We were thrilled to interview 2023 break out London fashion model Natasha Groves about her life as a full-time freelance model.
Natasha entered full time modelling in October 2022 after completing her Masters in Criminology from the University of Manchester. She has already amassed a wide range of styles in her portfolio from lingerie to fine art, and collected some well-deserved industry accolades.
1. When and why did you choose to pursue a career as model?
I started modelling full-time in October 2022. I have been interested in the modelling industry since I was young, but it was important to me to prioritize my education first. Since graduating, I have been able to fully focus on modelling and developing my skills and expanding my portfolio. There are several reasons why I wanted to enter modelling. I am a very creative person, and enjoy working as a team to produce imagery that evoke emotion in the viewer. I also have an interest in being a small business owner - I enjoy that modelling requires all aspects of running a business like time management, marketing, brand development, networking etc.
2. Can you describe a typical day in the life as a full time model?
My day-to-day schedule varies from week to week, I try to be as organized as I can be and my daily/weekly routine is based on what days I have shoots planned. I have focused on shooting several times a week with the remaining focusing on arranging assignments (contacting brands, photographers), brand development (social media, networking events), development (practicing my poses, hair and makeup research) and health and beauty (working out, hair, nails etc).
3. We hear you have just moved to London to focus full time on your modelling, how have you found life in the Capital?
Moving to London was a big decision, but already has been a great step to take. As a freelance model living in a big city like London creates a lot of amazing opportunities to connect and meet new models and photographers, makeup artists and hair stylists. I have already met so many new faces after only moving at the start of February and I cannot wait to connect with more. It is also important for me to be able to travel across the UK and internationally, being in London provides access to all major train-lines and airports.
4. What is the greatest challenge(s) you have faced as a model?
I am sure I can talk for many models out there who would agree with me on this. The main thing I find hard about modelling so far, is maintaining positive mental health. I think there is a lot of pressure within the industry to look “perfect” and get the best image. I think it takes a lot of mental strength to constantly be critical about the way we look. If I am having a bad mental health day or I’m feeling negative about my body image, receiving images back can feel daunting and there’s a lot of pressure to pick out the good images from the bad.
Comparing yourself to others can play on your mind a lot too. The self-doubt and self-worth starts to kick in when you start comparing yourself to other models, constantly critiquing yourself, and questioning if you are good enough really affects you mentally, to the point where you want to give up. These struggles have happened to me, on a few occasions and I understand that all models experience this, I always tell myself that it is all in my head and I am not alone.
The ways I look to maintain a healthy outlook include - speaking to my friends inside and out of the industry who have experienced similar, taking a social media detox and very important is spending time exercising and being with my friends and beloved cat.
5. What steps have you been taking to develop as a model?
To start I have little knowledge about posing, makeup and hair as I wouldn’t call myself a typical girly girl, rather the opposite. I am really lucky to have so much information available online, I use a range of sources of inspiration, such as YouTube, magazines, Pinterest and Instagram. I would say the hardest part has been the focus on posing. I was advised in the beginning to practice in front of the mirror, which sounded very scary and silly. However, ever since I started I felt as though I have never stopped practicing. I started with 10 minutes a day working on my face, body and hand poses, whereas now I spend about 1 hour a day. This practice has really boosted my confidence, and 100% is reflected in my work.
6. What is the most rewarding part of modelling for you?
The most rewarding part of modelling is receiving images back from a shoot, looking at the images the team have created really boosts my self-confidence.
Receiving images back helps me see how much my skills have improved or if there is anything I need to work on. I use this as a way of receiving feedback, reflecting on how the shoot went and if there is anything to improve on in relation to my posing, facials and confidence behind the camera.
7. What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a freelance model?
As a freelance model I have control and freedom with who I work with. I am quite protective of my brand, so working with photographers who fits my style is very important to me.
Flexibility with different types of styles. I love being able to dip in and out of different styles of modelling, such as fashion, swimwear and lingerie. Being a freelance model means I have control over what styles I shoot.
I am able to make my own schedule. I do not have a set schedule and I plan my week accordingly, I can choose when and what type of castings to attend.
Setting my own rates. Being a freelance model means I have control over how much I charge, my rates vary depending on the assignment or style.
An agency and management company provide support in respect to finding new assignments, marketing a sense of credibility. As a freelance model I need to cover all these aspect myself.
8. What do you like to do outside of modelling?
I get up to a lot in my free time, I am quite a creative and active person. So I enjoy things such as going to the gym, mountain biking, traveling and crocheting.
9. Just for fun, if you could shoot with any photographer, who would it be and where?
It would be a dream to shoot with Russel James, his work always amazes me. It would be amazing to shoot swimwear in the Caribbean and editorial fashion in New York.
10. Do you have any advice for people looking to get into modelling?
My advice for new models would be to try distinctive styles of modelling and find what feels right for them. I would recommend building a portfolio, with a different range of styles and poses to show others that you are a versatile model - and never pay for someone to do this for you!
Never stop practicing, in front of the mirror and learning from other models. Learning how your body moves and different facial expressions helps you know what you can achieve as a model.
11. Finally, what does your ideal future look like in modelling and where is the best place for people to contact you?
My plan is to continue building my portfolio and sign up with a management agency that shares my values. And finally enter my work to amazing publications such as Boudoir Inspiration Magazine.
You can find my new website which is launching in March 2023 at https://www.natashagroves.com
I enjoy connecting with people through Instagram, so please do reach out @natashagroves_
Thank you so much for talking to me today. N x