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Halifax provides few modeling gigs

In Halifax many modeling gigs are unpaid. If you’re lucky you might get a bundle of hair products out of the deal but in 10 years of modeling, Megan Zwicker has only had two paid jobs.

Zwicker choreographed a short lingerie fashion show on Saturday for Silverback Promotions, a non-profit student group in Halifax that raises money for charitable causes by throwing parties.

Girls at the show said the same thing.

“It’s more volunteer stuff,” said Courtenay Murdoch, one of the girls in Zwicker’s show.

“In Toronto there is a lot more paid stuff and I just do it because it’s fun for people who are trying make it their living. Unless you’re a photographer, there’s not much business.”

Murdoch has done runway, high fashion and editorial modeling and says the modeling community in Halifax is like a family. Most of the work goes to people in the family and it can be hard to get in.

“Because it is so tight-knit and I’m in the club I hear about a lot more shows,” says Murdoch.

Lauren Kearley is relatively new to the business. She did her first show last year when a co-worker at Scotia Bank asked her to help promote a lingerie portfolio.

Kearley liked it so much she went out and got herself and agent. Since then she has done some local boutique work and modeling for the NSLC.

“If you look for work you can find it,” says Kearley.

“But sometimes you need to do it for free if you really like doing it.”

Getting paid a lot of the time means getting an agent. Modeling agencies in Halifax, such as City Models, Atlantic Talent Agency and the Cassidy Group, will help models find paid work in return for a percentage of what they make.

“With an agency they’re going to be the ones finding you shows and finding you shoots and they are going to work more on making you money because that’s going to make them money,” said Murdoch.

“Whether or not you get paid doesn’t really matter if your freelance – you’re just doing it for the exposure.”

Atlantic Fashion Week takes place Oct. 26 to Oct. 30.

The event’s website says it is a platform that will organize the Atlantic fashion industry and encourage the rest of the nation to recognize what Atlantic Canada has to offer the fashion world.

The work in Atlantic Fashion Week is mostly unpaid, said Murdoch.

Murdoch isn’t working during the East Coast fashion week and neither is Kearley, but Kearley says most of her friends are leaving Halifax to model in Toronto Fashion Week, which starts on Monday and is actually pays.


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