How I boss rejection: what a Victoria Secret model will never tell you

Posted on Apr 26 2019 - 7:33am by Emily Stoner

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Walking up to my first agency meeting in Paris. My palms are sweaty, I’m short of breath and it’s spitting rain. Trying to take off my trainers and put on my heels as French men leer at me on the sidewalk. I take off my jumper as well as my jacket and stuff them in my bag along with my shoes. My portfolio comes out as I walk up to the door and with my best French accent I buzz and enthusiastically say ‘Bonjour’ but it comes out more wobbly than I expect.

By Brian Rolfe

Walking into agencies might always be the scariest thing I ever do. My tummy flips, my words come out a million miles a second and my vision goes a little bit blurry. It’s because it’s something I want so badly. The goal is to be an internationally signed model. What that would mean for my career is that I have multiple teams working on finding me work in different markets all over the world in the hope that this is what helps my career take off.

The worst part about visiting agencies is the niceties. I’ve always wished they would be blunter with me to my face. No one ever tells you no even though you both know that they didn’t like you. You still have to smile and thank them and pretend you don’t know. This kind of rejection is hard and happens everywhere in the modelling industry. Every model you meet will tell you that you can’t take it personally, but it’s hard because it is personal as they are judging you.

By Brian Rolfe

However, I always seem to get into a bit of a flow after I have a few rejections under my belt in the day. Able to let go of some of the fear and say, ‘screw it’ and live life as my best life; calm, cool, collected and confident. Because even though I really care about the potential outcome, I don’t care what they individually think about me.

I always think about rejection therapy in these moments. The idea that the more rejections you get, the less scared you will be to go after the big things you want. You’ll be so used to hearing no that none of the shame or fear preceding the no stops you from going after what you really want.

In my case, I’ve always wanted the world. Always wanted to scoop it up and experience it all. I am very blessed to have people behind me, routing for me and supporting me at every turn.

But there’s something about this that makes me so scared of failing. If something doesn’t succeed or turn out the way I’d hoped, I’m devastated. I got a 2:1 in my degree but I am the first person to let people know I actually was graded a sixty-nine per cent. One per cent off of a first. Telling them this because I am so desperately ashamed of that mark despite it being a very respectable grade. This is when being hard on yourself is a massive negative as it robs you of victories, celebrations and joy as you are thinking about what could have been rather than what you have.

By Brian Rolfe

Modelling is hard because it is so out of my control. It’s needing a whole team to root for you so hard and believe that you can work. Believe that you are something special within 5 seconds and knowing that they can find you work within their market.

I visited 7 agencies in Paris and spent two days running around just to get 7 numbers. I was ‘too edgy’ for one agency, ‘too big’ for another but most although they thought I was ‘beautiful’ would not represent me in Paris for one reason or another. What I could offer just didn’t work for them.

This is very humiliating and the sort of thing you don’t hear models talking about. You hear success stories of girls saying they told me I’d never work but now I’m a Victoria secret model. It’s difficult because it’s hard to keep believing in yourself when no one else does. Believing that it could be you but you just don’t know.

Friends have said that they’ll eat their words when I blow up and they’ll be begging me to come back, my boyfriend believes everything happens for a reason and something bigger and better is around the corner for me.

By Brian Rolfe

Paris did not crush any of my hopes. Hopefully, the more no’s I get the less terrified I’ll be! My next round of agency meetings will be in Barcelona. I bought a ring in Disneyland to signify belief in dreams. Walt Disney once said; “All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them”. So here’s to really testing out the idea of my version of rejection therapy.

About the author : Emily Stoner

I’m Emily, and I’m an international model and journalist. I spent half my life in Canada and the other half here in the UK. Whilst travelling solo; being my own boss, running a marathon and surviving a long-distance relationship, this is my year of being brave. I love girls supporting girls, hustling for what you want and self-love.

View all posts by Emily Stoner