Going abroad as a model – a constant theme for many models, both New Comers and professionals. With a stay abroad, some plans come your way, you will be rewarded with plenty of experiences – no matter where in the world you are. Many young models are concerned about whether they can cope independently abroad, what exactly awaits them and which country or city is the right choice. Malia von CM Models is currently on the road as a model in Cape Town. I talked to her about her stay abroad in the South African dream city.
Model Malia: “Cape Town was a coincidence”
CM: Malia, you’ve been modeling in South Africa for several weeks/months. What have you experienced there as a model?
Here you experience a lot – from shootings, sight seeing, surfing to shark diving. Cape Town is extremely diverse in every respect.
CM: How did you discover South Africa/ Cape Town in particular?
I’m honest, Cape Town was more of a coincidence. My friend wanted to spend a semester abroad at the university and I thought I could just come along and model there. Since we went on holiday a year ago and had an agency there, it was very easy to implement the plan then.
CM: How did you prepare for your stay in advance?
In the end you don’t have to prepare for Cape Town, the only difficult or “long” one is the work visa, so you should plan about 2-3 weeks until you have all documents together and drive to the embassy in Berlin. It’s also important what clothes you take with you. I say this quite explicitly because Cape Town does not offer good or high-quality shopping opportunities (in terms of shootings). So if you plan to test, you should bring some clothes.
Malia about the possibilities as a model in Cape Town
CM: What are your experiences in Cape Town as a model so far?
There is a lot of competition on the road, casting can be longer than you want and direct booking unfortunately doesn’t exist. The jobs are great and you have opportunities you wouldn’t have in Germany and the tests are great.
CM: From your experience: Which models are particularly in demand in South Africa?
Ü30 models with blond short hair. Also male models.
CM: What does the modeling industry in Cape Town look like?
There are extremely many agencies and in the summer (German winter) the customers make a pilgrimage to Cape Town and produce there, due to the low costs. Yes, the model fees are also about half as good as in comparison to Germany. You feel like in a German village, because there are extremely many German models/photographers/MUAs on site.
CM: What jobs have you done in Cape Town so far? How did they go off?
Sport jobs, a lot is produced there in this respect, but also TV commercials. The process is no different than in Germany, perhaps one difference: after the casting there is always a callback, i.e. a second casting. If you are taken then there is one day only for fitting and then it is only produced. The days are long because you start shooting very early (because of the light). People rarely work over lunchtime because the light is too hard and it usually doesn’t continue until the afternoon.
CM: What are your typical daily routines in South Africa as a model?
The agencies communicate via SMS and send you the casting. Then you go to the different casting studios and hope that not 100 other people are waiting for the same casting. Waiting times vary from 10 minutes to 4 hours per casting.
There are normal castings (here the waiting times are 1-4 hours) and “requested” castings (there you are specially requested, have an appointment and usually come directly to it). Requested castings are always the ones where you have the best chances, because the customer has already selected you based on his pictures and wants to see you.
CM: How do you live and how did you get your place? What do you recommend?
The agencies help or provide accommodation. But I’m not a fan of model apartments and that’s why we chose Airbnb for our own accommodation. This was not directly in Cape Town City, but only 15 minutes away, cheaper and on the beach – which I personally like better. If you are an independent person and like to organize yourself, I can only recommend such a thing. If you are perhaps unsure, you should seek the help of the agency.
Malias Cape Town Highlights
CM: What are your personal Cape Town highlights?
My highlight was one of my last test shootings with the photographer Jacques Weyers (photographed for Elle Southafrica and World of Swimsuits among others). We shot an editorial, which was very important to me personally and in which I could find myself very well. Besides, I was the only model Jacques tested with, which was like a little knighthood for me.
CM: Which model hot spots would you recommend to other models?
The Food Markets in Cape Town are amazing, and I’m also a fan of some restaurants: Kloofstreet House, Cafe Paradiso, Simply Asia, Beluga and Black Sheep. Osumo makes the best smoothies and to celebrate: Era, Tschin Tschin Rooftopbar, Shimmy Beachclub.
CM: What do you like about modeling in Cape Town? What is more problematic?
I find the locations in Cape Town fantastic. If you want to do tests, you can have extremely many settings and improve your book very much.
Another problem is that the fees are unfortunately not so good and you have to be careful about the crime in Cape Town.
CM: What does a model have to pay special attention to in South Africa? (rules, customs, differences to Germany etc.)
Cape Town is very Western/European, but yes there are townships and crime is high. In the evening when it gets dark you should not go out alone or to the beach, you should not carry too many valuables around with you, carry too expensive clothes, get involved in conversations in the street or just go with people. You should just pay attention to what’s going on around you. When you rent a car, you have to expect people to drive extremely badly and uncoordinated. We had a little accident because someone drove into our car (only fender damage) and my credit card was stolen from the machine. You just have to be aware of these things when you are there and plan to fly there. Nevertheless, you don’t have to be afraid on the spot, because if you just pay attention to these things you are safe.
Cape Town for the Model-Book – Germany for the Model-Gage
CM: What do you take with you from your stay in South Africa to Germany?
Cape Town is good for the book and for the experience, however, one simply has to say that one is “on paid vacation” there and that Plus Minus Null will return to Germany.
CM: Would you recommend South Africa, especially Cape Town, to other models? Why?
I think for Newfaces Cape Town is great, you can build your book with great photographers, especially in terms of commercials. Then I also think that Cape Town is very good for models Ü30, because the market there is very versatile and as a model you can work there very well even in old age. If you fall into this grid or simply want to gain experience abroad I can recommend Cape Town, but if you think you will make the big money there I have to say, unfortunately, stay in Germany.
CM: Dear Malia, thank you for the interview!