In this series I am looking into women’s role in a highly male-dominated field of interest - motoring and motorsports - asking females involved. Part III. - The Model from Down Under
Whether you race cars in Europe or North America as a woman, you are more or less regarded as a curiosity. However - on face value -, there are more than a handful of ladies circling around the racing and motoring scene, enhancing the aesthetics of the events as grid girls, promotional models, etc. Some people regard this phenomenon as an outdated, sexist approach that should be demolished for good. To get a fuller picture - and to move a little bit further away from motoring -, I wished to ask a model who works ‘in the windowshop’ of the subject of criticism and learn more about modelling itself. Meet model Alexandra Bromley from Australia.
I am originally from Canberra, ACT. I started my modelling career at 19 as a hair model for hair salons. From there I befriended a few budding photographers and we started shooting together for experience. The modelling/photography scene in Canberra was very small when I started out so it was always just for fun and I never saw it as a career until much later on. Around the same time I also started an Administration Traineeship at a car dealership which sparked my interest in cars.
Throughout my early modelling career I dabbled in different styles from Pin up to high fashion and I started doing some promotional work as well. My first automotive promotional experience was at Summernats, which is notoriously known as one of the ‘rougher’ car shows in Australia. It was a bit of an eye opener but I did have a lot of fun and there were some amazing cars at the show.
In 2010 I had decided to leave Canberra to pursue a life in the big smoke – Sydney. I fell in love with the Porsche brand in Canberra and decided I wanted to work for Porsche again, so I sent off my resume to the dealers in Sydney and got lucky. I have been spoilt working for the Porsche brand, I love the cars, the staff and the lifestyle. I can’t imaging working anywhere else.
Along with my career, my modelling work also blossomed when I moved to Sydney. With more opportunity I was lucky enough to shoot for Y-London, Muk Haircare’s international campaign and score a 2 month contract in Dubai working for Fashion TV’s Studio F. I have worked with national and international photographers and have a strong portfolio and experience as a result. I have also competed in a few modelling competitions and have been a national finalist in both Fashion TV’s Diamond Model awards and World Supermodel Australia winning the X-Factor and Best Catwalk categories.
I have been able to merge my two worlds together briefly at intervals shooting with International Photographer Dean Moncho and an amazing team for Porsche Design Sydney modelling their product and the Porsche brand. I’ve been very lucky.
When I moved to Sydney and scored the job at Porsche, they didn’t really have a role for me so I was doing odds and ends and it ended up morphing into my current Events and Marketing role. I was thrown in the deep end having no qualifications for this role, but I’ve gained invaluable experience and my manager has been supportive every step of the way.
The attraction to modelling at the start came down to a free haircut and colour when I was young and broke. I also found a lot of excitement being on stage in front of a crowd. I am a very shy person normally, but when I model I find it’s almost like you’re an actor. Once you’re in front of that camera you can step out of your skin and become someone else entirely. It’s a sense of freedom for a short amount of time and a bit of a rush.
It hasn’t been an easy path to break into the modelling scene. A lot of my shoots have been TFP and when you’re lucky enough to work with an experienced team it’s not so bad because you walk away with some amazing images as well as more experience, but sometimes you’re not so lucky. It’s very much trial and error. You also need to be able to network well and learn quickly.
Promotional, runway and editorial modelling is all quite different. Working in promotional modelling you need to be quick thinking as you’re put on the spot quite often. Not only do you need to spend time prepping for your look, you also need to spend some time learning the product so you can be the best brand ambassador you can be and help sell for the client. Runway and editorial are more looks based, so you need to spend longer on appearance as makeup can only go so far. You also need to prep with posing and facial expression. I was competing in Latin and Ballroom dancing for years, so I was very much aware of how my body should look and what poses suited me and which didn’t. You need to be very self aware and it takes a lot of practice to make it work.
The best part of the profession is the result. Seeing all that hard work of a team coming together to produce a stunning image or to successfully sell a product. There is nothing better than knowing that you put everything into it and it paid off. The most difficult is learning how to deal with the rejection. Most jobs you apply for you won’t get and unfortunately it leaves you wondering why a lot. In reality it may be because the client is looking for someone who has long hair, instead of short, or who has a look that will compliment their product, but in your head you are always thinking about the worst scenario, that you’re not pretty enough, that you didn’t work hard enough, that you aren’t good enough. It’s tough to get around and you have to build a thick skin and unfortunately that just comes with time and experience.
I model for my own reasons and because I enjoy it and everyone has their own views and opinions on this topic. I will say though that I agree that sex sells but whether that’s a good or bad thing, I can’t really comment. Most of the girls this is a second income and they enjoy it and are paid well for it, so I don’t see it as a problem. I can understand that it would make it harder for emerging female [racing] drivers to be taken seriously, but that happens in all industries. I have worked as a promotional model at car events, I was treated well and respected and at the end of the day I didn’t care what other people thought of me because I did my job well.
The marketing and modelling world is shifting constantly. I know that most people would be shouting for equality but to be honest, that’s already happening. Maybe not in our generation but definitely for the future generations. I know others may shout for less sexism or that ‘beauty isn’t everything’ but it works and I can’t see that changing any time soon. So to be honest, I have no idea what I’d change.
I have always had a bit of an interest in cars but I can’t tell you their 0-100km/h speeds or how big their engines are. I’m not sure what it is, but there is just a fascination with them I can’t explain, especially with Porsche. There just isn’t anything else out there quite like them.
If I’m being honest, my daily drive would be a motorbike. I have owned a couple and I fell in love with the freedom you feel when riding. I like the cruiser style bikes and it’s my goal to one day own a Harley Davidson. Porsche actually partnered with Harley Davidson to build the engine on the V-Rod models, so it’s a perfect fit.
I don’t have a car/bike currently but my partner has a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle he’s in the process of restoring. His grandmother purchased it new and gave it to him, so soon I’ll be rocking around in a little Saturn Yellow bug.
To learn more about Alexandra, visit her official website at http://www.alexandrabromley.com.au/
All images - when not designated otherwise - were taken from http://www.starnow.com/alexandrabroml…