Sharon Dempsey talks about her attempts to become a bikini model
To begin with, I ought to say that I had very little experience of modeling and I had absolutely no idea how to get into modeling. To me, modeling was basically either appearing on a calendar or on a runway - I hadn't even thought of any other modeling styles and didn't even really consider what sort of money I'd get for my work.
I wrote to a few local model agencies in my home town and received a few polite replies but nothing that gave me much hope of getting registered.So I decided to take matters into my own hands - I thought I could seek out work as a bikini model myself. By this time I had learnt that bikini modeling was a form of glamour modeling.
I could find no reference to bikini modeling in the local press etc so I turned to the internet and began visiting the modeling forums that dealt with this kind of thing. I became aware that glamour or bikini modeling tended to be less mainstream and the work available was often with independent photographers. When I found a photographer who by chance was from my hometown on one of these forums I thought that this may be my chance
The guy on this forum was called Gareth. He seemed pleasant enough when it came to our first email exchanges. He said that he was interested in photographing bikini models to expand his portfolio and he said that he would be capable of doing professional looking photographs which would enhance my chances of getting on in the industry.
This sounded great, so I decided to go for it. I told a friend what I was doing and she stopped me immediately. She said it was far too risky, this guy could be anyone. She had heard about several sexual harassment cases and told me not to go. We eventually agreed that the best idea would be for me to take a male chaperone - so that's what I did.
Before going to see the photographer I had not told him that I was going to be bringing along a chaperone. I guess I hadn't thought it necessary. When we both arrived at his house at the appointed time however he seemed really shocked to see a 6 foot guy next to me. The smile on his face wiped off as he saw us both standing there, He seemed like he did;t know quite what to do, but he hesitantly invited us in and told us to come into his studio
His house was a serious mess, there was stuff everywhere. If Bob hadn't been with me I would have run straight out of the door. The guy was clearly extremely shady but it was kinda fun to stay in his house and see what would happen seeing as I had a guy twice his size to look after me !
The photographer went off to prepare the studio. He seemed extremely flustered. We followed him into another room (which was meant to be the studio ) and as you've probably guessed, it wasn't a studio at all - there wasn't even a camera there.
At this point Bob said it was basically time to leave. He told the guy that he wasn't a photographer at all - he was a creep using that forum to try to trick women into coming into his house. We notified the police after we left but couldn't really say much.
So that was pretty much my attempt at bikini modeling - one go and now its no thanks to any more ! If I pursue modeling, it will be through mainstream reputable agencies and nothing else .I'm not saying that all independent photographers are bad - many are genuine I'm sure. But it is such a risk when you have to find out. Whatever you do, be with a chaperone at all times and then you'll be fine.