Cailin Hill is the girl behind modeling industry commentary blog Model Burn Book, the popular Tumblr blog that strikes a perfect balance between humor, snark and self-deprecation:
In 2011 she stopped the blog for two months before resuming it after she signed to Ford, at the time telling Fashionista that she didn’t want to water down her commentary to please the industry. But her new booker apparently loved the blog, because why wouldn’t you, and gave her the green light to resume mocking the industry to heart’s content. Or at least he did for a few months – she’s now disappeared from Ford’s website, and though she’s now going on go-sees, appears to be spending most of her time in Tokyo.
The reason for that? Well, only that modeling in New York was a financially, physically and psychologically draining nightmare. On Friday Cailin wrote a post that starts ‘New York was like a shitty dream I couldn’t wake up from,’ in which she outlines some pretty horrific stuff about her experiences.
Some of her most sobering claims include that she was not, as told to Fashionista and The Cut, 22 years old when she signed to Ford:
“I was 27 years old pretending to be 22 and I wanted to kill myself every day.”
It can’t be that difficult to push your DOB forward a few years – last year Agyness Deyn finally admitted she’d been 24, not 18, when she started modeling. But Deyn reaped a bigger cash reward for her lies. Hill, on the other hand, was living off museli bars:
“The thought of dividing a bill at a restaurant in the East Village between 15 people had me waking up in a cold sweat, and I couldn’t afford $60 of Molly-water on a fucking Tuesday. I had Brooklyn problems. I was inspecting the spaces between my floorboards for weed crumbs and rationing from my bulk stash of mint-choco Clif bars which were my main source of nourishment.”
And it wasn’t due to being out of work either – rather the opposite:
I had supposedly made so much money modeling. I had the statements to prove it. But where was it all? Expenses. Travel. Accommodations. I was making money on paper, but I had nothing to show for it.
Those in the industry have (rightly) spoken up about the dodgier side of things in the past, but normally once they can afford to make enemies and turn down jobs. And while we’ve all heard about models throwing up their lunch and being scammed by agents, it’s still unsettling to hear such a gory first-hand account from somebody who seemed amused by, rather than completely cynical about, modeling.
In response to a question about the shock post, Cailin says she has always had an ulterior motive to write a book about her experiences. In the meantime she appears to be getting work in Japan, but of course, that doesn’t mean money in the bank. At least the nightmare hasn’t killed her biting sense of humor, and we hope she keeps blogging while searching for a publisher. The industry could use more tell-alls that don’t double as plugs for things like this.