Magda Swider: Modelling is like being a Chameleon. Everyday it’s a new look, new makeup, new hair.
Updated: May 9, 2021
How long have you been a model and how did you get your start in the industry?
I have been a fashion model for over 10 years! I started modelling when I was 15. This is the best age to start as the most likely the girl looks skinny and boish. Castings are very important as this is where you can be seen by all the clients/brands so by the age of 18 you have a better experience and an introduction to the fashion world together with a strong book with the pictures (portfolio). It can be a very stressful start for a young girl. It’s a lot of travelling, a lot of time away without the family. Agencies are always looking for something and someone new. And the best way to find a talent /new face is to discover a young girl age 15-17. It takes 3 years for a young girl to do a proper modelling. You need to learn how to walk, how to perform in front of a camera. And this is how it happened with me. I was scouted by Marlena Bielinska a top fashion photographer in Poland who passed the contact and invited me to a casting in Poland where I met my future agent who became my mother agency and took care of my career.
Has your perception of the modeling industry changed over time?
The whole modelling world has changed since social media. It is easier to contact the fashion agencies, easier to get scouted, but also the competition it's much bigger. Social media has a big power for creative industries, brands, people working in photography, fashion, design, retail. They are all using a tool to market themselves. So many kiosks and shops with print magazines have been closed. Digital magazines and online articles started to be more and more popular. When I started modelling social media did not exist. There were few people having an iPhone. I remember walking down the street in Milan with a printer map. The portfolio/model book I was carrying for evry casting was the only marketing tool. Now for example with Instagram we have all the online possibilities for self-promotion. Amazing selfies, pictures behind the scene from a backstage, they are all getting more noticed. For many models this can be more difficult as you are not dealing only with being skinny and beautiful but measurement becomes as important as your followers on social media. Even on an agency’s website you can also find a link to your Instagram account.
At what point did you realize that you wanted to be a creative person professionally?
I have always been interested in art. Modelling is like being a chameleon. Everyday it’s a new look, new makeup, new hair. We can easily say that there is the love affair between fashion and art. Fashion designers, makeup artists are always inspired by the shape, colour, architecture, sculptors. Coco Chanel quote says “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live”. The idea that fashion is art and that art is a fashion is a debate as old as an Earth.
How did you get through hard times in your career?
I never give up. I always try my best. I am a positive person and believe that the hard work pays off. And here I am still after 10 years in the fashion industry, doing even better than before. There were mornings that I had enough... There were fashion shows with swollen feet and tired eyes. There were fashion shoots where I got my hair burned or a pencil in my eye by accident during make up. There were hours of travelling and an exhausted body. Night of lying down awake full of thoughts in my head. But in the end of the day I always pushed to move forward. All the up side down made me stronger and tougher. With a time I learnt how to accept that as a model you can not take personally evry comment. For some brands you can fit for some not. It's important for you to understand that and accept it. I heard a lot that my nose is too long or my eyes are too big apart, I am too blond, I am too dark, I am too fat , I am too skinny , my skin is too light... and over and over again. You've got to learn to cope with rejection, because you will be rejected from more jobs than the jobs you'll get accepted.
As a model, can you tell us what are the basic modeling rules everyone must follow to have a beautiful pose?
1. Start with the mirror, learn different face expressions.
Keep your poses moving but move slowly.
Follow your photographer direction on where to look.
Relax the hands spreading the fingers lightly, slightly broken at the joints. Hands should be placed in a position that works with the image: under the chin, over the shoulder, to the side of your body.
Angle your legs and arms. Do not stand straight staring at the camera.
Elongate your neck.
Have knowledge of what you are wearing and play with the props.
Have a basic understanding of light, so it helps you to move.
Have you ever been camera shy?
Yes of course! :) Especially in the beginning... It took me a lot of time to feel comfortable in front of the camera. It is important to build a trust between the model and the photographer. It is easier to work with the same photographer for the fifth time than for the first time. It is extremely difficult to shoot outdoors in a public location where there are many people trying to distract you. You have to learn how to do your job best and ignore the people around you. There is no time to be shy, you need to be focused. This all takes time to learn.
What do you do to stay in shape?
I eat healthy and exercise a lot. I am a qualified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist so I use my knowledge from the Sport University to help other young models who struggle with their shape in the fashion industry. The agencies always asked to loose weight and be in shape but they don't explain what to do. So I love to share my fitness tips. A lot of models starve and do not have a proper diet plan. I always have a passion for sport. I love yoga, tennis and martial arts. I got interested in nutrition due to modelling to always keep the right measurements. I drink a lot of fruit and vegetable fresh pressed juices. My favourite snacks during the day are nuts.
Name three things on your bucket list?
Dance barefoot in the rain.
Do an extreme sport.
Describe your perfect day off when you are not modeling?
My perfect day would start with morning green tea and an outdoor sport activity. After that I love to cook a healthy meal. And I like to have a cheesecake ! Yes, a good diet is all about the right balance. Spend time with my family or close friends. Go to the art gallery or a sports event. And relax in the evening with a glass of red wine reading my favourite book.
Where can our readers keep up with your work and get connected with you?
@magdaswider_official & magdaswider.com