This is the first part of Ali’s story, courtesy of her mother Patty (tFS user modelmom). Ali’s journal chronicles the beginning of her modeling career in Paris at 15 years old (which was in 2002). Patty’s comments are italicized and the format has been edited.
All of this story was written by Ali in a journal she kept for her English teacher. It was her homework assignment while she was away from class.
When you send your pictures into an agency you realize your chances of getting an answer are not good. When the phone rings and it’s a top agency wanting an interview, you’re still thinking this may or may not happen. When they sign you shortly after you walk into their office you start to think, OK I’m going to be a model. Your idea is that you’re going to be in local magazines and do commercial jobs for department stores. Their idea is much bigger, in fact it’s amazing.
They want to send you to Paris. They know what your dreams are and they fuel the flames. If you take a chance and go to Paris you’ll have your dreams come true, and much more, and much more. The word ‘maybe’ is never mentioned.
Two weeks later you’re on your way to Paris with your mom because you’re only 15. You arrive with too much luggage and drag the whole mess into the agency. The receptionist takes you to meet the agency head and during the conversation it comes up that you’re only 15.
Her reaction is an immediate “NO”!
Your mom says right away if that’s going to be a problem your bags are still packed and you both can return to the States…but after regaining her composure, the agent says ”Certainly not.”
Then comes all this talk about a doctor’s certificate and only working a few days a week.
In the meantime, the agent is giving your mom an address for a room where you will be staying. Room is putting it mildly….the carpet is full of holes, the twin mattresses are on the floor and the paint is coming off the ceiling. The house is occupied by wandering ninety year old lady The next day she wanders into the bathroom while you are taking a shower (there’s no curtain) and won’t leave. Shortly thereafter your mom is calling the agency to tell them that it’s not going to work.
The next day you find yourself moving into a room in a different apartment in the Red Light District of Paris, right across the street from the Moulin Rouge. You still haven’t heard from the agency and the bills are piling up for rent, food and taxi fare. You have no idea how to use the subway, but your landlord tells you it’s a much cheaper way to travel. After three days of this, modeling doesn’t look so exciting and you wish you were back home with your friends.
The next day the agency contacts you and says to come in and meet with the other agents and then sends you around Paris to a few castings and a test with a photographer. You still know nothing about the subway so more taxi fares. Paris is a big city, and the street directions are very complicated; even though you take taxis, you get lost as soon as you exit them.
Part 2 coming soon…