Get ready to step into the life of a St Andrean model…
Michael Currie is just like any other 2nd year maths student. He goes to class, knows all his times tables and understands exactly what trigonometry really is. He’s a keen snowboarder and an even keener Lizard regular. But he’s also one of the lucky few hand-picked to model in prestigious St Andrews fashion shows Sitara and Réfèt Afrique…
First off, can you explain how you got interested in modelling?
A few people mentioned in passing that I could give it a go, and I quite fancied the experience. I’ve never really been hugely into fashion, but I thought it might be a bit of fun, and I’d heard about the parties. In the end I went along to the auditions with a friend, and that was that.
How much of a commitment is it to model for two shows?
Every Sunday I rehearse for 2 hours with Sitara, and then 2 hours with Réfèt. We practise walking and posing with our choreographer, and get feedback on how we’re doing. 4 hours of rehearsals is quite a long time, and it can be difficult combining it with studying, but people who are in musicals or theatre shows will practise for far longer. On top of that, we have photoshoots and socials every so often – it’s really important to have a good connection with the other models along with the directors and choreographers.
How have the shows influenced your own personal style?
I’m not sure how the clothes I will wear in the shows will influence me, since I haven’t actually seen them yet. But I probably do subconsciously think more about what I wear – I rarely go out in the day wearing something that couldn’t be worn on a night out. I’m also much more aware of my posture and I certainly have an incentive to go to the gym…
Do you ever find people treat you differently when they find out that you model?
I’d wondered about the “stupid model” stereotype, but I can’t say I’ve ever encountered it. Most people are quite interested when you mention it, especially since the shows are for charity. And nobody’s ever said “are you f***ing kidding me?!”, which can only be a good thing!
St Andrews fashion shows have sometimes been criticised for being elitist. Do you feel this is an accurate point of view?
Not at all. Sitara use loads of different models from all sorts of backgrounds and of all different body shapes. Réfèt tend to go more for the taller, skinnier sort, but I’m only 5’10” so there is still variety. Both shows draw on global cultures for inspiration. Some outfits are full traditional dress, which are really cool to wear. Others are interpretations using shapes and patterns, and are designed by people from a range of backgrounds. Your finances, where you’re from and who you know really don’t come into it at all. Everyone’s just out for a good time.
What aspects of the shows are you most excited for?
Well, I can’t give too much away, since we try to keep everything top secret until the night… But I’m really looking forward to the rehearsals paying off, seeing it all come together and knowing my friends are there in the crowd watching. And of course, the adrenaline buzz – when the music starts and you’re like “Oh, s**t. This is it”.
Are you planning on continuing modelling after you graduate and leave The Bubble?
I wouldn’t mind doing a bit of catalogue just for some extra cash, but I know I’d never chose it as a career. Criticism is okay, but complete rejection is hard and I’m not sure it would get any easier. I’ve only really had a taste of it, but I think as a profession the stress would be immense and take away from my enjoyment.
Finally, any tips for students interested in modelling while here in St Andrews?
Understand your strengths and remember that, at the end of the day it is a bit of fun for charity. You really don’t have anything to lose.
Michael Currie interviewed by Anna Samson
Photographer: Anna Samson
Model: Michael Currie