Where do the models go after fashion week? Model.Live, the never-ending web documentary, stays with its subjects to the bitter end. Austria, the beautiful Dominican who was 14 (until she signed with IMG!) has had a tough show season. The overt racism of the industry, her comically unhelpful mother agent/chaperone, Socrates McKinney, and the relentless travel schedule left her looking worn out and strangely sad at castings that rarely led to jobs. At home in Santo Domingo for its fashion week, Austria is aglow with happiness. Until she remembers she has to go back to New York and get to work again. Clip above, and recap, after the jump.
Austria books 12 shows at Dominican Moda. For a small fashion week, that's a blockbuster act, and the irony is that a girl who's worked internationally, like Austria, can because of that patina skip to the top of the local payscale. To be sure, it's a fish/pond question—nobody, least of all Austria herself, is under any illusion that opening and closing shows for designers whose profile on the world circuit is nil will do much for her career—but it's nice to think that in addition to getting to eat her mother's cooking, our girl is probably making more money this week than she did in a month of nonstop hustling to book shows that pay models like her only in clothes. This episode also mentions some of the economic issues that encourage models like Austria to put up with the industry's caprices and demands at an age when others are pondering high school class offerings. Shortly after finishing her show season, Austria books a campaign (the client isn't named) in New York City. Socrates McKinney, ever diplomatic, lets slip that her pay rate for the day was $9,000. In the Dominican Republic, unemployment hovers around 15%, and 42% of the population lives below the poverty line. To even have the chance to earn more than the average annual income of an adult in your country in a single day is not something one can easily turn down. Even if, given her recent expenses and consequent debt—rent at agency apartments, that car service she used in London, her composite cards, plane tickets, food, assorted MetroCards and cartes oranges, photo tests and portfolio pictures, etc—I'm sure that Austria's payment for this job went entirely to IMG. I, and most other girls of first-world birth, generally model because it's the most interesting of our present options. It's sobering to remember that there are plenty of girls who model because they have few other options at all. Earlier: Vogue's 'Model.Live': "Shows Don't Even Pay. At All. Zero. Zip." Vogue's 'Model.Live': "Don't Change, Just Improve" Vogue's 'Model.Live': "Everybody's So Sorry, And They Love Me, But Everybody Wants Cato." Vogue's Model.Live: "Maybe The Clients Call You, Maybe They Don't. It's Just Like A Guy." Vogue's Model.Live: Crap Instructions From A Casting Agent Vogue's Model.Live Sets New Online Series Record For Time Taken To Jump The Shark Vogue's Model.Live: The New York Fashion week Hustle Begins Vogue's Model.Live: Models Are Strange, When You're An Agent Vogue's Model.Live: Castings Can Really Be A Grind Vogue's Model.Live: Don't Get Famous, And Other Gems Of Parental Wisdom Points For Effort: Vogue Reality Series About Modeling Surprisingly Realistic, A Little Boring Related: Model.Live Episode 12 [Vogue.tv]