Model behaviour | Living North

Model behaviour


Fiona Burns
Model Fiona Burns started in Gateshead and now has a career which has taken her all over the world and seen her work with big name brands including Burberry, Charlotte Tilbury and H&M

What did you want to be when you were younger?
Honestly, I think the first thing I wrote down at primary school was a hairdresser. That’s not the case, I’m hopeless with hair! I was always an attention seeker and loved being in front of the camera so naturally I think that was always going to be the direction that worked for me. I always wanted a job where I could be creative and luckily I've been able to make that a reality. 

Can you tell us a bit about your current work?
At the moment it’s a really exciting time for me, each week is completely different. I’m in rehearsals for a fashion show starting next week, and I’m also on tour with a national bridal catwalk show that’s going up and down the country where we showcase gorgeous wedding dresses. I’m working as a fittings model at Burberry in London and have showroom jobs for designers next week in London too. I’m also casting for upcoming work, so I’m super busy right now.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Oh God, I don't even know where I'll be tomorrow let alone in five years! But if I can continue doing what I love and travelling around the world with work then I’ll be happy. For me personally I try to live in the moment and improve my craft every single day. I see it as more important to improve day in day out. In the future I’d like to be the face of a brand and shoot more commercials for makeup products and clothing brands. As long as I'm growing in my career and as a person then I’m happy!

Which is your favourite place to eat when you’re home?
I like the new Trinity Square area in Gateshead. I’ll always meet my friends there for a coffee on a lunch break.  

Place to visit?
The quayside at night is so pretty. Walking across the Millennium Bridge and down the quayside is great – it’s a good photo spot too. 

Place for drinks?
I went to The Botanist for my birthday drinks last month with a bunch of friends, it was really nice in there. Lots of stairs to get in though, I definitely got the lift back down after a few drinks!

Place for walks?
South Shields beach is my favourite, it holds so many memories for me as a kid. My favourite thing to do on a Sunday, if it’s sunny, is to go along the beach, get some fish and chips or an ice cream and just walk along the coast. If I had a dog to walk it would be even better. 

What has been your most exciting job?
There have been so many. One of my most exciting jobs was being flown to India for 24 hours, it was such a whirlwind. I was flown out with one of my best friends who is also a model, stayed at the beautiful Plaza in New Dehli and worked at a modelling event that evening. We got home around 4am and had a car picking us up for our return flight at 7am. It was crazy fun! 

What has been your biggest challenge?
Hands down my biggest challenge was my first runway show in Italy. I was handed a pair of 6 inch heels, wearing a hair piece probably a similar weight to my body, a HUGE floor-length skirt that was so heavy and told to walk on a slippy stage. I actually remember going into the toilets and having a few words with myself to take a deep breath and just kept saying ‘you can do this’ over and over until I felt ready. Close second would be a runway show on a rocky boat going up and down the Thames. It’s rarely easy! 

Have you ever met any of your idols?
Yes! I worked alongside Joan Smalls recently on a Christmas campaign. I remember when I was first starting out as a model and she has always been one of my favourites. I love following her career to see what she's working on… and in person she's just as gorgeous if not more so. Meeting her was a real moment for me where I realised I was in the deep end of the pool with the big fish, it definitely made me up my game.

Can you tell us about your worst moment?
I was shooting for a fitness brand and really wasn’t aware of how intense the shoot would be. I assumed I would only be shooting for a number of hours and would have breaks throughout the day. When I arrived I was thrown into some tight workout gear and told we were shooting intense fitness workouts ALL day. By mid day I thought I was going to pass out. It’s a skill making workouts look fun and easy, and after eight hours my legs were so sore. I remember my housemate laughing at me when I returned home, she had to help me up the stairs. It's one of those moments I laugh about now but at the time it wasn’t my finest hour.

And your best?
There was a moment last year when I was being offered the jobs I had dreamed of, turning up and working alongside models that I really respected and I just felt and still feel so grateful. I was offered the Charlotte Tilbury catwalk show recently and walked in the show for her makeup launch – that was an amazing moment. I’ve followed her social media for years to see her makeup looks on the likes of Kim Kardashian West and Kate Moss, and to be chosen to walk in her show was such a great feeling. 

Anything to add?
For me the modelling industry has been an amazing roller coaster so far, even moving to London for my career was such an up and down experience and I have a love/hate relationship with the city. My journey so far has been made possible by people believing in me and most importantly believing in myself. There will be a lot of knock backs along the way and a lot of people you have to ‘prove’ yourself to, but it only takes one person to remind you that ‘you can do this’ and anything is possible. 

Fiona attended SA Performing Arts Centre (formerly Sage Academy of Performing Arts) and her tuition was supported by the Sammy Johnson Memorial Fund and Andrew Latimer from Varsity Packaging

Published in: May 2016

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