Why is it really important to have a popular image on Social Media these days? Are followers and why are ‘likes’ the only thing teens strive to achieve?
Early in 2012, I was given an opportunity that could change my life forever. If I wanted and I took it but at a cost. Some people may know me but for those who don’t well your opinion means very little.
My name is Gary Talbot I grew up in Ballyfermot, Dublin.
I became the first ever Irish Male Model to walk ‘London Fashion Week’. In less than one year I had featured in over 100 publications including GQ and British Vogue. I signed campaign deals for brands such as Tomas Sabo and German online superstore Miinto and ranked as one of the most sought after faces in Indian fashion.
My whole life changed and I felt unstoppable, but I wasn’t.
I had a very strong run with the international fashion industry. I’d offers from every corner of the globe. TV productions including BBC had all pitched ideas and proposals. An ordinary person would have jumped on most of the things I refused, even though it’s what I always wanted I had such a fear of becoming famous or too recognisable, but that’s what I wanted. It wasn’t all good, I had just as many declined offers but I never looked at it as a loss just an experience. Every time I returned home to Ireland I felt so deflated and disappointed at myself but I love Ireland and the people. I couldn’t understand why I was getting so much attention and work away and so many opportunities handed to me, yet Ireland never really noticed what I could do or what I could be or even what I had done. When I began to model I could only think of a few Irish Male Models who I wanted to be on par with. A few were Sam Homan and Carl Shaaban who dominated the Irish scene and also Karl Bowe for his dedication and hard work but I just never felt like any of my success mattered.
With not getting the response I really wanted in Ireland I began building my different Social Media pages in the hope of getting more recognition. I started a blog then Instagram and then a Facebook account, anything to promote myself and get consumed by popularity not realising that all of this means nothing. Everywhere you turn you see teenagers taking selfies and glued into phones and checking the volume of likes they get on each post. I can’t lie, Social Media has given me a lot in return but it still doesn’t fit into reality. I know I sound hypocritical because I do post those perfect pictures and luxurious locations at times but I also make it my business to post real content and show that I’m not this perfect person in pictures, in fact, I’m just normal. I recently had my whole back covered in a tattoo and the real reason was to cover scars I was left with from years of acne. I shared the truth and had so many teenage lads say they have the same problem and that they were glad I wasn’t afraid to speak about it and that’s a huge problem in today’s society nobody is speaking anymore.
I just want to highlight that nobody is perfect and it’s not important to be Social Media popular.
I was reading an article of a young boy who committed suicide due to bullying but what they didn’t highlight was that it was cyber bullying. Could you imagine never being able to escape a bully especially if they are in your phone. They always see ‘bullying’ in these tragic stories but I’ve seen it first hand if you can’t live up to this perfect Instagram or Facebook lifestyle then your just not cool enough.
Not everyone can afford to post the popular jewellery items at Christmas or the new shoes daily and that’s enough to have you considered as unpopular. Again I know it’s hypocritical because I feed stereotype by posting different situations but that’s just work it’s not real it’s made to look good to be appealing but it’s not. I have had everything, good and bad said to me on social media if I was in anyway vulnerable these things would have seriously impacted me. So here I am a successful Model a Business Man and a popular status online, I have it all. I broke boundaries it’s not what you think it is just be yourself and be successful at that. Stop worrying about likes and followers, start focusing on reality.
I look at younger Models who have great careers ahead of them and I commend all the new Irish Models who are killing it in the Fashion Industry like Caoimhin O’ Brien and Dylan Moran but because of what people think of me on Social Media they assume I envy them or try compete and I really don’t. I know I have a lot of people who don’t like my work and don’t think I deserve anything and that’s fine that they have an opinion, but you don’t know me you have never met me I’m not what you see online I’m not what you think I am. I hope eventually people will become less judgmental and less obsessed with these petty things. I know I was judgmental and pressured but now I really don’t care I’m still doing what I love I’m still building my platform and I’m still going to be me.
2016 was definitely a year I’ll never forget. One shoot in particular really changed how I see myself. I’m not the most confident person in the world and nobody will criticize me more than myself. John Murray shot some headshots for me and I learned a lot about how I look and that we all see something different in ourselves he posted a shot of me unedited and I saw a completely different person, he’s one of the reasons I feel this post is important for you all to read so thank you John.
John Murray headshots
I recently reached out to a young new talented photographer Hannah Corcoran to help me with this post. Hannah has a great style that I love that. She captures a lot of rawness and I wanted a shoot with her to show myself as natural as possible. No makeup, no styling, no hair or smoke and mirrors just natural light. I wanted to do this because of the confidence I gained with shooting for John. I knew shooting with Hannah would be something outside my comfort zone but a shoot that I will always love. So thank you Hannah.
The point behind all of this is that you don’t have to be something you’re not to be good at what you do. Don’t fall victim to Social Media and don’t judge anyone before getting to know them. I honestly have nothing bad to say about anyone in this industry or anyone I don’t know in person because I know that a picture online doesn’t reveal more than what you want it to.
I hope 2017 is everything you all want and more.
Happy New Year.
So I mentioned in a previous post that I was lucky with modelling and in the right place at the right time and that’s all true but I also had to work really hard to keep going and fight for bookings. Everything could of went a lot easier if I had the support from Irish agents and majority of the Irish fashion industry but I didn’t.
A couple of times I wanted to give up and just walk away from everything but the only thing that’s stopped me doing that was and still is the support from my community and the general Irish public.
I remember when I got my first modelling job in London out of the way and I returned to Ireland I felt like I needed an agent in Dublin because how else would I get work when I was home. I never told any agents who I worked with and how I started I wanted them to see the hope and potential all of the large fashion houses seen but it didn’t really go like that.
The first agent I saw was one of the worse expirences I’ve ever had it is no longer running and I won’t name any agents or names but this place was just horrible. The agent straight away start passing sexual remarks towards me then told me no matter what I’d never make a living from this in Ireland no male models do. the agent wasn’t interested in me I knew that after two minutes but this was all new to me so I didn’t really say much and inside just clicked that I’d already made it to a certain level and I told the agent I’d be in touch but I never even looked back. The second agent just said no your not for us and the third told me we don’t get much work for lads but I’ll put you on the books anyway so at that stage I didn’t really care and went along with it.I got my first modelling job in Ireland with this agent and It was humiliating and I left the next day and never finished the job.
The hard thing to accept is I have no idea why the industry don’t like me or want to support me. I’m professional and know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea but I’m not a bad person and have no reason to have that vibe.
I was asked recently who have I worked with? I have done my homework on this industry and when I put everything I’ve done on paper honestly no Irish male model has come close to my success. I’m not trying to come across arrogant and cocky I’m just realistic. I know a day will come that another male model from Ireland will completely dominate the industry and I’ll celebrate for him because I have no reason to not support anyone. I have often worked with people in Ireland and they say after a while oh your actually nice and you know what your doing. This just makes me laugh who told you I wasn’t nice or professional? I always feel like I’m ignored in the Irish industry and I just have to accept that I’ll probably never get recognition for what I done and the success I had and still have but you know what I don’t care anymore because I know and that’s all that really matters.
As for the agent who said I’d never make a living from this industry in Ireland! That’s what set me apart from other models I put the work in and I have made a nice living the past few years enough of a living that I have launched two companies!
I don’t accept no or you can’t as an answer.
Sibling London fashion week
This is probably the most common thing I get asked so I’ll try make it as short as possible.
Everyone has an idea of what a model is and think that if your attractive to the eye it’s enough to make you a model and in some cases it is but not always.
I never wanted to be a model it was never something I just decided to do it just happened and I was scouted by the right person and gave me a really strong head start.
Cover barber journal
It comes down to how you look on camera. Everyone sees something different and nobody can see anything other than beauty in their own child and that’s amazing but unfortunately because they are beautiful doesn’t make them a model.I see this a lot and it can be very disheartening to see a parent want it more than the son or daughter but when they don’t meet criteria they are devastated and that’s a hard thing for a young teen or child to take on so parents be realistic and know the industry before putting your child in the fire line. I have young kids and teens in my family that I do honestly think they could do this job but I’d rather wait till they made the choice when they are older so they don’t have any pressure to look a certain way.
Marc Coblen campaign
Fashion models are not the same as glamour or commercial models. fashion have a strong criteria. Height and measurements are super strict with fashion models and Fashion models book 90% of the large campaign deals and designers. commercial models don’t have to be tall they can be curvy and they would book 90% of the commercial jobs like toothpaste campaigns or TV commercials.
How to become a model?
If you approach a well know agent like select or elite they will tell you. It might not always be the answer you want but by approaching these agents you will get an idea of the look they want and what might not work this season might work next season. Never pay to be a model! Don’t pay for a portfolio don’t pay for jobs don’t pay anything you should be making money not spending it. if you sign with a large agent outside Ireland get ready to move fast everything is a deadline.
Italian Vogue magazine
Like any profession some people are just made for it and others not so much. Have confidence in yourself and be confident in what you want and be realistic with yourself if your 5 foot your probably not ever gonna be a fashion model but that’s not to say you can’t model just means it’s a different platform.
We never really see posts or articles talking about men with body issues and we all know men suffer just as much as women.
I have always had insecurities with my body and it’s really only recently I’ve start to accept it. When I was a teen I felt such pressure to not be as skinny as I was and start training like mad to bulk up. After a while of looking like Popeye and feeling physically sick from protein shakes I copped on and had enough. Not only was I insecure about the shape of my body but I had severe acne on my back that just added fule to the fire and made me feel shit! I’d never go swimming I’d never take my shirt off on holiday or let anyone see my back it was that embarrassing.
In my job I changed my body a lot I was skinny then I was extra skinny then a little flabby and now I’m a lot leaner and hope to stay like this as long as possible. I realized that my goal body wasn’t unreachable and I’m harder on myself than i should be but most of us are unless you stink of Honey G confidence.
This is how I sorted my insecurities.
1: regular exercise. I train Monday Wednesday and Friday mornings it’s not always easy but it’s a fraction of my life and day to maintain my body and mind.
2: Diet. I tried so many times just not for me I can’t do it! but I wouldn’t eat really terrible I try be posh now and then and have a salad but turn into a pig after dark.
3: Speak about it. So what I find a lot of the time if I’m in a situation that I might have to show somebody my skin or take my shirt off I have a confession moment with them and tell them everything I think is wrong with myself. I think I do this so they don’t judge me when they see me but it kinda normalizes the situation for me after a while and I’m fine then.
4: Alternative. No matter what it is it can be fixed or improved. when I was left with all my acne scars I tried all sorts of removal treatments from acid and laser to bleaching but I end up getting more scars so decided to tattoo my whole back as any normal person would. Tattoos might not be the way everyone goes but for me it’s the best thing I’ve done I have so much more confidence.
5: hydration. Drink a lot of water from the time I wake up till I go back to bed I have water in my reach and drink as much as possible each day. trust me do a water challenge for a few days and you’ll see the benefits.
So look we all have things we’d like to change and it’s not impossible to change them but the change needs to start with how you see yourself and then work on the exterior. I make a living on my looks and reality is I’m a weapon under it all but when I post over the top pictures or half naked shots it comes off as confidence and confidence goes a long way and I get that little more confident as time goes.
Tips and tricks that happen in the process of getting a perfect picture.
I found that over the years it takes a team to put a shot together. Photographers put so much work into getting the perfect light and frame makeup artist make sure you have a strong complexion hair stylist are constantly on the wings ready to correct that mop against the elements and the stylist has a panic attack when they find out the shoot director wants you to stand in a muddy field in an outfit worth thousands. When arriving for a shoot a few important factors you should know.
1: Be clean! this means shower as close to shoot time as possible no makeup no hair products just your natural state and smelling fresh of course.
2:Be prepared! Things and ideas can change last minute with shoots so always have a backup plan. i always carry a second pair of underwear incase anything is visible that shouldn’t be and i always have a shoe horn belts and a moisturizer to give to the mua before hand. ill do another post on whats in my bag at shoots soon because its a lot!
3: NEVER SHOW UP LATE! This is just something ill throw in even if it seems petty its not your getting paid a lot to do this shoot and a late reputation lasts somebody is paying a team to wait for you.
4: Stand your ground! I’m not saying show up and call the shots but know what you got booked for and only do what you feel comfortable doing. I wont do the whole dark side to this industry just yet but i’m sure you can imagine why its important to speak up when needed.
5: Be Honest! What i mean about this is if you have Tattoos or piercings or you just don’t look like your profile shots then tell the shoot director its so important to regularly update your Polaroids and show your natural self.
6: Have Fun! Show up and enjoy your day nobody likes sour faces and a bad atmosphere so be happy and thankful because your not the only person creating this picture everyone else has worked just as hard as you.
7: Be Realistic. Not everyone is cut out to be a model but doesn’t mean you cant do it! a lot of the time people don’t meet height or measurements requirements to be a model but i know plenty of singers who cant sing! you might not make the cut for vogue but you can still do shoots and experience the industry. Never accept you cant or no as an answer.
Hope these little things help.
All shot from Behind the scenes