, no minors. someone has to “tap” you, effectively choose you, to be a model. and that could ostensibly happen while you’re in school, interning in NYC or Paris over the summer at a swishy fashion PR firm. there’s the distinct possibility, also, that you’ll find something you want to do in school that opens your eyes to the possibilities of fashion/glamour/travel (I imagine all the appealing things about being a model) but—as you point out—with a longer lifespan. I think people should follow their dreams, but do research and homework to prepare for them. I applaud you for having big dreams—and asking the right questions before. but definitely, definitely, definitely go to college. it’s a foundation and base for the rest of your life.
ps: if you’re not following Kelly Mittendorf on Tumblr, you should. great, smart advice from a great, smart, successful model
sigh, I can totally sympathize with you. I specifically remember calling my parents when I was in college and telling them I was switching majors (from pre-med to English, the horror). my dad was silent. my mom was hysterical and basically didn’t speak to me for a month, and then entered a denial phase that she’s only now—like, a decade later—is thawing out of. it can be hard but you should absolutely do it because why should you hide what you want to be (and therefore who you are)? so, here’s what I would do: tell them in person. don’t just say “Mom, Dad, I want to be a blahdeblah. isn’t that great? k, bye!” tell them your plans—and make them exactly that: plans. explain the career trajectory for the path you’re choosing: people start with this job, then they do this, and then are promoted to this, etc. I think 99 percent of my parents’ freak-out was due to lack of understanding of the industry I was embarking out. the more I fill them in, the more understanding they are (note the present tense—they’re still learning to embrace it). in any case, congratulations: you should be happy you found your calling. you’re lucky, really! so many people don’t know what they want to do with their lives, like, ever. if you know, you owe it to yourself to do it.
take that gap year! and take one (or some time) before you start your first real post-uni job. take it from me: it is really hard to take time off once you start working. it’s something, to be honest, that you have to explain a bit—no one will quite understand. “take time off to travel/live life/explore/have an adventure?” they’ll ask, furrowed brow and puzzled look on their faces, “why would you do that?” if you can take a gap year, in my opinion, you should. when I graduated high school, I couldn’t wait until college. when I finished college, I couldn’t wait to start working. and when I had my first job—and was ready for a new challenge—I couldn’t wait to start that job. do you see a pattern here? my personal stance is to enjoy being young—take a gap year before university, take time off before starting your first job, take time off between jobs. it’s not being lazy, it’s rekindling your imagination, your sense of adventure, your stance on the world as a whole. it’s worth it, trust me ^_^
first of all, congratulations. even though I’ll be living in LA for part of next year (eeek), I really and truly feel that living in New York City at some point in your young adult life—whether you end up falling in love with it or detesting it—is a life-changing experience that everyone should have. you’ll be surrounded by people from all walks of life, from all countries, from all orientations and cultures… all united by the common experience of trying to make it in NYC. so, my advice: a) start saving now. it is ridiculously easy to spend money in NYC (you’ll want to meander into every little cafe in the West Village, browse/shop in every indie boutique in Nolita, etc), harder so to make it. b) establish a network of friends from college, high school, whatever who are also planning on moving to NYC. it’s good to have that support system in place early on c) try not to get too swept up in the “wooo, party time!” scene. I have seen it time and time again—deeply ambitious and together and talented people who get sucked into the NYC nightlife scene. have fun, of course, but don’t be utterly frivolous either. remember, NYC is the city where you Make It. dream big, have fun, and make it happen
over the holidays this year, I’ll be visiting five cities in three weeks (London, Manchester, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul)—my weary back misses my fancy organic mattress just thinking about it. but, after so many years of travel, I’ve gotten used to it. but nevertheless, there’s almost always that point in the evening where I bolt up, hair and limbs akimbo, wondering where I am, haha. in any case, my top tips for travel-sleep: 1) try to acclimate to the time zone you’re going to, whether that means snoozing on the flight or going to bed as soon as you arrive (if you land at, say, midnight). 2) recreate the rituals of home as much as you can. for me, that means my extensive (and exhausting) seven to nine step skincare routine every night. 3) I tend not to take pills. I do try, instead, to wear myself out during the day. whether that means sightseeing, shopping (whee!), or family time, I try to max out my energy on day one so I sleep well. happy travels!
oh dear. I went through a phase like the one you’re talking about in my early twenties (and all throughout college, if we’re being honest). it was hard to break out of the cycle because, well, what girl doesn’t love to shop? now, though, I have a much more pragmatic approach to shopping. I really (try to) take time to think about the things I’m buying, asking myself how and whether they fit into my wardrobe, am I buying it just because it’s inexpensive, and will I still be obsessed with it in three weeks, three months, or three years from now? for your situation, though, first of all, anything you haven’t worn yet and that you’re ‘meh’ about (the items that don’t make your heart race thinking about them), return them. like, now. secondly, I think you have to ask yourself why you’re in a shopping funk—are you stress-shopping because of school or family? are you competitive-shopping because you’re comparing yourself to friends? spend some time thinking on that, and whether there’s a way to cut whatever it is that’s triggering the spending out—or at least reduce exposure to it. you will be happier, your closet less packed, and your bank account will thank you!