Michelle Valencourt in Fashion
Modelresource (MR): What do models need to know when they move to London?
Michelle Valencourt (MV): The first thing is to get your work permit. I had such a nightmare with that. I was supposed to come over before show week, and I got my work permit - Premier (her London agency) organized that for me - it was going really well...
When I was younger I used to be able to just take my work permit to the airport with my passport, and I was gone. But now you have to apply for an entry permit which gives you leave of entry to use your work permit in London. It's just a real mess. So just give yourself at least six weeks to get it before you come over. It definitely delayed my trip.
But London is a phenomenal market - really friendly clients and you just need to be a really fresh face - just be yourself. It's a pretty chill market compared to other places. You can be yourself with clients here.
MR: What types of bookings can models expect?
MV: London is phenomenal for magazines. Pop, ID, Dazed & Confused... it absolutely is an excellent editorial market.
Right now the catalogues are going. I'm an editorial type of girl but I'm doing TV commercials and stuff, which I definitely was not expecting. I'm getting a lot of requests for catalogue and commercial, which when you're an editorial girl you don't expect to get requests for catalogue, but there's a lot of catalogue right now, and after show season the campaigns start. It's a little bit of everything, but I would definitely say London is the best for me.
Michelle Valencourt in Marie Claire
MR: Do you find it easy to get around?
MV: It's pretty easy - there's no language barrier.
The tube (subway) is so simple and there are no express trains that blow past your stop like in New York.
I would saying that as far as getting around, London is the most simple city. Distances are far, like when you're going to castings you probably want to give yourself an hour in between, but it's very simple to get around.
When you have you London A-Z, it's like you're bible here. It gets you around so easily.
MR: How do you find the people?
MV: I think London's people are really friendly, they have a great sense of humour, you can tallk to anyone and everyone is interested in what you're all about. If you're in to the nightlife - I mean I'm not so much because I'm still underage at home... I'm not much for partying - but there's really great nightlife.
MR: What about the "tourist" thing?
MV: Oh, I'm such a tourist! It's phenomenal - the architecture... I do all the cheesy things like the London Dungeon. I've always been a tourist because if not now, I may never come back to London.
I know a lot of models that say "why are you going around sightseeing - you should rest." And I'm like "You're in London, England!" I always do the touristy thing.
I did the Tower of London this weekend. That was a phenomenal history lesson. It's expensive, but I would say it's worth it. I'm a history buff and I get into the history behind the Tower of London - all the medieval background.
MR: Have you had any technology issues?
MV: Money I never have a problem with because they take Mastercard, but here you have to have a PIN instead of a signature. A lot of tourists coming over here don't know their PIN. As far as debit machines, anywhere that has a PLUS sign, or INTERAC sign... the bank machines here often don't even have service charges.
My cell phone - there's a different frequency on mine, but a lot of cell phones you can get unlocked - I'm not sure you're supposed to - but a lot of places here are licensed to unlock cell phones and then you get a phone calling plan that costs 5p (roughly 10 cents) a minute to call anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. That's cheaper than to call in the U.K.