Modeling During a Pandemic

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Set your sights on new opportunities during lockdown


As this “annus horribilis” (Latin for “horrible year” as used by Queen Elizabeth the Second in her 1992 speech to describe the worst year of her forty-year reign, during which she saw the marriages of three of her children crumble under intense public scrutiny, and her home at Windsor Castle go up in flames!) 2020, draws to a close, the world looks back in shock at what must be the most surreal year in history. Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or domicile, our lives have been turned upside down by the pandemic crisis. It has been a roller coaster ride scarred by hardship and tragedy for many and amazing survival and silver lining experiences for others. At this point there is no happy ending in sight and it is still impossible to predict the future.

The modeling world has been severely affected. Models cannot travel internationally because of lockdown and quarantine restrictions. Some Fashion Weeks have been cancelled and others have been held without celebrities lining the runways, or the parties which normally accompany these extravaganzas. Other businesses related to modeling have been put on hold.

There have been uplifting moments and silver linings, however. In Tampa, Florida, where I live, spirits soared when the Brady family came to town. Stunning international super model, Brazilian Gisele Bündchen and her NFL quarterback icon husband, Tom Brady brought the world spotlight with them when they came. The former New England Patriots star signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March of this year. This stemmed talk of the lockdown. Then, in October, the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning ice hockey team (also known as the Bolts) brought the coveted Stanley Cup home to delirious fans and many aspiring models attended the meet and greet parties. Once again, all talk focused on this awesome achievement. For a time, this was a welcome diversion. Soon, however, conversation returned to the crisis and the future.

I talked to model agents around the world and they are ready and waiting to forge ahead as soon as restrictions are lifted. I have known international scout, Mariko Tatsumi for many years. She has grown up in the business and is Vice President of the family owned Visage model agency in Osaka, Japan, and Visage LA in Los Angeles, where she lives. Mariko is indefatigable in her efforts to scout new models and launch their careers around the world.

We discussed the effects the pandemic crisis is having on the industry, specifically in Japan. She told me, “Tokyo cancelled Fashion Week because of the coronavirus. Models are not accepted there at the moment, and there is a 14-day quarantine in place for anyone who arrives. We have always used masks in Japan and hospitals have always required visitors to use sanitizers before entering. We practice social distancing and are very disciplined with precautionary measures. The market is slow, but we are all prepared to get back to work as soon as we can. I check the coronavirus statistics constantly.”

I asked Mariko what advice she would give to aspiring models sitting out the pandemic. “Nothing in the area of requirements has changed. Concentrate on your shape and healthy eating habits. Learn as much as you can about your career and the business. Be prepared when the opportunities come.”


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