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You know the cover of Stephanie Meyer’s ‘Twilight’ that shows a delicate pair of hands holding an apple? Those hands belong to Kimbra Hickey, who is 40 years old!
We tend to think of models as ridiculously perfect people who are blessed with a stunning figure, long legs, an intimidating height and the uncanny ability to live on carrots and celery sticks. Parts modelling, however, is a speciality type of modelling that doesn’t require you to be superhuman. These models, as the name suggests, model certain body parts such as hands or hair.
What do parts models do?
People who model hands, feet and legs are in the highest demand and appear in ads for jewellery, shoes, watches, body lotion or pantyhose. There are also jobs for people with striking faces, taught torsos, sexy bodies, luscious lips, flowing hair, soulful eyes and exquisite ears! If a parts model is lucky, they’ll work with celebrities and models who have less-than-perfect appendages. For example, photographers often use one model for the face and another for the hands, positioning the models so that they look like they’re one person.
High-income hands and lucrative limbs
You probably haven’t heard of Gemma Howorth, but she’s one of the world’s leading hand models. Gemma charges £100 (over R1 200) per hour for an average photo shoot, and when working as a celebrity hand double, she can make up to £2 500 (over R30 000) a day. Her elegant hands have doubled for those of Kate Moss, Lily Cole and Kylie Minogue. Nice to know that even Kate isn’t perfect! Her hands are so precious that she’s insured them for a whopping £5 million (over R60 million) because if she cuts her hand or breaks a nail she could lose out on high-paying jobs. She can even claim on insurance if she gets a bad paper cut.
Parts models can be a little kooky. Ellen Sirot is another famous (well, relatively famous) parts model, specialising in hands, feet and legs. To protect her hands Ellen is obsessive about wearing gloves at all times. She only takes them off to moisturize her hands, which she does 20 times a day. She even wore gloves to her wedding, and sneakers to protect her valuable tootsies. When not jogging down the aisle, she wears shoes that are a size too big as an extra precaution. Foot models in general are advised not to wear flip-flops in case they stub a toe. And believe it or not, there is also a term called “foot cleavage”, which refers to the first two cracks of your toes that sometimes shows when you’re wearing tight, closed-toe shoes. This, foot models claim, is very sexy. To keep their feet in shape, they regularly flex their feet and do toe crunches!
You can model and eat chocolate!
One of the great things about parts modelling is that there aren’t strict requirements about height and weight, so you don’t need to be tall or give up chocolate. Another perk is that your career may last longer. Here’s a rather amazing fact: you know the cover of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight that shows a delicate pair of hands holding an apple? Those hands belong to Kimbra Hickey, who is 40 years old! And raking in an impressive income with your hands is a good excuse to avoid washing dishes!
On the other hand…
Not all parts models make as much as Gemma, and as this is a freelance job, income is usually uncertain. Additionally, you’ll only get to work with the rich and famous if you’re lucky or well established in the industry. It’s more likely that your hands and feet will star in sock or soap ads. Hardly glamorous. However, the chocolate perk has me convinced and it’s possible to enjoy a long and lucrative career in this industry. As long as you don’t mind living in gloves and giving your flip-flops the boot.
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