Ihave a love-hate relationship with social media. Back in the old days, I could just rock up to my shoots, relax while I had my hair and make-up done, do what I’m told on set, get my pay cheque and move on to the next big thing. But these days, I’m a one-woman show. I get the same pay cheque but I’m required to do my own hair and make-up, come up with the concept for the shoot, shoot it, film it, edit it and then pray it gets those damn likes. That can keep you up at night which sounds ridiculous, until it’s the income to support your growing family.
To be honest, when social media started to blow up, I was not on board. I didn’t jump on the Instagram bandwagon until years after it became popular (I had the app, but only to filter some pictures for Facebook). As I’m not tech-savvy, having to pay attention to yet another app was just too much. I’m also somewhat of a private person and I’m quite shy when taking selfies and filming myself talking to the world. I know what you’re thinking – “You splash your whole life across Instagram now!” – but that’s what social media has done.
For shy people like myself, we now have a way to propel our careers from the privacy of our own homes. It’s entirely different from before, where I was expected to be out at nightclubs being a social butterfly, mingling and meeting clients, and generally being a stereotypical model. While I have never felt shy at work and I really come out of my shell when socialising in small groups, I was never into the partying side of my career. Nor am I one of those models that can party all night before going to a shoot and look good the next day. Trust me, no one wants to see me after a night out – more often than not, I look like I’ve stepped out of the music video for Thriller.
Now, in this new world of social media, I can be exactly where I want to be: at home doing my own thing, while still being “out there” for the world to see. It’s acceptable now – or even cool – to be the geek who cooks healthy food at home rather than the party girl, and I’ll take that any day.
Models back in the day were basically clothes hangers with a career expectancy of up to 25 years old (up to 35 if you were one of the lucky ones). Granted, there will always be a place for the clothes hangers, but to continue your career beyond your career expectancy today, you need to be so much more: authentic, creative, have a personality, and be determined to share your passions. If you’re lazy, you can forget about being a model, as now you need to work for it. Gone are the days when just having a pretty face could open doors for you.
Am I sad about this change? Hell no! This new era has opened so many doors for me, not to mention the fact that I can work at my own pace and spend more time at home with the kids.
It’s also much more creative than modelling ever was. I enjoy the creative process of some of the jobs I get now, jobs which come from all over the world without me having to physically be there for casting. This I welcome with open arms. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still slightly unsettling sharing my life with anyone who wants to follow my account, and there is no job security in this career (yes, it is my career), but there wasn’t in modelling either. All in all, the positives far outweigh the negatives, so I’ll keep sharing my knowledge and experiences with my followers as long as they come.
An Australian native of Swiss, German, Irish, Thai, Chinese and Arabic descent, Cara G is a multi-hyphenate in all senses of the word – model, TV host, co-founder of juice brand The Genie Concept, and mother of three. Follow her at @caragmcilroy.
CreditHeader image: Michelle Proctor