• Cherelle Mukoko

HOW I MADE THE FASHION INDUSTRY WORK FOR ME

Updated: Feb 1

The photos of me in this post are when I was at my slimmest, yes I thought I looked great and yes I was praised by many for my body, but mentally and emotionally I could not do it anymore.



The modelling industry is a hard and competitive rollercoaster, that was before I took control and realised, hold up! nobody is in control of me except ME! I don't have to accept jobs from brands that don't appreciate me for who I am, money isn't everything and if someone has an issue with me then well thats not my problem.



I remember the days I wished to become a VS model, I mean what model doesn't want to have those wings? I told myself I would get as skinny as physically possible even if that was not my natural body type. I wanted validation so bad from top agencies and top brands and I didn't realise the impact it was having on my mental health, until one day it hit home how badly damaged my mental and physical health was.



After some heavy reflection on my modelling career I realised I did still have a passion for it. I love getting dressed up and I love the beautiful imagery I get to create (sometimes lol) and then I asked myself why are models so afraid to say the word NO? no I don't want to accept that job, no the fee is too low, no, no, no just no.

I have a voice and I needed to take back power and control of my life and when I did I was getting booked for Burberry, Revlon, Estee Lauder just to name a few and then went on to be signed to world renowned agency Next Models in Canada, who knows VS runway may still be on the cards if they want me as I am.


Here are 5 tips to take back control whilst navigating the fashion industry.


1. REFLECT

Ask yourself is this the industry for me? Does it align with who I am and my values? If the answer is yes, then ask yourself, are you being authentic on your journey? am I doing this to please others or myself?


2. EMBRACE YOURSELF

Maybe being in the industry made you feel as though you couldn't embrace your flaws, made you feel as though you had to be perfect to be accepted, erase these thoughts from your mind, easier said than done but give yourself the love you deserve.


3. HAVE FAITH

Just because one job wasn't right for you doesn't mean another won't come along. In the past Ive been so disappointed to have missed out on opportunities because I was not the right measurements for a client, but I always told myself it was not meant to be and that something better would come around and it always did. Trust the process.


4.MAKE THINGS CLEAR

Remember models, influencers and freelancers in the fashion industry you are SELF EMPLOYED! key word SELF, which means my friends, you make the rules. I make it clear to every agency I join the sort of clients I want to work with and what I am comfortable doing. This is your image as well as a brands so you have to make what you are willing to do and accept very clear. I have done some jobs in the past I absolutely regret but I have learnt from my mistakes at least.


5.DONT WORRY

I know it's a slippery slope sometimes when putting your'e foot down, you don't want to seem difficult or have a bad name in the industry, this is time to go back to point number one and reflect. Why is it deemed difficult because we don't feel like an assignment aligns with us? It is your human right to do what makes you happy, do not worry about turning down assignments, the client would be much more happy knowing you are giving your 100% effort than producing half hearted results and most of all you will be a lot more content knowing you genuinely love the brand.


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