CityLife Arts

A day in the life of an international model

Two Miss SA Top 10 finalists reveal their travel secrets 

By CityLife Arts Writer

Chantelle Pretorius (Pretoria) and Jordan van der Vyver (Cape Town), are both full time international models who – when not in lockdown – usually spend half the year travelling and working overseas. The two Miss SA Top 10 finalists reveal their travel secrets and what they get up to when they’re abroad.

When did you start your modelling career?
Chantelle: I got scouted by an agency when I was 17 and slowly started out my modelling career to earn a bit of pocket money. After completing my first year in B.Com Investment Management at the University of Pretoria, I was signed by an agency in London and after turning 20, I left to work in London for three months. Since then I have been travelling on and off for the last four years.
Jordan: I started part time in 2010 and have been a full time model since 2014.

What are the three things that are essential for you when flying?
C: I am a very light sleeper, so I always make sure to have some ear plugs and my eye mask.
J: Neck pillow, headphones and aerosol water spray (for the face, life changer)

What do you always pack first?
C: On one of my very first trips I made the mistake of packing everything except my underwear, and since then I always make sure it’s the first thing I pack.
J: I’m quite methodical so tops and pants first!

What type of modelling do you prefer and why?
C: I really enjoy the more commercial, happy and smiley jobs. It suits my personality and I get to be myself all day!
J: Campaigns. They’re usually shot in amazing locations which makes it seem like an all- expenses paid holiday to a place you might never have visited in your lifetime. It broadens one’s horizons! You get to know the crew more personally and usually everyone on these sets is happy and stress free which makes for an amazing experience.

When you are working internationally what is a typical day for you?
C: There’s no such thing as a ‘typical day’ when travelling as every day brings new challenges and new adventures. After a full day of work I usually unwind by cooking a quick, healthy dinner and catching up with friends and family over facetime. I am a firm believer in beauty sleep so I always try to go to bed early to be ready for work the next day.  

(Left) Chantelle enjoys some street food abroad. (Right) Jordan on one of her overseas shoots

J: Each city has its own routine but generally on a shoot day in studio, I wake up early to work out before call time, get to set early with clean hair, face and nails and then the makeup artist and hair stylist set up while I have a coffee and some fruit.

Once they’re set up, I get my hair and makeup done, which takes an hour or two, and then go straight into wardrobe while the photographer prepares the set and lighting. The first shot takes the longest but after that we get into a rhythm and it’s easy going from there. In the afternoon we have a lunch break, touch ups for hair and makeup then finish shooting the rest of the clothes.

At the end of the shoot I take off my makeup, go home and head out to the gym if I didn’t get to the gym that morning. I make dinner, read and relax. I also always repack my “model bag” and replace anything that has been used. To end the day I clean my hair, face and nails to be ready for the next day again.

On a non-shoot day, I’m still working, so I get up early-ish and go straight to the gym. Get back to wherever I’m staying and get ready for the day. Go out for breakfast, meet a friend for lunch and create content for my social media pages. Throughout the day I’ll be going to castings and meeting potential clients and brands. Once my work day is done, I head off to the grocery store, pick up ingredients for dinner, get home, make dinner then read or watch a bit of TV before going to bed.

Your favourite destination?
C: I have a regular client in a small town in Portugal called Guimaraes so Portugal is  starting to feel like my second home. One of the best things about the country is that it is quite small so you can easily see different cities and towns with completely different feels and landscapes all in one day. Beautiful beaches,  amazing food, wine farms, incredible nature and the most picturesque towns makes it one of my favourite countries.
J: Always, Cape Town.

Worst travel experience?
C: Once I made the mistake of travelling with a can of pepper spray which I accidentally packed in my hand luggage on a flight from Munich to Berlin. I was horrified when airport security pulled me aside and started asking questions about why I had a “weapon” in my possession.

I tried to explain that I was carrying it for self defence as I was travelling alone, but the airport police informed me that not only was it against the law to fly with pepper spray, it’s also seen as an illegal weapon in Germany. They informed me the matter couldn’t be resolved by airport security and they decided to call the German State Police while I had to wait for them accompanied by border security officers. Eventually I was fined 300 Euros (almost R6,000) and got a stern warning from the police.

J: I was on my way to a job on the Canary Islands and somewhere over Zimbabwe we started noticing the plane was going in circles and some passengers started panicking. The captain came on the intercom and said they were having problems with the weather instruments so we had to turn around. At this point I started crying because I thought I wasn’t going to make it to my job and also because I thought we might be hit by lightning. Touchdown back in Johannesburg, my family had to pick me up again and take me home and take me back the next day to get on the next available flight. I eventually made it to Tenerife a day late. The job was half completed by another model and I had to shoot the second half having had very little sleep and no time for a shower.

What three things do you miss about SA the most when you are overseas?
C: The weather, the food and the affordable lifestyle! Also, biltong, a proper steak and homemade rusks are a few of the foods I miss the most when travelling.
J: Woolworths (actually all our brands), the quality of our food and I dearly miss my loved ones.

You have the day off – what do you do?
C: Europe is so pedestrian friendly and one of my favourite things to do on a day off is to explore the city on foot. Almost every city in Europe has free walking tours where a local guide shows you around and acquaints you with all the interesting places and landmarks. For me it’s a great way to meet new people and to learn more about the beautiful buildings that you walk past every day. I also love to try new coffee shops and I can spend hours people watching and use the time to catch up on my studies. Good coffee almost makes studying enjoyable.

J: One thing about me is that I dislike sightseeing on my own because I have no one to share the experience with. If I can’t spend the day with a friend, I’ll walk around, go to a park or go window shopping. When I’m by myself, I can’t sit in one place for too long because I get bored quickly and then I have a lot of time to think of all the things I could and should be doing!

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