Phoebe Lawson. Agencies wished to send her to London and Milan for modelling assignments… but her dream was to live and work in India. Her perseverance paid off. Today she is a part of plum, prolific runway projects, International fashion campaigns and is working with Fashion Tv Talent House as Business Head.
''I have been modelling for almost 11 years now! You should never do a job which you don't enjoy and till date I'm still enjoying this career. I love to work and be busy but also like the fact that I'm my own boss and that I don't have a 9-5 schedule. As a model, each day is different and there are different jobs within modelling; it never gets boring. Yes, not having a fixed salary can be challenging during quiet seasons but this teaches you to respect money and to budget, at the same time for one simple job a model makes more than most people do in a month'' she reveals.
What is her most memorable assignment, I ask? ''My father is a producer, and the director of one of his assignments requested I audition for it. Being a shy schoolgirl, I was hesitant but when he told me the rates, it was very tempting! Treating it as a challenge, something out of the norm, I booked the job. It was one of the most dramatic auditions ever! We had to scream and scream and scream!! I felt quite liberated after that and happy! I had tried even if they didn't choose me… Lucky for me, they did. The job was a Nokia TVC for the UK. It was a long 18-hour day but a wonderful experience!'' And her most successful assignment, I continue to probe? ''Perhaps lasting in this field as long as I have! And lasting in Mumbai, without the typical dark hair and eyes look is, a success too. I'm not really sure what classifies as my biggest success because there are a few jobs that I feel are special. I have walked for most of the big designers and Fashion Weeks in India. I have also done a few films here and something very special to me is I was the face of the Italian brand Antica Satoria twice!''
Sighing, she adds, ''I love all the opportunities that come with the job. We travel a lot! Not only for on-stay contracts in other countries but also for jobs, especially in India! I love working with designers and being a part of a creative process; while shooting you are surrounded by artists and creative energy! People feel an alternative career is important but this depends entirely on the model. If you are earning millions of dollars I don't think you need something to fall back on. If you're a young girl travelling the world through your modelling assignments and not that serious about the job then yes you should always have something to fall back on and in this day and age it's important to have multiple streams of income. I currently work with Fashion Tv Talent House as Business Head so I'm very busy on a daily basis.'' So what makes her different? ''I would say frankly clients who don't know me would be booking me based on my face and physique but regular clients book me more because of my easygoing nature and work ethic. I don't have any fancy demands and I just get on with the job at hand.’' Having worked in different countries what does she feel about the modelling industry? ''It would be nice if more people respected models and the work we do and saw how hard we actually work! In India there are a lot of bad people who confuse modelling and prostitution. It's terrible how young girls and boys, especially young naive hopefuls from smaller places, are exploited! I wish I could rid the market of these creeps!''
I'm sure her fans would be keen to be acquainted with her regime. ''Diet, I'm a strict vegetarian. I don't eat dairy either. I'm lucky I prefer cleaner healthier foods! I basically eat what I like and what makes me happy. I mostly have smoothies and fresh juices with my beloved nutribullet vegetables, dal, roti and fruit. Almost everything in my house is organic. I sometimes have a weakness for certain sweet treats but am much more controlled these days! I'm trying to avoid sugar as best I can and rather have cleaner healthier delicious treats that nourish the body as well as taste delicious. Last year I injured my back so couldn't do much working out but I love going for walks and swimming; I go to the gym and also do yoga and I want to get back to kickboxing as soon as my back is better. My beauty regime is quite simple too; I only use cruelty free products and try to keep things as natural as possible. I wash or exfoliate my face, tone, moisturise and apply SPF in the day and at night I use organic rose-hip oil and a little under-eye cream after washing my face. I try to avoid wearing make up when not at work or auditions and for auditions I try keep it as minimal as possible.'' And her personal style…? ''My personal style, hmmm … I love pretty dresses! I love clothing that is feminine, classy, classic, structured at the same time I also enjoy loose, flowy organic garments. I love colours and prints. But mostly pink, white and black. I love accessories like bangles and beads, especially statement pieces! My sister often says I look like a Christmas tree!!''
What’s on her plate now? ''I'm just back from a holiday in Goa so as of now there isn't much lined up! The fashion weeks will start soon and that will keep me busy. By mid-January the holiday mode will be over and we can all be busy again ! I really wish to keep doing what I love, to enjoy each assignment, to be happy and financially free.'' Phoebe seems comfortable with her many roles. With so much on her plate how does she juggle? ''Work comes first! I try to undertake as many good campaigns as I can and politely decline work that isn't paying enough or that I wouldn't enjoy. Juggling is all about time management; friends and family have to understand the nature of the business is such that work and auditions can happen at the drop of a hat and that I'm almost like a doctor on call 24-7!'' Lastly, is there any advice she’d like to share with young aspiring models? ''My advice is to be true to yourself; don't do anything that doesn't feel right or makes you uncomfortable. Look after yourself. Treat this like a business and understand it's a job and not fun and games! If you're professional and try your best, you'll have longer innings in this highly competitive industry. Be nice. People like to work with nice people. Be patient. This industry makes you wait a lot! Take all the positive and beautiful experiences you can; you'll be presented with lovely opportunities when you model so be grateful and embrace them with open arms.'' Respect.
— JASMEEN DUGAL