Every now and again at Beat Magazine HQ something drops into our inbox that we just weren’t expecting. Something that makes us go “Hmm, that’s interesting”, something that makes us ponder for a moment whether we’ve come across something like it before, or something that causes a little smile to creep across our collective (and immensely attractive) faces as our way of thinking shifts just a little.
A short note from Models For was one of those moments, a little hello from out of the blue that made us sit up, and resulted in this short interview.
..oh and our picture editor was very happy too 😉
Hi, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Victoria and I’m the campaign manager for Models For - a small charity based in Bolton that helps children from all over the UK.
Our models travel around the UK raising money by attending events - from football matches to cage fights and music festivals - as well as doing photo shoots and features in magazines and for websites and radio, to raise awareness for our campaign and to get as many events booked in as possible!
We’ve worked at some massive events over the past year. We covered lots of the MMA events, the Amir Khan fight in Sheffield, the Price v Thompson fight in Liverpool, we supplied the girls for the Enfusion Live fight at the Indigo2 in London and we even had a few girls at the Sunrise 2 Sunset festival in Blackpool.
At the fighting events the girls offer there services as ring girls for the events and then during the interval and at the end of each event they then collect any donations for the charity.
How did you come to be involved in Modelsfor?
Models For was actually my concept. After attending a few charity balls with some of my model friends I really wanted to do something different that hadn’t been done, to raise money for the children’s charities that really needed help raising money!
I sat down for a few days going over all different ideas and then eventually came up with Models For Campaign.
I put out a casting to find some models to join the campaign and in February 2013 we had our first photo shoot. Since then more and more models have been involved with the campaign, but we still have a lot of the original models, which is really nice!
We see ourselves as a little family now!
Which charities are you raising money for and why?
We set out to raise money for different childrens charities and so far have managed to help around five, but at the minute we are solely raising money for the childrens charity Wipe Your Tears. It is such a wonderfull charity and the people involved are so nice that we really enjoy being able to help them in such a massive way!
This year we’ve pledged to raise £30,000 and are just about to reach the £5,000 mark.
How many models are involved now?
We currently have twenty models involved with the campaign, but we’re holding interviews right now and will hopefully take on another five new models to help cover the demand!
What sort of reaction have you had?
The reaction has been amazing, we’re blown away by how much support we’re getting and how much money we’ve raised! It’s been a dream come true for everyone involved.
The figures speak for themselves, since we started we’ve raised nearly £20,000. We’re attending events every weekend and event organisers are booking our girls time and time again!
The models are not just amazing models and gorgeous, but they’re all lovely girls and everyone is really happy with everything we do!
Ring Girls are usually seen but not heard, how have people responded to you’re having an agenda?
Most people have been really great and obviously we have managed to raise a lot of money! But as is the nature of the business we’ve had a few words with some rude people, but that’s to be expected in an environment fuelled by alcohol and testosterone!
Then again, all of the girls know how to handle themselves and the security staff at all the events make sure they keep a close eye on us, which is always lovely!
Do you think that the all-female nature of the charity makes it different?
I definitely think that the fact we are all females makes a difference, It certainly helps with the collections. Most of the events we attend are male dominated environments, which means they they are more easily approached by a woman. It also makes them more generous, I think.
It feels like there is a female empowerment message in your work. Do you feel that?
Definitely. I think we have taken something that some people view as a bit seedy and we have totally given it a re vamp! I’ve definitely felt a difference in the way people approach us at events from the start of the campaign to now!
People know what we are doing and that we are only there for the children and I believe it has given a new spin on the industry! We feel empowered to be able to do something so amazing, and to help so many brave children really gives you a buzz!
How do you see the charity growing in the future?
I just see us taking on more and more models and hopefully organising more and more events. We’re planning to arrange charity auctions and other types of events such as fashion shows in the future. If every year we can raise more than the last then that will make me a happy woman!
Favourite moment so far?
It would have to be at Christmas when we did a toy drive for all of the children we’d helped over the year! It was amazng to be able to drop off all the prezzies we’d donated and collected!
It’s has brought us really close together as a group of women. We are all extremely close, not just a random group of models, but really good friends! We support each other in ever aspect of our lives and it’s great to be a part of this and to have gained so many new friends!!
I cant wait to see what this year has to offer for the campaign!!!
You mentioned feeling closer as a group of women as a result of the campaign. Is the work otherwise lonely/isolated and what do you think has changed?
I think the modelling industry and ring girling can be quite bitchy and cold at times, which does make it sometimes isolating and lonely. Some of the girls in the industry are quite false, which I guess is why some of the girls in the campaign come and go whilst others have stuck with us.
It’s really nice that we have managed to find such a good bunch of girls. Everyone is really helpful, but also just very humble, and that’s very rare in this industry! When we find a new girl like that we grab on to her and help her as much as we can!
I was reading an interesting article in Sunday Times Style recently about positive messages for young girls. Modelling is often seen as presenting a superficial value system to young girls (I’m not saying this is necessarily correct), your campaign reveals that there is of course more under the surface, but doesn’t seek to change any existing stereotypes and assumptions. What are your thoughts on this?
I’m not sure that it’s the modelling itself that presents a superficial value system to young girls. Personall
y, I believe that it’s the air brushing and re-touching that warps and alters young girls values and sense of self.
A lot of young girls admire the stars and models who they see printed in the magazines, and compare themselves to the pictures that they see. But of course the truth of the situation is that the models and stars themselves never have and never will look like the images on the shelves. The end product is made up from what the editors perceive as beautiful, and this is what’s most harmful to young women.
Many people don’t actually understand what true modelling is and how demanding it is! You have to eat well and look after your body and your face as well as making sure you’re in great shape. The art of modelling itself - knowing your angles - how best to position your body - is something that takes time and experience to learn!
I know, and have always known, that there is a lot under the surface of every model and hopefully our campaign can bring this awareness to the general public and help young girls see that there is more to the industry than just having your picture taken. To be a great model you also have to be a great person!
You can follow Models For on Twitter at @models_for or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org