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Meet Clare Bilbrough, future top model
As part of our summer series Working for a Living, we investigate the job of being a model
0629SLife
Clare Bilbrough is embarking on a career in modeling, at least until grpahic design opportunities start to open up.
At a glance: Model
Overview:  Model garments and other apparel to display clothing before prospective buyers at fashion shows, private showings, retail establishments or photographer. May pose for photos to be used for advertising purposes.
Education requirements: Some aspiring models opt to attend modeling schools, but attending such schools does not necessarily lead to job opportunities. In fact, many agents prefer beginning models with little or no previous experience and discourage models from attending modeling schools and purchasing professional photographs.
Outlook: Employment of models is expected to grow by 10 percent between 2006 and 2016, which is as fast as the average for all occupations. Growth in the employment of models will be driven by their continued use in advertising products. Advertisers will continue to use models in fashion shows, catalogs, and print campaigns as a method to increase awareness of their product.
Median annual wage: $22,530
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Clare Bilbrough, 22, has legs for miles and she knows how to use them.

Bilbrough graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design in May with a degree in graphic design. But until the nearly six-foot tall brunette lands her dream job as an advertising art director, she’s going to walk the runway to pay her bills.

Bilbrough was recruited as a model two years ago while at SCAD.

Since then, she’s worn the threads of John Galliano, chief designer of France’s haute couture flagship Christian Dior, in Paris and Isabel Toledo, creative director for Anne Klein, at SCAD runway shows. Toledo also designed the lemongrass-hued outfit Michelle Obama rocked at President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony.


Question: How did you get started modeling?
Answer: I’m very tall. I’m 5-foot-11 and on an average day I wear heels and probably stand at about 6-2 or 6-3. I was noticed by some people at the college actually, and they suggested that I model in their runway show. So I kind of got started through that. And then they keep a book of their models they use for things so magazines and that sort of thing can approach them on the side. They asked to look at their book and I was chosen for a few publications through that.

Q: What was your first modeling gig?
A: It was during SCAD’s runway show featuring John Galliano. ... The runway shows are all paid, of course, but the training starts six months before the show actually starts. All the garments you wear are fitted exactly for you body, and you do a lot of training. We trained with Jay Alexander. He does most of the runway training for the big shows and he’s also one of the judges for “America’s Next Top Model.” ... It takes a lot of time and dedication.

Q: What is it really like to be a runway model?
A: Of course it’s really crazy and hectic. You really work with the designer. Being a model, it isn’t about you. It’s about showing the artwork that’s created. And fashion really is art. Everything that goes into it — putting on a show — it goes on for a year before the show. The show may last only 45 minutes, but that is a year’s worth of thousands of people’s work. And you really want to show that in the best light that you possibly can. So I look at it like being a canvas for an artist’s paint. That’s really important to me when I do it.

Q: Do you think there are some misconceptions about modeling?
A: I think it gets a really bad rap as a dangerous field to be in with a lot of pressure on your image, and there is to some degree, but in this day and age it’s a really happy, healthy field, at least for what I’ve been exposed. There’s no drugs and everybody eats ... but there’s always the exception to the rule.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring models?
A: Watch out for people taking advantage of you. I know when you’re starting out if you’re looking for an agency, there could be a lot of people out there looking to take advantage of you and take advantage of your money. And I’ve seen a lot of people where the limelight gets to them, so it’s really important to stay grounded and not get carried away by the glamour.

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