Being a model was some kind of mystery. Who got to be the one people liked? I didn’t think of myself as pretty. My long limbs, I felt, got in the way. I tripped and stumbled a lot, sometimes at those first castings and sometimes on the runway. Often, I wore the wrong thing and would get into trouble. My voice was quiet, I was afraid I’d say the wrong thing. Anytime I got a job or someone made a fuss, I thought, ‘Little old me?’ I tried to let them mould me into the person they wanted me to be. It took a long time; I was not as fast as the others. I would cry sometimes at the agency because I didn’t understand what they meant when they told me to clean up my look. They would say, ‘You need to look glamorous, you need to be chic and dress a little sexy, add some va-va-voom!’
The only thing I had was my photography. I instinctively knew this was something I wanted to document. This experience I couldn’t put into words held a future out in front of me like a carrot. Taking photos, I learnt, was something I could use to connect with people. If I wanted to be someone’s friend, I would ask if I could take their picture. The girls liked me because I was one of them. They could be themselves, they didn’t have to be sexy or glam. Photography gave me direction and purpose. Maybe I would’ve been a better model had I not cared so much about this thing that felt like rebellion. But to me, the success of my career is these photographs and the places they’ve brought me to to be able to make my film.