A former fashion model who has shot campaigns with iconic fashion houses such as Moschino and Jean Paul Gaultier has spoken out about life on the catwalk as she prepares to return to work.
Paula Kelday, 51, spent much of her 20’s living the high life and modelling for lucrative, high-end designer brands.
She walked the catwalks, shot campaigns and even auditioned to be the Scottish Widow in the life insurance firms’ advertising campaign in her heyday.
After part-retiring to live on a farm in Warter outside Pocklington to help care for her mum Doreen, Paula has left the world of fashion modelling behind her – however still does the odd job now and again.
But she is set to return to the catwalk next week for York Fashion Week.
She has lifted the lid on her life in front of the lens, and revealed the industry has come a long way since she first started out.
Paula was scouted when she was 19 after she modelled for a friend’s college project. From then, she went on to shoot with fashion houses like Red or Dead, Moschino and La Perla.
She said: “I got scouted when I did some modelling for a friend. I got took on by a big agency in London and got lots of TV work and things were booming.
“I auditioned for the Scottish Widow and Big Breakfast and went on to shoot with Red or Dead and Angela Holmes for Droopy and Brown. I did lots of catwalk shows and got to travel a lot and work with different fashion houses.
IN PICTURES: Paula’s modelling over the years
“I carried on doing little bits and it was amazing doing bits and bobs. Now I look after my mum and the animals but I have always kept the same size and don’t go to the gym or anything.”
As a successful model, Paula was often gifted with luxury items like clothes from Chanel and Versace. Paula said: “They did come in handy and there was some really lovely clothes.
“My daughter loves it, she can wear them now. I’ve still got some jackets and she was really happy with that. Back then, they were a lot more giving with things I think. I used to travel too and I really enjoyed all of that.”
Paula, who is also nana to baby Scarlett, said that times have changed in the world of modelling, with cosmetic surgery and procedures and hair extensions being readily available.
She said: “There is a lot more competition and you can look so different. People have hair extensions and surgeries and there just wasn’t things like that when I did it.
“No one had anything done like that, the way you looked was just the way you looked. Now there is all this filtering and it is amazing what you can do to photos.
“It is easier now. When I was doing it if you had long and healthy hair it was great. Your eyebrows were your eyebrows, you were what you were and now you can make them what you want them to be. The catwalk is the same as its ever been, you do it to the beat of the music.
“Years ago they would do lessons teaching you how to do it.”
To get into modelling, Paula said to stay safe and stay with a reputable agency and remember not to take rejection to heart. She said: “I do think you need to be very, very careful and I would say to make sure you go with a reputable agency, preferably one who has been established a long time.
“There’s a lot of places that charge for portfolios and charge you to enrol. I used to do a working portfolio and sometimes they would teach you techniques and they were sometimes very strict. I once got turned down because I got told I was too big and I am 5ft 11in and 9st.
“I could have taken it quite badly. Even if you get rejected, it might not be you but rather because they have someone similar on their books, but you keep trying and persevering.”
Paula says her partner, Ian, 48, her mum Doreen, 80, and daughter Roseanne, have all been really supportive of her career and are happy for her to be getting back onto the catwalk at York Fashion Week.
She said: “Not that long ago I had to go to London for a Smart Metre campaign and all of the family are really supportive. Ian is really supportive and would like me to do more, and there is a demand for me to do it, but I take care of my mum and the animals.
“We have 16 horses, six dogs and six cats and lots of chickens.”
Paula will feature at York Fashion Week from Monday, March 25 to Sunday, March 31.
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