Interview with Victoria Fairbrother
A conventional view of a career in modelling is that, like a professional sport, it needs to start early. In fact, the earlier, the better.
However, there are always exceptions to the rule. Victoria Fairbrother found doors weren’t opening for her when she first tried to become a model.
Now, at age 34, she’s got a hectic diary, doing shoots and shows with some of the UK’s best photographers and hair stylists.
Revive Magazine asked her about modelling and making a success of something later in life than the industry norm.
When did you first start modelling?
“I started at 21, which could be considered quite old really. I’d wanted to be a model at 14 but received lots of rejections from agencies, and I wasn’t sure how to get a portfolio together.”
Victoria realised that the tingling in her tummy every time she looked at a billboard or in a magazine was not going to go away.
“I tried again, starting with promotional work, and doing my best to network wherever possible, until eventually, I broke into the modelling world, without an agent, working freelance for many years.”
How do you measure success as a model?
“Well, differently now. But I have had some amazing experiences. I was once flown out first class to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, with two other models. The assignment lasted two weeks. It was unbelievable. I felt blessed to have been asked.”
Victoria recalls the incredible feeling she had when she was booked for a five-page spread in a national photography magazine for the first time.
“I’d never done anything like it before. It felt extremely satisfying.”
Since then she has gone on to appear in many international publications, but for her, the real value lies in the people she gets to work with.
“Some of the best pictures I’ve ever had taken have never been accepted for submission, but we had the best time creating them.”
What makes you care so deeply about modelling?
“To be honest, I’ve been very up and down about my feelings for the industry as a whole. Satisfaction used to come from the nice figure in my bank account, but now, in my thirties and a mother to twins, my motivation comes from still being able to do it, that I still get bookings from contemporary designers and companies. This feels great.”
Are there difficulties for you combining being a model with being a mother?
“Modelling is almost impossible with children! In fact, for the first few years after giving birth, I didn’t model at all.”
At the time, Victoria felt shattered and lost her confidence in modelling. Over time, however, she realised how much she missed it.
“I also felt I was losing my identity. So I decided to go for it again. I surprised myself how quickly it took off.”
Victoria contacted a photographer she had worked with, Toria Brightside, who had set up an agency, and explained the situation to her.
“Toria was amazing and embraced the fact that I was older, with a family, and was, therefore, representative of real women. Now I can enjoy working while dropping the boys off at school then picking them up afterwards and spending the evening with them.”
How do you stay in shape?
“Well, I run around after the boys on a daily basis, putting the house back together! I walk our dog, Quentin, for about two miles every day, and I try to get to the gym three times a week, though this can take a back seat when I’m busy.”
What are the pitfalls of being a model?
“There are challenges, like having to maintain a certain weight. I do have an understanding agent, though, who knows that life has its ups and downs and that you can’t be the same size forever.”
Victoria is fortunate to work for a relaxed agency, which helps her to stay body-confident.
“VauHaus represents women of all shapes and sizes, which I love. The most pressure comes from me, and is probably unnecessary.”
Another pitfall is that it is hard to make real friends.
“Many women seem to feel threatened if you tell them you’re a model. I am a genuine, loyal person, but I don’t always get the chance to show this, which is sad.”
What’s the difference between the younger you and who you are now?
“When I was younger, I didn’t know my own mind or know what decisions to make. I’m still generally an anxious person now, with a huge desire to please people, but I wish I’d been mentally stronger then. I have spent time regretting earlier modelling decisions, but with the support of my amazing husband David, and the VauHaus agency, I can take ownership of my previous mistakes and move forward confident in my decisions.
Finally, what advice would you give women wanting to model who might be starting out later, as you did?
“There’s definitely work out there. You need to find an agent that understands what you’re about and build a good relationship with them.”
VAUHAUS IS A MODEL AND CREATIVE AGENCY BASED IN MANCHESTER & LONDON.
You can find Victoria’s portfolio on www.vauhaus.co.uk
Model @victoria.fairbrother at @vauhausagency // Photographer @toriabrightside
Makeup @karolinawojcikmua // Styling @kcoppinstylist
We strive for forward-thinking in high fashion aesthetics and innovation in agency ethics. www.vauhaus.co.uk