When it comes to the modelling industry, Ghanaian model and fashion blogger Laurie Frempong is her own boss. She manages her career, finds her own jobs, negotiates payments and acts as her own PR. This model has been self–managing since she was discovered at a casting for Project Walkway Ghana nearly four years ago.
Over the years, Laurie has secured editorial, swimwear, print, runway and commercial modelling contracts without a manager or an agency. She would be first to admit that balancing self-management and a modelling can be very tough but with determination, one can achieve anything.
What led you to self-manage your modelling career?
After being discovered and gaining exposure at the Project Walkway Ghana, I went into full-time modelling but in Ghana, there are no real modelling agencies and models signed under agencies had to go out and search for jobs.
There was no need having a manager who would not assist me in anyway, yet expect to be paid. So I chose to manage my own career. This was not easy especially since I had to combine management with modelling. Both jobs are full-time so there are days my management skills would be lacking and there are days my modelling skills would be lacking. This was at the very beginning though, now I have developed a skill to balance both jobs so as to not lack in both areas.
As a self-managed model, how do you find work? What jobs have you done over the years?
Well in order to find work, I had to build a brand and that was what I did. I am identified with my natural hair and my colourfulness. After this, I found work through recommendations; attending castings —which are very few in the country, and via social media. I take my work very seriously and always give my best on the job so people contact me for a job knowing they are getting nothing but the best.
I have worked many brands and shows like Afua Biney, Kiki Clothing, Woodin, Lema Press, Ernest Chemist, Zedi & Cross Alikoto Clothing, Nallem Clothing, Papa Oppong, Steve French, Wusuwa’s Diary, RIP Runway, Legon Fashion week, Catwalk for Orphans among others.
What are the challenges you face as a self-managing model in the industry? How do you overcome these challenges?
When I chose this path, I knew it was not going to be easy. Given the fact that Ghanaians are still warming up to modelling as a career, I knew I would face challenges. But I was still hopeful and determined to go through with my choices no matter what.
Challenges I face include;
– Non-payment for jobs well done.
– Getting paid less than what was negotiated.
– Missing out on castings because these opportunities are communicated directly to modelling agencies.
For the payment challenges, I have rectified it by using a rate card. The rate card has details of how much a model charges depending on the type of job wanted. This card takes into consideration the number of hours involved, etc. This way when I am approached by a client, they know exactly what to expect.
With the issue about the castings, there is nothing I can do about it other than investing in myself, updating my portfolio and branding myself so well that I will not depend on these castings.
Would you say self-management is better than having another person manage you?
Well, there is nothing like being your own boss but to some extent I will say having a manager has its pros.
For instance, if I had a manager, I will have more time to focus on becoming the best model since I would not have to worry about the negotiating of contracts and payments.
Are there many self-managing models in the industry? What advice would you give to a self-managing model?
There are as many freelance models as there those who are under management in the industry.
The advice I would give to a self-managing model like me is – self-management is not easy but nothing good comes easy. So stay focused; build your brand and portfolio, set goals and work towards them and most importantly learn to use social media to market your brand.
Also when starting out, many people would try to take advantage of you so build your negotiation skills and be firm at all times.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Every single thing. This career allows me to express myself in so many ways and be true to myself.
I also love seeing the product of my hard work. After all the stress, when I see the final work and it looks amazing, I am happy.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done as a model?
Recently, I had to do a runway for a fashion graduate, Steve French. The concept was to act like a mad person on the runway. It was one of the most creative shows ever.
Which international brand would you like to model for and which concept would it be?
Vlisco. An editorial spread and a fashion film. The fashion film will tell a story about the history of African Prints. And I would be the model styled in some iconic Vlisco designs since its inception.
I also dream of being a Victoria’s Secret model. That will be a dream come true for me.
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