(Me age 18)
I was offered a large amount of money to go and do a vintage style vaguely cheeky shoot in a super kitch Brighton hotel and boy was I tempted. I loved pin up girls. Being a child of the Myspace generation, I was also a huge Suicide Girls fan, loving the funky, non-cookie-cutter girls in the pictures and the message of proud female sexuality they sold. But I was also an 18 year old just out of Catholic 6th Form, who'd never had a boyfriend or had any clue about myself as a woman apart from the fact that I liked vintage clothes and acting and feminism. I thought for maybe 14 hours about the offer before I turned it down, not wanting to have a negative effect on my not-even-yet-in-existence-acting-career, or to have pictures of myself that I may later regret online. I sent the 'thank you but no thank you' email with no small degree of regret. I loved Suicide Girls. They were like the cool, alternative, fun girls who don't play by the rules but are still popular and offered fame and fortune-something which, as a naive and exceptionally innocent 18 year old, was hard to turn down.
Now, looking back I don't regret my decision at all. I still think Suicide Girls are incredible, but at 18 years old I had none of the street savvy required to do a shoot that would have sexualised me to such an extent, nor any of the self confidence. I am happy to do burlesque or vargas style shoots these days, but as a woman nearing the end of my twenties, I have the life experience and knowledge to be able to say no to anything I'm uncomfortable with and put my foot down if I don't like shots. I do however wonder if I'd be any different had I done the shoot....
So here's a little idea of who I'd be in my imagination if I did....
So, acting work would have come in after the shoot, as being a SG was very trendy at that point in time. I likely would have taken a year out of uni to do some acting work (and knowing myself as I do, I wouldn't have gone back). I would have missed out on meeting some wonderful people and having experiences that I treasure like crazy now, but I also would have done the young model/actor thing, travelling and staying in a million hotels with a crazy group of people. Being as impressionable as I was at that age, I would probably have got myself into some sticky situations. I would have got more tattoos and probably dyed my hair wackier colours to fit with my new, alternative friends. My casting would be fairly different. Without the 'little sister' tag I had at university, I would have ended up with boyfriends a lot earlier, and probably would have had my heart broken a whole lot. Would I have done drugs? I'd like to say no, but at that age? Who knows? At 18 I'd never been offered drugs, my knowledge of them was purely theoretical. I might have ended up going to drama school, but I think after starting in the professional world at 18, without knowing who I was as a person, I would now be a very different person-probably someone who was a lot wearier emotionally, a lot harder, probably a lot less level headed. I'd maybe have more of a name for myself but not in the same kind of projects I love doing now-I probably would never have met my gorgeous, life changing partner, have started vlogging or have spent 5 years in education. I feel like at the age I am now, I'd be sick of the industry and would have started a coffee shop or worked as a journalist or something completely different.
All in all, Reader, I'm exceptionally happy with my choice. I may not be able to call myself a SG, but I love my career, my personal life and I wouldn't change a thing about how I got here. Because I wouldn't be the same person-and I kind of like me.