By: Meara Khanna
With New York Fashion Week in the rear view, models are looking for new ways to self-innovate and define themselves more than ever. The ways in which we’re now delivering fashion are innovating and diversifying. The modelling industry, in particular, is seeing this kind of change. Whether it’s a career choice or a side passion, social media platforms like Instagram are giving models an opportunity to create and showcase their work.
I spoke with two models, doubling as Performance Actors with the Ryerson School of Performance. Hannah Krostewitz and Blessing Adedijo made it clear that the modelling world is becoming one where models are speaking for themselves now more than ever.
Q: How did you get your start in modelling?
Adedijo: When I moved to Toronto, I made friends who are photographers and they asked me if I would like to shoot with them. It snowballed from there.
Krostewtiz: In the latter half of my second year of acting at Ryerson, I needed some money on the side. I didn’t have time for retail or restaurants, so my good friend suggested I do some modelling. I paid attention to calls going out and networked with some people I knew in Toronto who were already a part of that industry. I did a shoot in that friend's apartment and from there, I got a gig in a wedding magazine.
Q: What have/has been your favourite or memorable moment/moments so far, if any?
Adedijo: Meeting talented and creative people. I really enjoy networking and connecting with like minded artists.
Krostewitz: Definitely the gig for the wedding magazine “Wedluxe”. It was fun to play the part of a bride for a day.
Q: Do you have any set goals for yourself in modelling that you’ve achieved or hope to achieve?
Adedijo: Not really, as modelling is not my passion, but more of a thing I do on the side. I guess if I were to have a concrete goal it would be to keep meeting interesting and talented people, and to work with photographers and makeup artists that have new ideas.
Krostewitz: So far, modelling has been a very casual thing that I pick up whenever the opportunity arises. Hopefully, when I graduate, I can find myself an agent who will help me establish myself more as an actor and model and I can use modelling to become comfortable in front of a camera.
Q: There’s been a lot of attention recently on the need for more equality in workplaces. Do you feel these issues are present in modelling as well? If yes, how so?
Adedijo: Yes. I strongly believe that. I won’t name names, but I had a shoot with a local Toronto photographer that left a bad taste in my mouth. I couldn’t shoot with any male photographers for a year after it happened because it made me so uncomfortable. There are many models who feel they have to give those who have more power or influence in the industry anything they want, because these people abuse their power. It’s already a very challenging industry and these experiences are such a norm that models and industry professionals are so desensitized to it sometimes. The #Me-Too movement is a much-needed reminder and call to action.
Krostewitz: Although I’m not fully emerged in the industry, I find that the idea of image is becoming much more inclusive than what it used to be. It’s not great yet. I hope to God one day it will be equal. But the idea of a “role model” is starting to expand beyond the ideal Victoria’s Secret model. The people I have worked with and surrounded myself with just really want to capture life, in all forms.
Q: Have you felt accepted in the industry so far?
Adedijo: Yes. I am a minority, so there are limitations I face but nothing I haven’t dealt with before and that won’t stop me. Generally, I feel very accepted. I think I am lucky to live in Toronto, which is statistically the most multicultural city in Canada, so I think that plays a part as well.
Krostewitz: So far, I have felt very accepted in the industry. Like acting, it’s cutthroat. But I choose to work with people who have worldviews that are open, fair and accepting. I’m sure my opinion may change through experiences with an agent. But for now, I stand on my own as a young woman who wants to tell stories through a lens.
Q: Do you have a style you’ve been gravitating towards lately?
Adedijo: I’m a really firm believer in simple and timeless cuts that can be paired with anything. My style is really about efficiency, effortlessness, and elegance. That means for me, clean lines, quality material, and flattering design. I am not drawn to trends just because they’re popular but rather if they match my vibe.
Q: Any inspirations or people you admire in your line of work?
Krostewitz: Ladies from the past like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn. Margot Robbie. I aspire to take photos that capture a moment, it’s not about my body for me. I think it’s important to stand by what you are supporting and promoting. I just did a shoot for a brand that supports recycling. To me, that’s everything. I’m big into art that will send a message. In saying that, I’m a broke student and money is money but I would never do something that creates controversy, or something I firmly don’t believe in.
Self-creativity through social media is giving people the opportunity to create their own careers, or in this case, their own side hustle.