Shoot Out

My dear Irisha was out rather late the other night. In fact, she did not get home until 4am. So was she out partying? Another night out on the town? No, she had a “bit part” in a film. In fact, Irena has now had quite a few modelling jobs over the last couple of years, in Guanghzou, Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Some have involved making films, while others have been photoshoots for various advertisements, such as furniture. Occasionally she has been at the opening of an exhibition or special event (as part of a sort of “rent-a-crowd”). The art exhibition thing that she did in Hong Kong was all about trying to persuade people to “invest” in some rather dodgy “artwork” and she did not enjoy doing that.

As the husband of an international model, I have learned a bit about what it is like to do some modelling work. First of all, it is a completely unreliable and precarious job, if indeed you can call it a “job” at all. You just never know when or if you will have any work. Sometimes a month or more goes by without a single agent calling her and sometimes Irena gets a couple of job offers within a few days and she has to turn down one or two of them. Another thing that goes against the glamorous image of being a model is the travelling. In China, this is not simple and straightforward. Sometimes the agent tries to help with trains and taxis, but often it all seems to go wrong. Once she gets to the “shoot”, the main thing that happens is a lot of waiting and then some more waiting. This person or that person has not turned up yet or else the shoot cannot start for some other reason. On Thursday night, for example, Irena had to travel to the end of the MTR line and then go all the way to Shekou for the actual filming. Fortunately, they did her scene first. She was the elderly “wife” of Chris, a rather handsome and glamorous French chap in his late 50s. Everybody seems to know Chris because he has been in lots of films and advertisements here in China.

As Irena nearly always plays the part of a granny, the makeup people usually slap on lots of grease and give her plenty of wrinkles, as well as doing some horrible things to her hair. Sometimes the models are given some takeaway Chinese food and you might, if you are lucky, get a break when you can go to the bathroom. Finally, when the shoot is over, she has to get home and try to catch up on her lost sleep. And in case you are wondering, yes, the actual modelling is well paid (maybe as much as 1,000 or even 2,000RMB an hour), but of course you do not get paid at all for all of the travelling and the time that you spend waiting for something to happen!

Of course, I like telling everyone, “Oh, did you know? My wife is an international model.” That usually makes her very angry and there will be threats of no lunch for Simon, as Irena really does not want people to know about her modelling. (She hardly ever reads my blog, so I am hoping that she will not find out that I have written this. Please don’t tell her!) 

I cannot include any of her modelling photos, alas, but here is a picture of my dear Irena in the park.


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