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Irish actress Caitriona Balfe has opened up about the realities of the modelling industry.

The Monaghan actress and model is the only Irish woman ever to have walked in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show.

On Angela Scanlon’s podcast Thanks a Million, she opened up about the realities of the modelling world and the challenges that come alongside it.

She said that when she began modelling, Brazillian models like Gisele were all the rage and that her hair was dyed red in an attempt to look more Irish.

She said that in her experience, models are expected to be “this fun, interesting, edgy person that fashion people want to be around.”

“But then at the same time you have to be so skinny and so androgynous. There was always people doing better and constantly being compared to people,” she said.

“You know, there’s so many times where you would go into castings or even fittings for jobs that you already supposedly had and somebody in the room would just be annihilating how you look or your lack of personality or you talk too much.

“It’s really tough. I have so much admiration for girls who can come through that unscathed,” she said.

Ms Balfe said that there is an expectation for models to be “cool” in the industry and to not “rock the boat”.

“’Why wouldn’t you take a top off? It’s just t*ts. Come on, like just be cool.’ I can’t tell you how many times that situation happened. I was very lucky,” she remembered.

“I had some amazing bookers and had some amazing agencies, but I also had some absolute sh*t agencies, and they’ve positioned themselves, I think, as they protect the girls.”

She said that because models now hire their own management – as opposed to working with agencies – the managers take little accountability.

“All the girls are self-employed and, in fact, they employ the agents. It’s such a weird balance of power because the people that you are supposedly employing are the people who are the gateway to all the jobs. They dictate your earning power, but they also dictate everything,” she said.

Speaking on the podcast, she also opened up about her time in lockdown with her husband Tony McGill, a music producer.

She said that even though they have been together six years, they have never spent so much time together.

“He’ll make me coffee every morning. I’m so not a morning person, but like I need my coffee and my space. You know, we have an upstairs and downstairs.

“So literally, like from when we wake up to like midday, I would sort of take the downstairs and he would be upstairs and then we would sort of flip over a couple of hours and then we come together in the evening. But yeah, I think everyone needs their little corner to sort of do their thing,” she added.

Thanks a Million by Angela Scanlon is available on all podcast providers. [Source]

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