When Darrianne Donnely of BGM Models invites you to spend the day at her Pyrmont apartment otherwise known as BGM HQ, you go. I was offered the opportunity to go behind the scenes during the ‘final five’ photo shoot for the Simone Perele & BGM Models Plus Size Model Search back in November last year. Things got pretty crazy with PSFWA straight after but I really want to share my day with you.
Darrianne and Natalie Wakeling were already working hard by the time I arrived with Aidan. Yes, you heard right I took Aidan along with me. He’s really good on set so I wasn’t too worried and everyone thought he was adorable. I do get a little distracted but it’s nice that I’m able to share my world with him. It also helped that Aidan was instantly smitten with Natalie and clung to her or chatted to her at every opportunity.
Hair and make up had been going on for hours and two of the girls had already finished their sets by the time we arrived. The atmosphere was calm yet you could tell the girls were nervous and excited.
Eleanor was the first set I got to watch. She had a beautiful slender figure, toned and absolutely gorgeous. To me she looked how a lingerie model should look, the fact that she was considered plus size by the industry made me feel ill. Beyond all that I thought Eleanor was a classic beauty.
As the girls took turns in front of the camera they also took time out to get to know each other, chat about the industry and boobs… there was a lot of talk about boobs. How could there not be when you have fancy lingerie specialists from Simone Perele in the room, even I asked for a fitting whilst I was there!
The girls thought it would be a total crack up to take photos posing with treats. They were all so down to earth and nice, I mean really nice. I’d share a cookie with them again any day.
Meanwhile Aidan took some time out from having his cheeks pinched and spread out on the couch watching 101 Dalmatians on my laptop. He sat there quietly and ate his lunch, played on his ipad and pushed his toy cars around. I love that he can entertain himself, that he enjoys meeting new people and experiencing new places… I got lucky.
Next up was Elena, a few final touches and she was ready. By now Aidan was a little more settled so I was able to concentrate on capturing some of the smaller moments and watch the professional photographer at work.
The “studio” was the dining area of BGM HQ which made perfect sense thanks to all the lovely filtered light in the harbour view apartment, I wish I could test shoot there all time. It was interesting to watch how the girls posed and to listen to the photographers direction.
These ladies were all so confident, even when wearing almost nothing at all.
As Elena lay there we all commented that she looked a lot like Kate Moss… she blushed.
The make up and the mayhem.
Cregan was the last one on set. As she sat there quietly getting her make up done I was insanely jealous of her gorgeous golden tresses.
I kept my look pretty casual that day, skinny jeans, a black tank top and my SWAK poncho with a big statement necklace. When I’m shooting I like to keep my hair out of my face so I did some quick soft curls and pinned it back a little. By complete accident I’d dressed Aidan almost exactly the same… outfit fail.
Aidan wore skinny jean shorts and a green button up shirt. Of course I didn’t realise we were matching until after we got out of the car upon arrival. Aidan had been watching the models do their thing and when they had a break Aidan jumped up on the chair and asked for his photo to be taken too. He’s sitting EXACTLY the same as the last photo had been set up, crossed ankles, arm on the armrest and everything.
Out of all the models Belma was Aidan’s favourite so when she asked for a cuddle he couldn’t resist. Jacklyn and Elena got in on the photo too and it’s the cutest, most awkward yet equally awesome group photo Aidan’s ever been apart of… definitely one for his 21st birthday.
That wasn’t all, Jacklyn gave him a big kiss on the cheek and Aidan couldn’t stop looking at it in the mirror and giggling, to be honest neither could I. I know how much he likes it when I do it to him. He was very proud of his kiss and showed Steve as soon as he got home.
Once all the silliness was over it was time to get serious. Aidan got set up with his iPad and Cregan started to do her thing. Suddenly I had an overwhelming urge to go blonde and get a tan.
Cregan was named the winner in the weeks after and won a 12 month contract with BGM Models, she became the star of Simone Perele and more. I was so excited to hear that she’d won, not only because she’s gorgeous but because she was nice, sweet, smart, athletic, out going and confident. I could see her as a great role model. All the ladies were lovely but there was just something about her which is obviously something the judges were aware of too.
Then it was time for the final group shot.
By this stage Aidan had started to take is own photos of the girls on my iPhone and then run up to Natalie to show her his pictures, it was insanely cute and everyone couldn’t stop gushing at how adorable he was. My assistant for the day was definitely a cute distraction.
The finalist photo: Eleanor, Belma, Cregan, Elena & Jacklyn.
The shoot is over… but not before some interviews!
Here are the final images from the day… credit
It was a fun day and I can’t thank Darianne enough for inviting Aidan and I along to spend the day on set and for the Simone Perele team for answering so many of my questions. I feel blessed to be a part of an industry that understands what I’m trying to do (even with a toddler in tow) and the message I try to bring to the women who read my blog everyday. I love getting the opportunity to shed some light on the often undocumented things going on behind the scenes for plus size models and I hope you love it too.