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In our inaugural CV post it’s only appropriate that we profile a former employee – Miss Tiah Eckhardt. The Western Australian born model has graced the pages of Vogue, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, Dazed & Confused, AnOther magazine, Arena, Esquire, Russh, Vanity Fair and Russh but lurking beneath the runway ready exterior is a gifted writer and dance teacher. Read on to learn how Tiah became one of Australia’s most recognizable models and why she’s not just a pretty face.

PROFILE

For the last nine years I have been employed within the Australian and International fashion industries as model, working continuously in Perth, Sydney, New York, London, Paris and Milan as well as travelling extensively throughout Europe, North America and Asia. With an entertainment based education beginning at age five studying dance, music and drama I have also been able to branch out into singing, presenting and acting professionally performing in short films, TV commercials and live productions. After graduating from specialist performing arts school John Curtin College in 2002, I decided to resit my tertiary entrance examination in January 2009 scoring a scaled result of 98.8%, placing me in the top 1.2% for the country in written English. My continued interest in English, Literature and Media studies has also led me to be approached by numerous print and online publications in an editorial capacity, writing features for the likes of Harper’s Bazaar, Nine MSN, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Times magazine and online press content for fashion brand Wheels & Doll Baby. My ultimate desire would be to gain further employment within either the fashion, media or entertainment industries in a position that allowed me to fully utilize the priceless education, experience and existing professional relationships I have already worked to attain. I feel my practical experience and established connections in these areas, as well as my reputation for being committed, punctual, personable and passionate about my work, would make me an asset to any company willing to employ me further in this field.

EXPERIENCE

VIVIENS MODEL MANAGEMENT — 2000-2009, STORM MODEL MANAGEMENT — 2005-2009, ELITE MODELS NEW YORK — 2006-2009, BEATRICE MODELS MILAN — 2006-2009
Modelling for editorial, advertorial and covers for magazines such as Vogue, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, Dazed & Confused, AnOther magazine, Arena, Esquire, Marie Claire, Vanity Fair, Elle, Grazia UK, Russh and Oyster. Runway and advertising for designers like Valentino, Armani, Gucci, Agent Provocateur and numerous high street stores. Acting in short films and music videos. Singing live at events for Faberge and Wheels & Doll-baby.

WRITING, FREELANCE – 2006-2009
Fashion oriented features for Harper’s Bazaar and The Sunday Times Magazine. Blogging for Nine MSN and The Sunday Times. Press releases, bio’s and collection overviews for Wheels & Dollbaby online.

ASSISTING, FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER AND ARTIST, JUSTIN SMITH – 2005-2008
Assisting production on shoots for major advertising and editorial clients as well as numerous art projects. Running errands, styling, lighting, equipment and studio rentals, communicating via phone, fax, email with clients and galleries, building sets, casting, booking and organising talent.

PEDESTRIAN PRESENTER — 2005-2006
Interviewing bands, designers and artists for Pedestrian TV.

TEACHING, VARIETY STYLE SCHOOL OF DANCE 1999-2001 Teaching ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and modern dance to children three & up, teenagers and adults. Book-keeping, cleaning, working backstage on productions.

EDUCATION
DIPLOMA IN FASHION, BENTLEY TAFE WA – 2004
GRADUATED, JOHN CURTIN COLLEGE OF THE ARTS 2002, Studying TEE English, Drama, Media, Economics, History and Human Biology, winning English and Humanities awards.

THE INTERVIEW

P: I guess modelling what you’re most known for. How did you get into that?

TE: When I was 15 I wanted a part time job. My mum’s friend used to run a modelling and deportment school and she basically hadn’t seen me since I was 9 years old and she said you could model if you wanted to… Why don’t you see this agency in Perth? I thought that would be better than working in Maccas or subway or something… So I went to see Vivien’s in Perth and I think they said no… they weren’t going to take me or whatever… but they asked me to go home and take photos of myself and with no makeup on… I took them and sent them back to them and then they called me and offered me a contract and I’ve been with them ever since. So for like 8 years. That proves my point that I’ve always maintained that I look better in photos than I do in real life. Cause they actually said no when they met me, and yes when they saw photos.

P: What’s been your highlight of your modelling career so far?

TE: It sounds stupid, but honestly everyday that I get to work with creative people. You can do an amazing job that’s really well paid but it won’t be creatively satisfying or you might not particularly like the team you’re working with. Then you can also just hang out with friends that are really talented or you’ve worked with before and produce incredible work. It might not be something that’s seen by everyone.

P: Have their been any surreal moments on shoots?

TE: Yeah I nearly got killed by a horse in a warehouse in Athens. I’m not even joking. I mean I nearly died! If it wasn’t for this little Greek horse trainer man that caught me half a metre before I hit the concrete ground. It was for this Shoe campaign. They told my agency in London nothing about like oh you’re going to be riding a massive stallion bareback, upside down in a corset & heals on a concrete floor in a warehouse. My family has horses and stuff like that so I just went oh yeah that’s fine I can ride horses. I think the heal of my shoe nicked it’s neck and it literally bucked up on it’s back legs and screwed me god knows how high up into the air.

I guess cause I’m not that tanned blonde girl I’m not going to get flown to tropical islands I’m more in weird situations. I’m always falling off buildings and stuff like that.

P: Is modelling as glamorous as it’s made out to be?

TE: What is glamorous is the beautiful clothes, the makeup, production and that side of it. The unglamorous side is the people. Oh that sounds really bad. It’s more like †Oh I’m going to model, I’m going to hang out with celebrities, I’m going to get lots of attention and everyone’s going to love me bla bla bla’ and then you meet all these people and they’re really not that amazing – they’re actually dickheads most of the time. So it’s glamorous in a way that you’re actually creating a fantasy with the pictures and the production that go into it, but it’s not glamorous when you’ve got conceited people being assholes to you or criticising you or even making you work for 18 hours and being rude. It doesn’t always happen but it can happen and that’s the unglamorous side.

P: On your CV it says you taught dance is that true?

TE: Yeah my sister’s actually a ballet teacher and I danced for 14 years. I did ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary…the whole lot! So she has her dance academy and my first job was teaching dancing.

P: Is dancing something you still love and take an active interest in?

TE: Oh yeah, I really love to do it and it really helps with my modelling of course. I also did theatre for years as well… I liked performing but I didn’t necessarily like training.

P: Where does modelling and dancing cross over? Is it the body control?

TE: Yeah definitely. You learn to use your body as a tool and manipulate it physically but also as an artistic tool.

P: In your career has there been a job yet that you’ve really hated? What’s been your worst job?

TE: Actually I was a check out chick when I was like 15 and that was horrible. I would do 4-hour shifts and I just hated it. I think that’s when I started modelling as well and I thought †oh that god I don’t have to do that anymore.

P: Was that your first job as well?

TE: Yeah I was like 15 or something, it was so bad. Yeah people are like †you’ve been a model for 8 years you don’t know what a real job is’ and I was like †um excuse me, I used to scan people’s groceries’ . I wanted to kill myself after a 4 hour shift because people are so rude. It’s definitely made me really careful about being nice to check out people and waitresses.

P: So we’ve been talking about the past, lets look at the future. In your CV’s cover letter you say your ultimate desire would be to gain employment in a field that combines fashion, media and entertainment. What’s your ideal job?

TE: In a fantasy world I’d love to just write! I’d want to write about what I want, my opinions and my perception’s on the fashion industry and also all the other creative industries that are involved with that. I suppose I’ve had a priceless view on those industries and an angle that most people don’t get to see. So I would love to just write about that.

P: When did you know you wanted to be a writer? And when did you really start writing?

TE: Okay this is going to sound so conceited but I taught myself to read when I was 4 before I started school
because I used to do theatre and I couldn’t read and I had to memorise all these theatre scripts so I used to just match it up to the words! So before I started school I already knew how to read and I was reading a lot, and that just ended up in me writing a lot. I always received good marks in school and in English without even really trying… I’ve never studied for an exam in my whole life! It was just something that came really easily to me and I really enjoyed. I loved the communication aspect of it and also being able to use the English language as a tool to make people feel things or get a point across.

P: So writing for Harper’s Bazaar and ninemsn, that just a natural progression from your role in the fashion industry.

TE: Yeah well I’d often be on shoots giving my opinions on issues, as I usually do without invitation (laughs), and then people were like †do you write?’ and I’d always be like †well, yeah I’ve always written for fun, I’ve always been pretty good at it apparently’ so then people would ask me if I wanted to do some stuff and I did, and I always got a really good response from every editor I worked with.

P: What advice would you give to aspiring models or fashion journalists?

TE: Get thick skinned really quickly because your going to always going to have people be horrible to you. Being in the fashion industry, in any role, you’ve got to be prepared because there’s so much criticism. People will always tell you you’re replaceable, but I don’t believe that! I think you should always stand up for yourself and always have an opinion in anything you do.

P: That leads us to your blog The Light Of God and Girls which is quite personal and really well written. What prompted you to start writing it?

TE: Oh Thank you. Ah it was sort of like an open journal and somewhere to just scribble thoughts. I always wanted it to be like a scrapbook, that’s why there’s pictures of work I’ve done or things that inspire me. Just the same way you would keep a diary basically.

P: There’s this perception that models are †beautiful idiots’, is that true?

TE: Oh some of them are (laughs) I don’t think its because they’re †beautiful idiot’s but I think depending on what age a girl starts modelling I think they become frozen at that emotional age. If a girl starts modelling when she’s 13 it’s like she’s 13 forever. That’s why I’m thank god I didn’t start working seriously until I was 18. They just don’t really have to grow up because they’re not in a real world. So I don’t think that they’re stupid, I just don’t think they have to grow up… its like a Nevernever land for beautiful girls.

P: So finally, do you know if the baby is a boy or a girl?

TE: I’m about to have a girl!

P: So besides your baby girl, what does the future hold for Tiah Eckhardt? Are you going to continue modelling after the pregnancy?

TE: Honestly I have no idea. I just want to do whatever makes me happy. I’ve been really happy to take this year off because I’ve been working in a grown up industry since I was a 15 year old child and I never really took time off to just chill out. So I don’t know what I’m going to do next year, hopefully all the things I’ve been talking about.