Working as life model in London is not always easy !


Since my arrival in the UK in the far 2011, I have always tried to do artistic work.

Sometimes I had to do also a part-time normal work to pay the bills but most of my income arrive from my artistic work.

It is not easy because there is lots of competition and some organizers in the capital are people with no respect for the work of life models.

This happens in London most of the time.

When I started in 2012 there were no many classes around and just a few models. 

It was not a popular work at that time.

Many people did not understand my work and most thought I was a crazy woman to pose naked in the middle of a room for people who were drawing my body.

But this is what I like more about my work. 

I love to know people are using their art and concentration on their canvas thanks to my body.

I am that so-called go-between…. between a creative genius and art on canvas.

But in the last few years, probably due to some London groups on FB, the work starts to become more and more popular and more classes started to be organized around the capitals.

Also, the number of life models increased, and unfortunately many were looking at this profession as an easy work where you have to sit, sleep, and be paid.

This wrong mentality of unprofessional organizers and unprofessional part-time life models devalued the work and now we are paid less than 8 years ago

In 2012 I was paid £20 per hour … now I am paid £15 per hour! 

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I must be honest.

Sometimes I am paid more, usually in West and South West London.

In the schools and in the Art academies usually, we are paid less than £15 per hour but I can understand this because many institutes are struggling with the founds of the Government.

What makes me angry instead is the work of some private organizers in the southeast and east London who offer their classes to people who model for the first time paying them like the experienced life models.

Why who is starting today should be paid like a life model who knows how to pose and have a reputation in the capital?

It is not always easy to pose.

In Winter is cold and you need to warm up your muscles before any session if you do not want to damage them.

And it is not easy to keep the same pose for a long period.

You need to be careful with the inclination of your neck, shoulder, legs, and arms.

Also, a long pose like lying down can create great pain in your body.

An experienced life model knows these secrets and never disappoints the artists in the session asking to change the pose after only  5 minutes and  tries always  difficult pose to give a difference.

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During my long career, I have also met new life models getting angry with the tutors because they were not able to do  some particular poses or even worser were no talking with the artists because of it at the end of the session…really an arrogant and snooty behavior.

We must always remember that people pay us because they want to relax and enjoy their moments doing something they love, and we need to be kind and nice with these people.

So, why some life models avoid any contact with the artists who pay for them?

And why the organizers in the capital pay these assholes like experienced life models who created instead a respectful reputation in this world of art?

Another big problem in the capital is the costs of trains, buses, and tubes.

Usually, these drawing sessions start in the evening when public transport is considered in rush hour

This means the life model must pay more the ticket to arrive at the session.

Practically a life model can work 2 hours pls other 2 hours of travel ( because in London the distance is huge ) for just £20!

In my opinion in the capital life models, the experienced ones must be paid at least £50 for two hours

I am talking about those sessions organized by private organizers in pubs in the evenings.

Obviously, if the model is booked more than 2 hours in a day the fare can be a bit less but no too much.

In my long career, I have noticed that when an organizer asks some tip for the life model, the artists are always generous if happy with her poses.

So it could be asked from the beginning a bit more expensive ticket to pay better the experienced life model.

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Another big issue in this work is connected with the payments.

Because in this work most of the time people are working without a contract and paid in cash, the organizers have all their freedom to choose the cheapest life model or their tenants like I have seen in a London group on FB the same day the Government asked to stay at home for the Covid-19 

And do not forget if someone is new is ready to work also for free to enter the circle of the drawing sessions.

So these new irregulars are stealing the work at honest and professional life models who usually do a self-assessment in January and pay taxes also on these payments in cash. 

The reality outside London is much better instead.

People are paid £12/15/20 per hour but the distances to arrive to the appointments are smaller and the cost of living is cheaper respect to London.

The experienced life models outside London are not treated at the same levels of the new models and the organizers, if they can, prefer to book who has experience. This is giving value to our profession, thank you!

Seeing the importance of this work in the artistic world, I think we should have now a union, like the actors have, to try to get the right payment for our professionalism and commitment at this nice work and keep far greedy organizers and lazy models with no professionalism.

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