Model Madi Fogg Talks Getting Scouted, Working with Chanel, Tom Ford, and Her Travels Abroad
Madi Fogg was spending the day at the beach with her friends when she was scouted by an agent. The next thing she knew, she was modeling for Chanel, Tom Ford, and being flown to Capri, Sweden, and the US. We sat down with Madi Fogg to learn more about how her career and the experiences that have come with it - the good, the challenging, and the unexpected. How did you get into modeling?
I had just turned 18 and finished high school, I was on a beach in Byron Bay for a holiday with some friends, and a guy (soon to be my mother agent) came up to me on the beach and told me that I should be modeling overseas and that he could put me in touch with agencies. He took some photos of my face with his iPhone and a week later I was in New York City for fashion week.
Has modeling always been a dream job for you?
Half yes and half no! Modeling, per se, was never a dream of mine, but I was interested in design and sewing my own clothes during high school. The other half that I always wanted was to travel and work in as many places as I could see and experience, so in that way modeling was a dream come true! A few people had approached me in Sydney and asked me to sign with their agencies, but it only caught my attention when someone had mentioned traveling overseas.
You are originally from Australia, how did you end up going from there to high fashion in Paris and New York?
Once I had finished New York fashion week in the February of 2014, my agents organized for me to fly to London for fashion week followed by Milan and Paris.
What are some of the clients you’ve modeled for?
Chanel Haute couture, Chloe, Christoph Lemaire, Hermes, Celine, Victoria Beckham, Tom Ford, Alexander Wang, Cartier, Zara, Banana Republic, Urban Outfitters, Paige Denim, DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Figs, Lula Johnson, Stella McCartney, and others.
Where have you traveled thanks to your job? What was your favorite place?
All over Europe! Especially all over Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, and the UK. Also to China, Bali, the Middle East, Japan, and of course across America.
One of my personal favorite things about modeling is how the jobs and especially castings, take you to the furthest and deepest corners of the cities, to places you would never have got to as a tourist. Into photographer's apartments, client's homes, brand's offices, and random warehouses. But I especially love when you turn up to an address listed on a call sheet and are surprised with a minivan and a 2-hour car drive to the location - usually a beautiful forest, beach, mountain, or something! Obviously, this is one of the hardest questions to answer - I have 3 jobs at the top of my favorite shoot locations list:
Shoot on Capri Island staying at the Capri Palace. We were shooting all around the island and a lot of shots of me jumping from cliffs into the ocean (one of my favorite hobbies growing up) 5-day road trip from Pheonix to Utah. We were shooting an editorial and driving across Nevada with the trunk full of amazing Gucci, Prada, and other high-end designer clothes, stopping along the way and taking shots in some incredible spots. Lake Powell, the red rocks, and Sedona, and ending the trip with a 3-night stay at the Amangiri hotel.
Shooting on the cliffs next to the ocean in Sweden for a brand called Vero Moda. The whole team had to scale down the cliff faces and we spent the day down there shooting and eating local pastries (my favorite treats are from Scandanavia!)
What is the most difficult aspect of modeling?
One difficult part of modeling is learning how to live flexibly and maintain a healthy balance between how much you change your lifestyle for your work. Looking back although I am grateful, I'm sure that if it had been my choice in where I lived and worked I would have chosen a very different list!
Having your life decided by agents and at the call of clients is a very hard aspect of modeling, especially when you live away from any family or friends, in a foreign place where you can't speak the language.
Learning how to live your life never knowing whether or not you have to work the next day - let alone the next week! "Hi there, it's Madi. Just calling to see if you know what my next week looks like?" - is the most common line you will use as a model! Also learning how to wake up to emails with your plane tickets to Spain departing in a few hours and you have to rush to pack and leave for a last-minute 3-day work trip! It's also a really hard thing to accept that your fate involves a lot of different hands before it gets to yours. For example, you can be the best that you can be - best skin, best hair, best body, but if your agent isn't sending you to the client and the client doesn't say yes, then you can't get the job. It's hard when you don't get jobs or income based on how you look when you are trying your best! What’s the main advice you’d give to someone starting in the field? I would tell them to have fun! To say yes to as many opportunities as they can, even if they sound crazy. Everything always works out and when you have your agency behind you making the bookings, you're never really alone.
I would also like to remind them that modeling is a trend-based industry and not to let their feelings about themselves and the way they look change based on what the demands of society tell them. Many agents and clients always want what will make them the most money and they are not necessarily thinking about what is best for their life.
Has social media changed how modeling works? Do you enjoy social media or do you find it challenging/draining?
Yes, it has completely changed the modeling industry for some better and some worse. I think the major benefit has been the shift of power from the agencies’ hands into the hands of the models as they can now essentially promote themselves. With clients searching on social media, the models now have control over the pictures they want to show and the image they want to present of themselves. Before, the agents’ jobs used to be to establish the girl's look, curate her clientele, and decide what her career looked like.
The downside of social media is the excess pressure it puts on models, as well as the rest of society. From my experience, it is extremely hard as a model to share social media between work and personal life. The things you need to share for work may not aline with what you want to share with your friends and family. Especially considering that in photos from work, you are a product of the hair and make-up artist’s job, the stylist’s job, and are overall selling something for someone else.
How do you balance work/life?
I'm happy to say I've finally found the perfect combination to balance my work life and my personal life. It takes a lot of focus and conscious decisions but once you understand that you are the captain of your ship, the world is your oyster. I have learned to take the opportunities for my personal needs when I see them and take full advantage of what is in my control. It might mean a 6-hour flight to Hawaii for only 4 days before flying 6 hours back to LA to work for half a day shooting...but taking those moments that feed my soul is what is the most important for my health and in return make me a better model!
Do you have any exciting projects coming up that you can share with us? Yes, I'm super excited to share some pictures of my recent shoot in Malibu for a brand I can't talk about until they release the campaign. We spent 2 days shooting in Malibu on location in the mountains and on the beach. We took some stunning pictures! To keep up with Madi’s work you can follow her on Instagram @madifogg.