A few years ago I wrote a questionnaire for models asking about their work and their lives. It was research for my book, Being a Model (BAM). I planned to contact a few models I followed on Instagram and ask if I could interview them. I did end up messaging them but they didn't respond. Not surprised. My message probably got lost in the sea of messages they regularly got. If you are a writer I encourage you to be bold in your research methods.
For BAM, I wanted a realistic depiction of an emerging model in the modeling industry. I had my own ideas of what a model did, but I didn't want my ideas. I wanted real life or as close to real life as I could get within the confines of the plot. Here's my questionnaire and below it is background info for my character Aunt Marceline from my book, A Grave of Dead Roses:
Questions for Model Interviews
What was a typical day for you when you first started modeling?
What was it about modeling or fashion that made you want to become a model?
Did you have support from family and friends?
What is your living situation?
Have you heard of model apartments?
Is it true that models receive payment months after the fact?
How long is a photo shoot for you?
What type of jobs do you do?
How many do you get in a day or a week?
Have you ever considered freelance modeling?
What are some misconceptions about being a model?
For photo shoots, do you have changing rooms or do you change in front of others? Is it uncomfortable?
What goes through your mind when posing?
How did you find your style of posing?
Some models end up having to get a 2nd job because of the inconsistency of modeling jobs plus (something about payment) Have you run into that? If you get paid from Youtube, does it alleviate some of that pressure?
How realistic is it for a new model to work in a runway show for a very high-end fashion designer?
Have there been any questions about your ethnicity or background during auditions?
How did you gain confidence in front of the camera?
Have you received any negative comments about our weight or body shape?
If so, was it from photographers, or your agency?
What fun things do you do in your spare time?
For the setting, I have used Google Earth and Google images to look up cities and countries I had never visited. The setting has to be realistic. Imagine reading a book that takes place in a metropolitan city but it's described as farmland. I hope to travel to the places in my book just to make sure the setting is accurate. We as writers must bring the environment to life and paint a colorful picture in black letters.
Thank you for reading! I will do a part two to explain more of my research methods so look out for that.
*Cover photo by Dan Dimmock on Unsplash
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