Before becoming the face of Outlander’s nurse-doctor-time traveller, Caitriona Balfe was known to be one of the most sought-after catwalk models. She has worked with prestigious brands such as Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, and Balenciaga, traveling the world since her youth.
Special guest of the podcast “Thanks A Million”, the Irish actress revealed what the reality of the fashion industry was, what she saw and how it is to be exposed in that industry at such a young age as it happened to her.
“You’re supposed to automatically be this fun, interesting, edgy person that fashion people want to be around. But then at the same time you have to be so skinny and so androgynous,” Caitriona said on the podcast. “There was always people doing better and constantly being compared to people. I think, as a young woman in your teens and 20s, it’s hard enough.”
Balfe went on telling how often “you would go into castings or even fittings for jobs that you already supposedly had and somebody in the room would just be annihilating how you look or your lack of personality or you talk too much. All in front of you. It’s really tough. I have so much admiration for girls who can come through that unscathed.”
“Everybody goes through a really wobbly phase afterwards trying to sort of find their footing or find what their next step is, because in one way, it opens up so many doors and it does open your mind to so many things and it does give you an incredible education in a certain way. But in another, it infantilizes you and it stunts you in so many other ways. I think it takes a while to sort of like rebalance all of that… There’s such a veneer of like ‘Everyone’s so cool in this industry,’” Caitriona continued.
“You know, don’t rock the boat, don’t be uncool, being uncool is defending yourself or questioning something… or not taking your top off,” she said. “‘Why wouldn’t you take a top off? It’s just t**s. Come on, like just be cool.’ I can’t tell you how many times that situation happened.”
But thankfully, Caitriona Balfe shared that she was lucky with who she worked with. “I was very lucky. I had some amazing bookers and had some amazing agencies, but I also had some absolute s**t agencies, and they’ve positioned themselves, I think, as they protect the girls. But because they’ve made themselves management companies, they also take zero responsibility. So all the girls are self-employed and, in fact, they employ the agents,” she added.
It’s such a weird balance of power because the people that you are supposedly employing are the people who are the gateway to all the jobs, told the irish actress. “They dictate your earning power but they also dictate everything… The worst thing, I think, if you talk to any model, used to be the days you’d have to go into the agency and you walk in and literally everybody is scanning you head to toe,” she added.
Besides Outlander, The irish actress will be playing in Kenneth Branagh’s mom in his upcoming movie, Belfast, and she also acquired the rights to adapt Sarah Crossan‘s acclaimed novel, Here Is The Beehive. Despite the turbulent situation generated by the pandemic, this is truly a golden year for Caitriona Balfe.
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