Backstage: the Life of a Fashion Model

The fashion industry and its thespians have become idolized in European culture. From an early age many young women dream of becoming models because of its glamourous reputation. Models inhabit an almost other worldly part of our imagination with photo shoots and runway shows in designer garbs. However, few actually have the opportunity to experience life behind the scenes.

Two new arrivals on the fashion scene have caught Fameiva’s attention. Esther Jordan-Muriwai, a Maori beauty queen from New Zealand, competed in Miss World New Zealand 2013. Lijana Norkaityte, originally from Lithuania, is an up-and-comer on the Danish fashion scene and she is signed with First Option Managament in Copenhagen.


Esther-Jordan Muriwai from New Zealand


Lithuanian Lijana

Lithuanian Lijana Norkaityte
Anja Ekstrøm Fotography

Fameiva: When and how did you start modeling?

Esther Jordan-Muriwai (EJM): I started modeling when I entered the Miss Aotearoa New Zealand 2012 Pageant held in the Hawkes Bay. I have been doing it ever since.

Lijana Norkaityte (LN): This is a pretty long story how everything started and developed. Since a very early age I was very tall and skinny and people were telling me from time to time that I should become a model. My first try was when I was 16 [with] a small Lithuanian agency. After I graduated I decided to go to study abroad [in] Denmark. Then I have filled in an application for the 1st Option Model Management. I did not really expect anything serious, just checked my options. Soon I was invited to Copenhagen and apparently the agency liked me. I was offered to sign a contract in summer 2012.  Probably that is the time when my real modeling career started.

F: Was it hard to begin modeling?

LN: I don’t think it was hard. I never tried losing weight or had to experience any painful changes. The only hard thing is that I should start limiting my addiction to sweets. Models should be the examples of healthy lifestyles and I am working on it.

EJM: Well, to be honest, I got involved in beauty pageants as a means to re-discover myself. It was a personal journey for me [and] a way to discover Esther amongst all the difficulties I had been suffering with my lung condition. Achieving something that I prior to now believed I could never do as a young woman with a disability. I have chosen to bring about awareness to the condition and to represent all the people out there with disabilities to show them that if I can stand here proudly and pursue my dreams and make them a reality then there is no reason why you cannot do the same. The only difficulty I have had is being well enough to participate in the activities due to my health, however with perseverance, strength, support and determination one can achieve anything!

Esther-Jordan Muriwai

Esther-Jordan Muriwai

F: How would you define the fashion industry?

LN: The fashion industry is one of the most interesting and the most competitive industries. I have a huge interest in marketing and branding and I think that for me the fashion industry is a very exciting place to be in. If you take a look from a modeling perspective, sometimes it might be hard to understand what are the trends in the market and what do designers look for. It is always unexpected. I suppose after being in the fashion industry for a longer time models gain some experience, get to know designers and can already predict what kind of ‘walk’ or look designers are looking for. Personally, I am still learning and every single minute related to modeling is exciting, challenging and simply makes me happy.

EJM: That’s a difficult question. Knowing what I know now you would almost need a degree in order to define the fashion industry! There are so many facets to it. It can be close-minded, open-minded, and generic but at times it can push the boundaries. It is hard to define it in one simple word. However one thing I have noticed, especially after modeling in the ‘Te Koanga Fashion Show’ that the clothes are more than just garments. After that show, I saw that in the Maori fashion industry, garments have become an expression of who you are. So these days, you find designers articulating their own stories into the garments they make, it’s an expression of identity, of individuality and of ancestry. Designers now take inspiration from the environment and issues that are affecting us. I believe that is amazing.


Lijana Norkaityte
Niklas Højlund Photography

F: Advice for women who want to be models?

LN: Every person is beautiful in his or her own way. The secret is to find that way and be able to show it to others. I suppose it is very important to be healthy and look that way. I have a few tips. Take care of yourself, eat healthy and get enough of sleep. Try to wear high heels from time to time, because there might be some crazy heels in the shows that you will have to look confident in. Learn about yourself- your strongest characteristics and what looks good on the camera and just feel confident in your own skin.

Kait Bolongaro

Freelance Journalist

I am a freelance journalist and photographer who is addicted to traveling and developing new stories. Currently studying Masters in Journalism and Media Across Cultures in Denmark. Addicted to loves chai lattes, long chats with friends, dancing and cat videos. To follow her on my journeys, check out my webpage and Twitter account.

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