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TINNY MUSIC AND HUSHED CONVERSATION
Are they new out, those?
'I started off at an Australian model agency
'and worked there for quite a few years doing a variety of things.
'I decided to come over here and fortunately,
'I'd worked with one of the top photographers in Australia
'before I came for French Vogue
'so I could literally walk into an agency.'
MUSIC: Gonna Fly Now (theme from Rocky) by Bill Conti
# You're the model of perfection
# The others are only copies of you
# Can't you see the only thing that worries me
# I wonder if you're too good to be true... #
It was practically unheard of for a girl to get into modelling
just after the war unless she knew somebody.
I was very lucky, I knew a very famous model -
a half-Burmese model - who took me around
and introduced me to the right people.
She took me to the photographers and told me how to make up and
how to walk and she even got me my first job in a fashion house.
They didn't want me, I mean...
They really booked her, but they took me and she said to me
as she left, "You must ask for £7 a week!" And I got it.
And that was astronomical. The average wage was about £4.50.
# Disco light
# Shining bright... #
SARAH GRANT: With fashion shows today, they've become more exciting
because anything DOES go - clothes have changed so much, there is
no one particular style.
So therefore, there is such a range of things.
All right, so one minute you might look incredibly butch
in your leather gear or whatever
and the next, you'll have the most wonderful floaty, feminine thing on.
# Disco lights
# Come on and dance
# Shining bright
# Shine, la la la-la
# Disco lights Get it on, get it on, get it on
# Shining through the night
# I wanna, I wanna dance. #
As far as fashion shows, live shows were concerned, we were taught
to walk a little way down the runway, then you do a half-turn,
go to the centre, do a full turn, put your arms out in a certain way and
you know, you just might as well have had everything written down for you.
You took your coat off, you unbuttoned in a certain way
and held your gloves this way and you smiled at the right time.
And if you did anything different, first of all it was considered quite
outrageous and maybe people would laugh, but you wouldn't do it again.
You stuck to a formula, it reminded me of being in the ATS on a parade -
that's what you did and that's what you had to continue to do.
SARAH: It doesn't matter how a model walks today,
you could look at someone on a catwalk and say that she walks very
badly, I mean, a lot of them do, their posture - everything.
But today, you can get away with that because today it's more style,
more a way a girl does something, rather than the correct
posture or the way you turn.
I know that the way they used to turn was terribly stiff
and it was a set routine, just to turn.
Whereas today, a girl can run along the catwalk,
she can jump up and down, she can...
You know, fall over and it doesn't matter.
We had no choreographed shows and we had a straightforward compere
saying, "And now,
"we're showing you a delightful dress in navy blue,
"with stiff whatever-it-might-be, underskirts"
and if anything went wrong,
we tripped up... We were told if anything happened,
we should carry on as if nothing had happened,
so if you nearly broke your neck,
you just picked yourself up and carried on.
MUSIC: Franz Schubert by Kraftwerk
We were told to wear them as if they weren't good enough for us, you know.
As if we were used to very much better than that
and if we were in mink, for example, and fabulous fur coats,
we were always told to drag them along,
as if they really weren't worth having.
So our attitude was that we had to create the illusion that we were
very much better than anyone else and, you know, the audience loved it.
They liked to look up to us.
They liked to think of us as something very, very special.
You find in England that a lot of the top girls are Australian.
I think because they have to do such a variety of work there,
it makes them incredibly versatile
and they can be much harder working than the European girls.
Any accent that wasn't absolutely pukka was frowned on and it was very,
very difficult for girls who didn't speak well, because they were...
It was a hangover, I suppose, from time beginning, that this
big social division... And because most of the models became from...
Let's say the upper-middle classes, or even above that, they...
Ordinary girls weren't encouraged to take part in it.
This made modelling respectable because they were upper-class
girls who didn't really need the money
and I would say an Australian girl...
There weren't many of them, I can't remember any, would have had to try
to disguise her accent if she wanted to be really acceptable.
A model girl could not look sexy, it was absolutely fatal.
If a model girl looked sexy, then she was called a showgirl.
That was one of the things that lasted for years, you don't
impose yourself on the clothes,
a model did not impose herself on the clothes
and she wasn't asked or expected to have either a sexy look in her eye...
She was either aloof or she was the, er...
the outdoor English, fresh maiden.
Are you just going to trim it a little bit?
Yes. I'm just going to shape around the lengths,
because it is a little bit...
SARAH: 'To earn the money,
'you have to have a hairstyle that you can do anything with,
'that is just incredibly versatile,
'plus you have to change your hairstyle with the cut.
'One year, there's a certain cut, the next year, it's something else
'and you have to keep up with these things if you want to keep working.
'You must keep changing it.
'Colour of hair is very important, to keep it looking healthy.
'The hair and face is really the most essential things of the job.'
CHERRY: We didn't have hair shows.
I don't remember hair shows and
as for going to a hairdresser's every day, certainly we couldn't afford it.
You would go once in a blue moon before a big show or big
But certainly wasn't part of the model set-up
to go to the hairdresser - you did your own hair.
SARAH: 'With make-up, a lot of the time, for very straight jobs -
'your catalogue or whatever, you tend to do your own.
'I mean, I love having a make-up artist
'because they make you look different again.
'They see you in a different way, so they're constantly changing you,
'but it does add to the total look of the photographs.
'It does make a lot of difference and they're always better than
'you are, anyway, because they've been at it for a few years.'
CHERRY: There was no alternative,
we didn't know much about other kinds of make-up.
There was one kind of make-up.
We didn't have wigs, for example, we didn't have false eyelashes.
It was very difficult to get very much make-up.
We were lucky if we got something from America, for example.
We were very limited.
- It's looking really nice. - That's lovely.
I like the bit of body.
Yes, it just needed that fullness there.
That's super, isn't it?
Looks much healthier, all those bits cut off.
SARAH: 'You're called on to do so many things unexpectedly.
'I was doing a hair thing the other week with Vidal Sassoon, showing off
'new hairstyles, and no-one had really told me
'what we were going to do. I was just
'hanging around, waiting for something to happen,
'somebody to say, we'll all go up and shake our heads, or whatever'
and suddenly... I was having a quiet gin and tonic in the corner
and it was, "Quick, quick - you're on!"
So I went charging out in front of the audience thinking, "My God,
"what is happening?"
You get up there and the next thing, he shoves a microphone
under my mouth, and you can't just say nothing.
You can't stand there and look stupid, you have to think quickly.
- So, shall I shake my head? - We're going to call this...
It's called Shake It. The Shake.
The new look is going to be called The Shake,
because that's exactly what...
In fact, they didn't think we were able to do anything except
stand in front of a camera and smile on demand - or look very serious.
That is really all that was expected of us.
Is there a young man in the audience that would like to come
and put a hand through this hair?
We haven't had audience participation, I usually like that!
The hair, the hair!
Can you come down a bit lower? I see what you mean! Yeah!
I didn't think that was very funny!
Well, we were...
Very much the glamour girls of the post-war years.
You know, there was no television...
The Gaiety Girls had long been finished.
And we had the film stars and, you know, in the cinema,
but there were very much celluloid, they were hardly ever seen,
and so model girls, apart from being seen in photographs,
were seen doing fashion shows and travelling around the country
and we were elegant, sophisticated,
upper-class ladies of fashion,
SARAH: Well, I have the image of Sarah Grant when I'm working,
which can be a million and one things,
but I find when I'm not working, then
I'm Sarah Grant the individual, and I like to relax,
and I don't light to wear make-up
and I like to be very dressed down.
Comfort, you know. Just plop round in dungarees and things like that.
Being seen in the street doesn't bother me.
I wouldn't be recognised anyway,
because I look so different in photographs.
Personally, I think it's great to be able to go out without any make-up on
and to be in dirty, old clothes - to me, that's relaxation.
I don't care what people think.
I just know that I feel good and it's just me.
Well, you never stepped outside the front door without being
dressed absolutely as a model, that is with ALL your accessories -
your gloves and hat and what-have-you and beautifully made up.
You were very conscious the whole time of being a model
and was expected of you.
In fact, the worst thing that could be said about a girl
was that she didn't look like a model.
In fact, if a model agent saw a model girl not looking like a model,
she would be severely told off and threatened with being
chucked off the agency.
Apart from the fact that I wanted to look like a model,
I was very proud of it.
Liked people to point out and say, "You are obviously a model."
- Come in, Sarah. - Come on.
Come on, over here.
- Bring it over here. - What, are we starting here?
Yeah, we're starting here. Now, what I want you to do...
I've got this layout... Have a look. On the first one...
What I'd really like you to do is... You're a real bitch, OK?
SARAH: 'You have to play out a situation. The photographer
'comes up to you and says,
' "This is what we intend to do with this session".
'You may be photographing six pages
'and each page is a different sequence.
'You're literally acting.'
First of all, I'll do a Polaroid and see how we go.
Do you want me to hold the dog or just leave it on the lead?
Hold the dog, yeah. Jo, if you can get right in close to her.
Be nice if you can walk across that shot.
- You want me walking across? - Go.
Oh, yeah, that's great. Got all the camera crew in there!
It's quite nice, that.
If we can have you rushing more, much more bitchy,
and the hand could come up and almost smack Jo, right?
CHERRY: For photography, there were just a few positions -
one foot in front of the other, one foot slightly behind the other
and then hands in certain positions, you know?
All sort of...a la Barbara Goalen.
We could never do our own thing.
I mean, if you felt you wanted to move in a particular way or
relax in front of the camera, it was out of the question.
It wasn't just our fault,
the photographers were just as hidebound as we were.
OK, so she's really niggling at you. OK?
It's looking a bit '60s at the moment.
Right, there you go.
- Go away! Oh, sorry! - Lovely.
CHERRY: If, for example, you appeared in the glossy magazines,
you couldn't appear in the popular ones
because the glossy magazines wouldn't use a model whose face had
been shown with, let's say,
inexpensive or cheap little dresses or washing powder.
You could combine beauty ads with high fashion and that was about all.
Certainly nothing else.
And a girl would ruin her whole career
if she stepped down off this pedestal.
Sarah... I don't really know how to do this, yet.
- You've got to faint. - Yeah.
And for... I'm using this area here.
I don't know whether you should fall that way,
so I can see the clothes, and Jo is more or less worried,
with her fingers in her mouth,
very nervous, she doesn't know what to do with you.
I'd LIKE to get the action.
SARAH: You're playing out a situation and you have to make it real, because
if you're just being very phoney and putting it on, it doesn't work.
It doesn't come across. You've got to get into it and believe it.
I find those sort of jobs the most exciting thing.
You have to fall across the floor - you can't fake things like that.
If he says, "Right, this is what you've got to do," then you do it.
I mean, I love it.
You may have bruises for three days afterwards,
but I find it very exciting.
MAN: I think it would be good if you were standing, Jo - yeah.
Almost anticipating her falling, because she's drunk.
Jenny, get this bottle open for me, can you?
- Jo? - What?
These jodhpurs are ripped.
- Oh, pretend that didn't happen. - Yeah, OK.
I mean, it's just...
CHERRY: There was no such thing as teenage fashion - the girl of 16
wore exactly the same clothes as her mother, so everybody looked...
The sophisticated model always looked about 30, even if she was 18, 19, 20.
And we wanted to... we wanted to look wealthy
and unattainable and sophisticated.
There was no such thing as young fashion,
you very rarely had your hair blowing in the wind
and if you did in a photograph, by any chance,
then there was a wind machine doing it,
the girl's hair was set in the usual way.
This is our favourite shot, isn't it?
SARAH: No, I don't care how I'm seen, as long as it's right for the shot.
If you're doing a job and they want you to look a certain way,
then that's great.
Upside down or sort of make-up streaked down the face,
hobbling across the picture, whatever - I think that's great
because it just adds to it.
One doesn't have to try and look beautiful all the time.
I don't think it's important.
OK, Sarah - I've put water in it because we're not to ruin the carpet.
OK? And don't get it over your clothes. Or try not to, anyway.
Will I get some more water each time?
Yes, I'll get more water in there, all right?
OK, Jo? You know what to do?
Do you want me to crumple, or stretch right out?
Stretch right out.
- OK. - There you go. Go, now.
That's lovely, that's the one.
SARAH: 'To get good photographs, you must have a rapport'
and you feed off each other.
The photographer says something to you and so you try
and get what he wants you to do and then you have suggestions yourself.
I'm going to click this on your heel with the dog,
so if the dog pulls you away...!
SARAH: You may have your feet up the wall
and be upside down looking absolutely dreadful, but if it adds to the shot,
well, then it's good enough for me - I don't care how I look, as long
as the shot works, which is basically what you're there for, anyway.
CHERRY: We did nearly all photographic jobs
against a backcloth, either plain white...
And before we stood on this, we used to have to take our shoes off,
because God help us if we dirtied it or if we moved out of position.
So we usually had three positions in which we could stand.
Against this backcloth, we'd have our feet in one position
and the photographer would say "Right, now change over here",
and then we'd have all these absolutely ridiculous poses.
Josephine is really going to get in and do it.
You're showing a little bit too much cleavage!
That'll get us into too much trouble!
OK? Your eyes are closed, yeah?
- OK. - Yeah.
Keep those eyes closed.
Do you want them rolling a little bit?
Can you do it? Can you roll them for us?
- Yeah. - Great.
Go on, roll them around, that's crazy!
- OK! - If we get that, it'll be fun.
Roll your eyes around a bit. That's it.
Jump through that window. No, don't literally jump!
Smelling salts, Jo?
CHERRY: We showed nothing, we didn't show cleavage,
we didn't have boned bodices anyway, so even if you had a strapless
dress, you weren't likely to pop over the top of it.
There was no such thing, I mean, we didn't show...
There weren't bikinis, we weren't modelling bikinis
when I was modelling.
We hardly showed a leg.
And the girls who did the swimsuit ads certainly didn't do
the high fashion - you didn't appear in both.
You must be kidding!
Everyone else is getting out of the rain!
Shall I hold the umbrella over you, Parks?
Well, it's only a question of the cameras, that's all.
Yes, I know.
Stay there now, here we go.
I ought really have a Dinky on this, you know?
Chin up higher, darling.
SARAH: One of my most favourite photographers I think
is Norman Parkinson. I think he, more than anyone, has seen the changes.
We're using Sarah today because Sarah is an expert on a motorcycle
and she can do the job properly,
which means we get believable pictures.
I think, you know, times have changed,
and we now need pictures that are totally believable. Totally honest.
You can't fake it any more.
It's like people say if someone looks ugly, you better to retouch it.
You don't - you make sure they start by looking beautiful.
Right, listen, do you know what we're going to do?
We're going to drive down, and very, very posh! Right, so let's go.
SARAH: He works at it all the time and he makes you work so hard.
When you're going round the track and you're having to keep
a certain distance away from the car and he's flashing and you have to
wave, you have to be on your toes or else the shots aren't going to work.
NORMAN: 'There have been enormous changes and I like to think
'that perhaps I've been partly responsible for it.
'I mean, I always hated those girls who sit around with footmarks
'on the floor and really, they were on their way to the embalmers.
'But we took them out and we got them to move around and jump
'and believe that they were real, living, attractive women.
'And I think this has happened and
'more and more photographers have cottoned onto it.'
They were much more concerned that every detail could be seen in
the garment, because after all, the whole idea was to sell the clothes.
Even if we went on location, sometimes -
we went down to Stonehenge a couple of times - I was absolutely static.
I looked as stony as the bits of stone themselves.
Right, come on - let's go!
CHERRY: Today, a girl is booked
and can change two or three times in that hour, to save money, of course.
So our life was very much more leisurely.
If we were busy, we probably worked two hours in the morning,
two hours in the afternoon.
We didn't have the awful pressure knowing somebody else was breathing
over your shoulder, that another girl could step into your shoes easily.
I think the profession is very short-lived.
There is a lot of strain on you, er...
I think we're paid outrageously, myself!
But it's just the way the business is.
It's like soccer players or whatever, they're a short life
and they get paid a lot.
MUSIC: A Real Mother For Ya by Johnny "Guitar" Watson
Well, I love looking different.
My whole thing, as far as I'm concerned, is not looking the same.
Is changing constantly and being everything -
being sexy or butch or just the whole gamut of looks.
The thing was to remain looking very much as you were, because
otherwise people would say, you know, she doesn't look like the same girl.
It certainly wasn't a good thing to change your image then.
You had to be instantly recognisable in your photographs.
I think it's probably much more fun today - a girl today can make
a lot of money, she goes into it in a tough way, it's a business.
She can do her own thing, she can express herself,
she can make a lot of money. I think this must be rather fun.
It doesn't matter if she doesn't know how to use a knife
and fork, if she eats with her fingers, it doesn't matter.
It mattered tremendously, then.
I think the general feeling is much looser, much more free and easy.
Um... People are much freer within themselves, even.
There's not the uptightness that there used to be,
but then I think that's a reflection of society anyway.
I think people have become more open and freer within themselves
and I think it shows in the modelling business. It comes through.
I regret that the glamour has gone,
that your average model girl today doesn't look like a model.
You pass her in the street and she could be anybody.
I think that's a shame.
MUSIC: Love In C Minor by Cerrone
First transmitted in 1978, this programme looks at the differences between modelling in the 1940s and 50's compared to the 1970s. Providing insights into the different eras are Cherry Marshall and Sarah Grant. Cherry Marshall became a household name in the 1950s, as the house model for Susan Small, a leading name in ready-to-wear fashion. She established the Cherry Marshall Model Agency and managed such figures as Vidal Sassoon, Patti Boyd, the actress Suzi Kendall and the models Pat Booth, Grace Coddington, Paulene Stone and Brenda Walker. Australian model Sarah Grant is a catwalk veteran, who has been modelling since she was 16. She is still modelling, and a recent catwalk appearance was walking for Chanel in 2011, at the age of 60.