Model's Diary

Victoria Maisak: Back To Seoul

vikamaisak_mainIt’s been more than a full year since my previous trip, but here I am. After leaving the airport and buying a bus, I try to connect to wifi but it is impossible. I then let the music from my headphones fill my mind. I try not to have any expectations… is that even possible? I enjoyed my last model visit and I’m curious to see what I can expect this time.

The bus dropped me off at the hotel after one and a quarter hours on the road. A big black car pulled up almost immediately. It’s for me. Two of my managers are in the car and I know the driver, which is great. It’s as if I have never left the city. They take me to my apartment and help me carry the suitcases. Then they say, “See you soon”, as I only have an hour before I need to leave for the casting.back to seoul

I am trying to get acquainted with the girls who are in the living area, but it is not working. The fatigue from the long drive is evident. Last winter, we sat at the same bar counter in Shanghai and chatted. It is always nice to see people you have met before, even if they only appear once a year. This is also one of the challenges of the models’ lives, the lack of stability and loneliness. It’s strange to feel surrounded by so many people but also all alone.

The room I will be living in for the next 2 months isn’t very big. It has two beds but I am currently alone. The second girl will arrive later. This type of apartment is something I’m used to. Last time, I lived in a larger apartment where my friends and I would meet to play games or just chat. This time, I didn’t have to ask girls “what?” where? how?”back to seoul

Our apartments have three bedrooms: two are doubles and one is quadruple. Two bathrooms, a combined living room and kitchen are also available. Charlady visits once a month. The agency has five total apartments: three for boys and two for girls. About 30 models live there.

After a quick shower, I changed into a “model’s dress code”: a black gown. I threw away my heels in the bag. Models can wear anything, but they prefer black and shapes that are tight. My Korean agent sent an email to me before I arrived with instructions on how to pose, what to bring with me, and how to apply makeup. She also told me what to wear to castings.back to seoul

Just 10 minutes from my apartment, I will be heading to the agency with the girls. When I arrive at the agency, it is clear that I don’t know anyone. The team has grown and changed significantly during the time I was away. The people are still friendly and very nice. They gave me a bankcard so that they could transfer $100 of my weekly pocket money. In Korea, agencies do not give cash out in hand. It is easier to use a bankcard than coins. However, there is no way to check your balance or withdraw money. So, at the end, you have to cross your fingers and hope that the amount you pay is enough.

The casting is now on. Seoul castings are quick and easy. The client usually chooses models and we arrive with clothes already measured. Sometimes we’re asked to pose and sometimes we’re just photographed at full height. When the client wants to view all the model at the agency there are castings that take place. It can take a lot of time but you can still talk with the guys, make tea, read or sit on a chair.back to seoul

The girls are often immersed in thought during the trips. They may be thinking about their home, jobs, or other things. Sometimes they will turn up the music and sing along. Other times, they simply enjoy talking. I enjoy talking to our managers and bookers because you can learn a lot about a country, its culture and people.

It’s always been a joy to work in Korea. I love it. The modeling in Korea is generally similar to that of Spain and Japan. Clients are friendly and relaxed and always bring delicious food and coffee. Some times, they allow you to keep the clothes that were worn during the photoshoot. The designer let me choose any piece from the collection that we shot last year. Although the clothes weren’t really my style, I still appreciated the gesture.

back to seoulAfter castings I head to the shop. I am shocked by the prices. Everything seems to be so expensive. You get used to the prices and by your second visit you know where you can find them cheaper.

You receive an email every evening with your casting schedule and the details of the job for the next day. We have about 4-5 castings a day. They rarely begin before 10 am, so we can sleep well and sometimes even make it to the gym in time. After receiving such a notification, I go to sleep and take some time to reflect and prepare for the next day. I’m happy to be in Seoul again!back to seoulback to seoulback to seoulback to seoulback to seoul

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