by Dani Thompson
It’s no secret that a career in modelling is one with a shelf life. Most people that go into glamour, do it for a few years and for them that few years is enough, I certainly never thought I’d still be going strong in my 30 as most of the girls who I was friends with who were in the industry ‘back in the day’ (bar Sim-Wise) have long since retired and for various reasons.
But what’s next? Where do you go after glamour and how can you be taken seriously by people in the next chapter of your career?
In my experience, I think training is important.
It was 2009 and the rise in social media platforms meant that the lads mags were on the decline, I’d already been modelling for a good few years and had just grown bored with it, the shoots, the party scene, the whole lifestyle just didn’t interest me anymore. I wanted to do something more challenging.
Through modelling I landed a couple of small parts in film and TV and really liked being on set so I took my chances and auditioned at a drama school that focuses solely on screen acting and to my surprise was accepted onto their one year screen acting diploma course.
I know that there are hundreds of successful actors out there that have never done any full time training and I do believe that life experience can be just as valuable when it comes to finding different characters and coming across well and ‘real’ on screen but I do think that if I went straight from a career in glamour modeling to then suddenly expecting people to see me as an actress without having studied then I’d have been deluding myself.
So I did the year at drama school whilst in my free time reading any other additional material on acting including Stanislavski, Meisner, Strasberg, Chubbuck and the book that to this day makes the most sense to me, written by none other than Sir Michael Caine.
After graduating, I was determined to be taken seriously as an actress. I was still blonde at the time but I took my extensions out, I changed the way I dressed to a slightly more reserved style and I wore a lot less makeup that I had previously.
I didn’t set out to do ‘just horror’ but having been a horror fan forever, I quickly fell into my niche. I’ve managed to work pretty steadily, mostly within the horror genre but am I taken seriously as an actress? I’d say yes amongst the horror crowd, as I have a pretty good work ethic, I’m reliable, I turn up on time, I learn my lines and because of this, I’ve been booked and rebooked by the same production companies over and over again.
I did have an agent for a while who found it hard to find me any work outside of the horror industry, the feedback he gave me is that casting directors found it hard to see past me and see me as different roles so we parted ways. Typecasting isn’t so bad though, there are plenty of actors who get booked constantly to play the same kinds of roles and that definitely beats not being booked at all. I’m happy doing the work I do though and being a free agent, I can negotiate my own rates on the jobs I take.
Had I known what road I’d be going down when I started out, I probably would have used a different name for modeling so that when googled now, there would be less found so if you aren’t already well established, considering using a different name for your sexy content is definitely something I’d recommend.
Alongside acting which just like modelling is another flexible yet unpredictable career choice, I’ve also just completed my Reiki 2 so that’s another avenue I can explore in my future. Train to do something else now, set yourself up with options whilst you’re in a good position to do so, so that you don’t find yourself lacking prospects in the future.
Whatever it is you decide you want to do in the future, work hard at it and your work will speak for itself.
You can be taken seriously, nobody should ever underestimate a glamour girl!