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“I wanna be a model but…”

I wanna be a model but …  I don’t know if I’m beautiful enough / thin enough / how to go about it…

Modeling didn’t make me rich or famous, but it allow me to live in Paris, Vienna and Tokyo, meet inspiring people, discover my creative side through photography, fashion, and have a lot of fun. Those experiences have given me some understanding of the modelling world, and tips that might be useful to offer those aspiring to that dream.

From time to time I get calls and emails from young girls, generally friends of my younger sisters or cousins, asking me for advice on how to get started in the modeling world. This is recently email captures the position that I shared almost a decade ago…

Hi gorgeous

I’m not quite at my goal weight yet but my boyfriend and family seem to think that when i do i might have a chance at being good at modelling…

I was wondering if you could help me figure out how the HECK I go about getting into such a thing?!

I’ve got a photographer friend who was going to take photos with me anyway as I asked her to for when I lost all the weight so I’m hoping that might be enough for a small portfolio but I’m not sure whats needed.

I don’t think I’m “runway”material – clothing and bikinis type modelling is more my style. Photographic modelling?

Anyway, I know its totally out of the blue but if you could at least tell me what process I need to go through I would be super grateful!

Oh and please don’t tell anyone I’m looking into this – I have no idea whether I’m attractive enough for this so I don’t want to get laughed at.

By the way your photos are AMAZIIIINNNGGG… just quietly…

Thanks so much,

To answer Jessica and anyone in a similar position, let’s start with a few questions that will have a strong bearing on the advice to follow:

1. Why do you want to be a model? For money, for fame, for fun, for an archive of hot pics? The answer to this will have a strong bearing on the advice to follow.

a) for money?

If you want to model for money, then my first instinct is to say “forget it.” But just because I didn’t get rich from it but that doesn’t mean you won’t! There is money to be made in modelling, but in fashion modelling the good money is made by those at the top. From memory, agencies take 20% of your money, as well as the 20% they add on to charge the client. Other forms of modelling may be more lucrative, I’m not sure. Here’s the thing, fashion editorials, even magazine covers, often pay very little – from zilch to $1000, the latter if you’re Gwyneth Paltrow. People do this for the recognition and prestige. Runways pay big if you’re at the top, but anywhere between nuda and $500 if you’re not.

It takes an investment of at least a couple of years to get a working portfolio and start catching the well-paid jobs. After I got this far, with a few magazine tears and what-not, I quit to go back to uni. I do have friends that found a niche, for example hand modelling believe it or not, and make good money from it (although it’s still supplemented with other part-time work). I made enough to cover rent in Paris and Vienna, to repay my portfolio costs, and supplement a few holidays in Europe not to mention a free trip to Mallorca for a commercial job. If you are lucky the money you make from modelling will be enough to pay your rent and bills, but you do get lots of freebies and perks from living like a local in foreign countries to free travel, clothes, dinners, VIP parties etc. etc. it’s great but not a life-long career kinda thing.

b) for career?

In general modelling is a short career – girls start as young as 14, and so your competition keeps getting younger as you grow older and less employable. My stint somewhat started at 22 when I started building my portfolio in Japan and doing hair jobs (I arrived with long blonde hair), TV commercials and a lingerie show that was my dream come true. I was 23 when I went to Paris and started what I’d classify as “the real deal” ie fashion shows and test shoots with semi-famous photographers.

Just when my portfolio was filing up with tearsheets I stopped. I was 24 and a half. It was time to “get a real job” (said my Dad) and I after some time caring for my Opa I went back to uni in fear of getting to 30 and with forced retirement being left with a bunch of photos and memories but no sense of self outside of modelling. Now I’m almost 30 and have done a lot more with the last five years than I would have had I returned to Europe to keep on. It would have been a fun half-decade though!!! I digress.

The important thing for you to know is that when I was in the industry I heard whispers of models getting to 30 then turning to stripping or marrying someone rich – neither appealed to me so I thought better to quit while I was ahead. I’d gotten out of it what I wanted to, which was more about personal growth and a great way to travel than anything else.

c) for travel? fun?

Then for the reasons above, I highly recommend it! And definitely read the tips under the heading “Thinking outside the square” in my next post…

2. What kind of model do you think you could become? Look at magazines, TV, billboards etc, and then look at the type of modelling involved, for example:

1.    Fashion modelling (very skinny (approx stats of bust 88cm, waist 60cm, hips 90cm), tall (173cm+) – runway + fashion magazine editorials, fashion advertising, look books (showing the designer’s ranges) and show room (often week-long shifts modelling for a designer’s clients) – pay varies depending how well-known you are

2.    Swimwear/lingerie modelling – more toned/fit/sexy body, boobs and height are a plus; more smiles, not as much of this work around but pays better

3.    Catalogue modelling – pays better, more “pretty” girls than high fashion, think Target, Kmart

4.    FHM/Ralph/Sports Illustrated type modelling – more sexed up/raunchy – no idea how it pays

5.    Commercial – TVs and every day people kinda billboard ads; height and body weight not important – more important is your personality and charisma being captured on camera; uniqueness in appeal to broad audiences. Pays VERY well

6.    Plus-size modelling – bigger bodies but with striking features; no idea about pay

7.    Hair modelling; parts modelling – eg legs, hands, body, etc. more regular income can be good.

3. How much time, money and energy are you willing to invest? Starting out in modelling can be expensive. Expensive in time, money, self-esteem, and the opportunity costs of what other more long-term careers will be better for your pocket.

The more passionate you are about it, the more time and money you’ll be willing to invest, and the more likely you’ll get out of it what you want. Some girls are lucky: they’re 14, at a shopping mall and an agency approaches them, and they become the highest paid model for the next 20 years (Kate Moss).

It depends how much you want it. Imagine it happening, but be flexible about the way it happens.

Remember: there are exceptions to every rule. I like to think of life as a game – you can play by the rules, but someone made up those rules and they are always changing. Figure out what you want, go after it and have fun along the way otherwise it’s not worth it.

Now let’s consider the next step you might take… depending on the above answers. Click here for Part 2: Tips on Modelling and Where to Begin

Truth through a photoshoot

On Monday I did my first fashion shoot for the year. I was modeling my sister’s fashion line (she’s a fashion student at Sydney Tafe) with Gilbert Rossi, an amazing photographer who I’ve remained friends with over the years.

Rossi was standing about 8 metres away with a long lens, instructing me what to do. Holding myself in a ridiculously awkward position with my elbows out, one hand under a jacket hole, my feet crossed over and trying not to wobble on my ridiculously high heels, I had the most unexpected epiphany about “truth”.

You see, the photographer was seeing one version of the truth – a version edited by his lens, his lighting, his framing, and by his finger on the shutter.

But there I was, awkward as all get out, seeing and feeling a very different truth.

My sister was seeing a third version of the truth from a location of an outside observer. She could observe both my and Rossi’s truths, (seen in the photo above) and was also experiencing an entirely different truth that focused on how what she liked and didn’t like about her designs, and how she hoped they would look in the photo.

On one hand this could be judged as three relative truths: all three of us were obviously seeing a perspective of the “truth”, and each was seemingly a correct interpreting the shared reality, when one viewed at the situation from our positions.

How does this relate to the big question of the last fifty years of great thinkers: Does such a thing as an objective version of the truth also exist?

I think yes. Yes, the Truth with a capital T does exist. I think this Truth is one that encompasses all the relative truths, and more. It would come from the location an all-knowing perspective, that can completely comprehend the relative perspectives and combine them together in a bigger perspective.

Can we ever really know the Truth? I think not. Not unless we can become each of these people.

However, by learning about the other’s perspectives we can get closer to knowing the objective Truth.

Another thought I had was on the creation of the Truth. On Monday any of us could have changed the Truth, for example, I could have pulled a horrible face and created a bad photo. But experience has built a level of trust in the photographer’s perspective, so I didn’t pull a face, knowing that the temporary pain I experienced in awkward positions would be worth the photographic results.

Rossi reminded me of his perspective during the shoot, showing me a sample of the images he was capturing. This positive affirmation motivated me to hide my true feelings and create a better Truth (and better photos for my sister).

How does this apply to other situations? Well I guess when it comes to conflicting views, different understandings of reality, and the debate between modern and post-modern, it provides an analogical way to think about relative and objective perspectives.

If each party analyses their position in spatial and temporal terms – looking at where they are located, and the historical factors that brought them there; and if they do the same to understand the “other”s perspective, a dialectical relationships between the different perspectives will allow each relative position to move closer to an unattainable objective one.

The closer you can get to the objective truth depends on your ability to reflect on yourself and to empathise with others.

The more we “conscientize” as a scholar by the name of Lederarch calls it, the more we can gain awareness of our self-in-context, and others-in-context, the closer we can get to understanding the bigger context of our microcosmic-macrocosmic position: with universes seemingly existing both inside and outside our consciousness.

Some are a few images from my sister (Nicole Bennett – remember that name)’s new look book:


Photography & Copyright – Gilbert Rossi

Fashion – designed and produced by Nicole Bennett

Make up – Maria Buavo.

Featured Image:

Behind the scenes with Gilbert, taken by Nicole on my iPhone.

Side note:

Also this day I met Margaret, a 17 year old Aussie blogger who has built up an international following of her fashion blog: Pretty impressive stuff!


Early days

Some of my stuff from a few years back. Most of these are from Paris and London. I can’t hardly remember the feeling of having a shaved head… it was liberating, that’s for sure.

CITIZEN シチズン リズム時計工業 RHYTHM クロック STAR WARS スターウォーズ 電波からくり時計 KARAKURI CLOCK PREMIUM/スター・ウォーズ 黒色 4MN54
【(業務用80セット)P&G アリエールイオンパワージェル 本体1kg】
【価格交渉可】 【レビュー特典付】 仏壇 モダン仏壇 家具調仏壇 IEBT-7302 18号 タモ ダーク色 ミドル色 ダウンライト付 リビング仏壇 【RCP】
【マルニ木工】 地中海 スリッパラック 5446-00-0000
大阪京菓ZRハート 10G クルクルジャンケン〔312円〕×192個 +税 【送料無料(北海道?沖縄は別途送料)】【2k】
浜本工芸 No.6000タイプ 天板 [品番:No.6004TIW100D60] (幅100cm, 奥行き60cm, ナチュラルオーク色)
ウォーターヒヤシンスシリーズ 【Wyja】ウィージャ オットマンCセット「1P+3P+オットマン」
『 ティッシュケース 24点セット 』ティッシュボックス ティッシュカバー ティッシュBOX ティッシュボックスカバー ティッシュ入れ おしゃれ かわいい 可愛い シンプル アジアン 四角 スクエア
【引違い窓】【複層ガラス-3mm】【結露防止・防犯・防音・節電・省エネ・断熱に!】【YKKap】エコ内窓「プラマードU」 W1700mm×H2000mmまでサイズオーダー(複層[ペア]ガラス-3mm)
(HARA CHAIR) ドクター ハラチェア

A short biography

Who we are depends greatly on our biography. This is a short summary of the time I have spent on this planet – providing some background to where my philosophies and theories are coming from.


I spent my first two years in Jakarta, Indonesia and traveling the world. The adventurous nature of my Dutch mum and Aussie dad seeded in me a passion for travel and I think the lovely Indonesian ladies who looked after me as a baby probably seeded in me a love for people and cultures.

IMG_30281984- 1999

Returning to Sydney my sister was born and I spent the next 15 years in the Northern Beaches attending a small Christian school in the same suburb, working as a kitchen hand in a local retirement village, and enjoyed a somewhat middle class Australian childhood.

1999- 2002

At 17 (the youngest in my grade) I followed my Dad’s advice and went straight to the closest university to my house and for the next three years I completed by Bachelor of Business (Distinction!) but again, with majors in Marketing and IT, I really didn’t feel I learned that much.

2002- 2004

I was 20 when I finished uni and after a couple of years working hard and saving up money to “see the world”.


osaka show

After a short holiday in Thailand I landed in Japan where I stayed for the year and a half that followed. Here I taught English, “acted” in TV shows, short films & commercials, and did my first on-stage parade – in lingerie!

This was a dream come true. When hairdressers turned my hair yellow, green and purple I shaved it off and was surprised when this opened an opportunity to further my dreams – in Paris!


I modeled in Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Majorca, and L.A. And in-between jobs I traveled around London, Barcelona, Hamburg, Munich, to name a few. I met wonderful people and gained a new perspective and appreciation for life.

Feeling homesick for family, mangoes, beaches and everything else that comes with the Australian summer I made a rash decision: I cancelled my plans for Europe, canceled my return trip to Tokyo, and booked a ticket home, turning up on mum’s doorstep on Christmas Eve.


With an apartment in Tokyo and modeling agencies awaiting my return in Europe, I had some decisions to make. My Dad was in my ear with the typical fatherly “time to get a real job” speech and approaching 25 years old I (nearing retirement age for models) I had a quarter-life crisis and thought for a moment he was right. Selling advertising space for fashion magazines sounded like a good job that involved both but at the interviewer it was one little comment the interviewer made that changed my life.

He said, “And you know what the BEST thing about this job is? When you see the digits on your bank statement!!!” He said it with such enthusiasm. My insides curdled and I knew it wasn’t for me. But if not this, then what?


Photography? Fitness instructing? That would be a good life. My Opa (grandfather) at 91 years old had a fall and I offered to move in as I “skilled up” as I called it.

I assisted some fashion photographers, did part-time modeling in Sydney and became a qualified Pilates instructor.

I also got lost on wikipedia and in library books – teaching myself the things I’d either forgotten from my schooling, or never been taught. I was teaching myself a lot about science, history and religion – revisiting my childhood “faith” in the Christian doctrines, trying to reconcile it with my developing understanding and experience with the peoples and cultures of the world.



Realising I was never going to join the corporate world (much to my Dad’s disappointment) I took the time to go back to university and skill up more formally. Then I came across “Peace and Conflict Studies” at Sydney University, applied for a MA which I completed over the two years, making use of uni holidays to travel South America, which I am using to write a book about travel, life, love and contemplating the future.


I love learning so much that I submitted a PhD proposal on Narratology, Panentheism and Peace to start mid-2010. Prior to that I worked on submitting journal articles to get publication “points” and travelled to India to speak at a conference in Mumbai, do a yoga and ayurveda retreat in the hills of Coonoor, check out the Taj Mahal, and hang out in Kathmandu and Pokhara in Nepal.

This sent me on an adventure through Krakow, Poland, to speak at a “What is Life?” conference, and on to North Carolina, United States, to teach Storytelling (in Humanities) and co-teach War and Peace (cross-listed Philosophy and Political Science) at Lenoir Rhyne University in Hickory, for the second half of 2011.  Along the way I dedicated a lot of time to editing “My Brazilian… and a kombi named Betty”, for which I am awaiting the right publisher…



On the way home from the United States I spent time visiting friends and hanging out in Vancouver, and teaching Pilates and hanging out at my friend’s bar Encuentros in Granada, Nicaragua.

By the end of this trip I realised my home: Sydney. I moved into a house with the most creative, fun and intelligent people who quickly became some of my best friends and inspirations.

graduationI started part-time work as the Executive Officer of the Sydney Peace Foundation, a small not-for-profit organisation within the University of Sydney who award the annual international Sydney Peace Prize.

I finished my MPhil (a half-size PhD) in March 2014, and finally (on my fifth application) was awarded a scholarship to do a full PhD, beginning mid-2014.

2015 onwards:

Like anything worthwhile it’s a looooong journey, and a lot of work. But that’s what makes it great. As long as I’m enjoying the process I will continue this journey my whole life.

Through this little slice of cyberspace somewhere on the world wide web I offer my story as it unfolds. I share my spiritual, mental and physical adventure in quest of understanding peace, justice and my place in the universe — traveling, researching, thinking and creating.

For shits and giggles

Japanese TV shows, crazy photoshoots, short films and many more things to laugh at… can you guess which are wigs and which are not?!


Sakura emailsize

Sakura Wonderful Jet. A short satire film about flying in different classes.


How good is my Japanese! Shame they don’t have the English version up here, it’s actually kinda funny.

buchicomp copy

Buchinuki – I was Yamu-Chan (lamb) – the gaijin (foreigner) TV host-girlfriend of one of the Garage Sale comedians.


My first photoshoot – for a hair magazine. The beginning of the end of my real hair.


Test shoot Paris Hilton style…

bikiniroof2 emailsize

Yes, I really am standing where it looks like I’m standing. I’m glad there wasn’t an earthquake at that moment in time! Quite obviously my pre-backbend photo days.

DSCN5733 P1010122

Sometimes I do miss this shaved head. It was so much fun!IMGP2700

A promo gig at a motorbike expo. Gosh there were some kool bikes.





 a Russian spy in the Smap Smap TV show – what a mysterious woman I am…


Snapshot from a CASIO camera TV commercial – I never saw the final result… I wonder what they replaced the green screen with…


Slendertone – a regular Shopping Channel client… I think they got a good deal – they matched the wig to the outfit and I became many people for the price of one 🙂

it ad

The Ralph holographic magazines of the future! Magazine ad for an IT company, I think.