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Pulling back the curtain on the mystique of the model life – the real and mundane that sits behind the curated Instagram feed.



Polish photographer and model Alicja Łabądź first started working on this project during her first modelling trip to Seoul back in 2018. Since then, she has spent over a year on contracts in various locations in Europe, China, and Japan. Through her time working abroad she wanted to document the daily life of fashion models – without the perfect, shiny Instagram filter.

Driven to challenge the perceptions of what modelling is in people’s minds, her images paint a more realistic and mundane reality of a job that can be both beautiful, and highly demanding. With a unique perspective as both photographer and model – observer and observed – we can look behind the curtain of luxury fashion and demythologise the world of these expensive brands. 

“Long before you get to see your face on the glossy magazine covers sold in street kiosks, or the commercial banners for chic boutiques, you'll have to walk through countless castings, photo studios, make up schools and designer ateliers while also living your life through a handful of countries outside of your native continent.”

“Nobody said it’s gonna be easy – if you’re lucky you’ll earn some money after that second contract you had in Asia, which will help you wipe away the tears of frustration and demotivation. You have to remember to be strong, self-confident and patient. Don’t forget to smile, even when your 16-year-old contract-bound roommate is driving you crazy.”

“Clients don’t like pouting models, right? You probably won’t even get this job you waited so long for because of another 16-year-old girl. She’s been in the business for at least two years longer than you – her portfolio is bigger, and her hips are smaller. Just don’t give up, because (eventually) someone might give you a chance. At that point, all you have to do is strike a pose.”

See more of Alicja's work – @alicexlab