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The World of the Fresh London Model

My first ‘proper’ experience of posh central London nightlife - a spontaneous night out with one of my school friends to a swanky club just off Regent Street - was not just a complete whirlwind of crazy Grey-Goose Vodka fuelled fun, but also a blunt reality check as to the apparently lavish and cool, yet in some cases warped lifestyle of a young, up and coming Londoner. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an incredible life, and what wouldn’t I do to be 6 ft 5” with a striking jaw-line and a contract which saw me on the cover of Italian Vogue? However, as I wandered/drunkenly skipped around the club feeling like a lost hobbit in a midst of stick-thin skyscrapers towering over me (I had stuck to my stubborn norm and chosen to wear pumps...PUMPS…why I really do not know), some aspects struck me as more unsettling than anything else. While I had a wicked night of long overdue fun with one of my closest friends, meeting some lovely people, including two promoters who made a great deal of effort in making me feel welcome, I was completely out of my comfort zone. It might have been the problem of being 4 ft shorter than the majority of the club, but part of me longed to be back in Leeds, queuing up for the glorious pill infested unisex loos of Mint, or just as enjoyably, awaiting my £2.50 double vodka/antifreeze and coke that would prompt a hideous headache 5 hours later.

As I followed my friend through the especially reserved £300 tables, various groups of people were pointed out to me. What struck me as surprising was the sheer unwelcoming attitude of a number of the (albeit beautiful) boy models, surveying the room with their Dolce and Gabbana hair and chiselled cheekbones which would have undoubtedly got them a place in the Armani A/W campaign. They simply did not want to know and sullenly stood, sadly, (and quite literally in some of the younger cases) too cool for school, as though a smile would have ruined their million dollar image. The boys on the upper floor contrasted pretty significantly with the men downstairs whom we passed on the way to the smoking area. Some of them verging on 50, they were sitting surrounded by glamorous young girls and bottles of champagne that probably cost more than a year’s rent on my Uni house. ‘Those tables cost around 500 quid...they just get girls to sit with them’, my friend explained. In a word: grim.

Aside from this, it was interesting to see the different crowds. But one skeletal girl who caught my eye did not, for once, give me the ‘oh god another stunner, why can’t I look like that!?’ reaction. She was dancing on a table on her own. Her eyes, resembling a character’s from ‘Trainspotting’, were sunken and hidden behind a mass of long bleached blonde hair. ‘She’s one of the freshers’, I was told, ‘think she’s about 16...just been signed up’. This scared me more than anything. This girl had most likely been plucked out of school after being approached in her nearest Topshop and transported into this new, overly pressurised world of campaigns and competition. I admit, this is me being massively stereotypical, and is definitely not true in my friend’s case, but from what I had heard, this was a regular occurrence among a selection of teenagers who were seen to have potential and promised big things. She was not beautiful, but she had the ‘model look’: tiny frame, unusual face. To me she appeared, as harsh as it may sound, slightly tragic. She seemed out of it and from the looks of it the effects of free vodka/drugs had, at this moment at least, dissolved any signs of personality and left a gaunt shadow. Clichéd as it was, my only reaction seemed to be: ‘that girl needs a good fat-filled Mcdonalds.’ I suppose I felt sorry for her. ‘I could never have started that young’, my friend said. At 21, she’s recently had a big break and started to become more well known in the industry, but by now she has learnt to become a great deal more savvy and thick-skinned. However, as she said herself, it has taken a good 3 years.

I suppose what became most clear from my first experience on the central London scene was not only that the call for the young skinny London crowd to fill the club resulted in an overdose of pretentiousness, but there is a predominantly seedy aroma surrounding a selection of the older rich socialites and their versions of a good time. On the plus side, I had a hilarious and completely extravagant time dancing the night away, gloriously oblivious of the horrendous hangover that would leave me feeling (and looking) like the after effects of an earthquake for the next 24 hours. Nevertheless, I came to the drunken conclusion in the taxi journey home that I would rather choose the cheesy student fun of Fruity Friday any day.


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