Dear Dr. Darcy:
I’m a model and recently signed with Willy [Wilhelmina Models] in NYC. As you know, the first months with a new agency can make or break your relationship with them. So here’s my problem: My girlfriend and I are both from Milan, where she used to accompany me on every shoot (in Italy, it’s acceptable to bring a friend when you’re a female model). Here in NYC, it’s not so common and recently my booker [agent] told me that I shouldn’t bring her on shoots. The problem is that she’s possessive and doesn’t want me to go without her. I pay most of the bills and if I get dropped from my agency it will be hard to find another. How can I explain this to her?
You are signed to one of the top model agencies in the world. You are more than a New York City model ~ you’re an international model who has worked in two of the fashion capitals of the world. With credentials like that, you can probably have a career for decades.
There is nothing even remotely appropriate about showing up to a shoot with a ‘friend.’ Your booker is showing incredible graciousness in his or her willingness to educate you to NYC culture ~ most would shelve you and never send you on another job. Now that you’ve officially been informed, continuing to bring the jealous girlfriend to any model-related events (including parties) is the equivalent of asking to be dropped from your contract. And make no mistakes, if you get dropped, you’ll never work in this town again.
The obvious resolution is to set an appropriate boundary with Jealous Girl and if she resists, give her an ultimatum: Couple’s counseling or find a new home. That this is causing you any conflict tells me that you’ve got your own baggage that needs to be sorted out on a shrink’s couch.
Fashion week starts at the end of this week. Now’s the time to show your booker and Willy that you’ve got what it takes to succeed in NYC. If you have to, send the girlfriend out of town for the week so that you can focus on your work. Get connected with other models through communities like ModelsHotel.com and get your priorities straight or you’ll be about as hot as jeggings.