Life on a Cape Town Model Season with India Harl

Sandra Reynolds Model Agency is a London based model, influencer, acting and child modelling agency. Successfully providing commercial models, actors and influencers throughout London and the UK.

In today’s blog we have an awesome and super helpful guest blog from Model & Influencer – India Harl to fill us in on top tips and all you need to know about working a model season in Cape Town, South Africa. I’ll hand over to India – Enjoy!

Hey guys, I’m India!

I’ve recently returned back to London from my second model season out in sunny Cape Town, South Africa and I’m here to give you the low down on what the model scene there is really like! So grab a cuppa, put your feet up and listen (well read) closely!

 Now firstly, I have to admit it wasn’t the work scene that drew me to Cape Town initially, it was the hot climate escape during our winter, sandy beaches and the endless hiking trails – I just love to travel! When I found out they had a commercial model industry there… well I was sold! I applied for a 3 month working Visa (which cost about £80) and booked my own plane ticket (I know that some agencies pay model flight tickets but not all do, and if so, you’ll claim it back from your first job.) Regardless, 3 weeks later myself and 2 other model friends had arrived in paradise. Side note – It is important to know that you can’t get a Visa without signing to a Cape Town model agency first. You can apply like any normal application and the lovely Sandra Reynolds team stepped in to be my mother agency to oversee the experience. I felt totally looked after at all times!

Touchdown – Cape Town. So we arrived and checked in to our apartment just outside of Gardens. I’ve been in a fortunate situation that both times I’ve travelled, I’ve been with friends however around 80% of the models in Cape Town travel alone – there are plenty of model houses all over the city which seem social and fun! Personal opinion: avoid living in the town centre. Areas like Gardens, Kloof Street, Green Point and Sea Point are great for living and a little safer too! Again, the living situation is a negotiation had with your individual agency; sometimes they provide accommodation but me being the ‘organiser’ that I am, I sorted it myself.

Ok, so the castings! It’s all similar to what you are used to – you get the request, brief and time slot the day before. Only difference is… be prepared to maybe wait around a while. The Capetonian way of life is very relaxed and slow compared to the fast pace of London; this is something I definitely had to adjust to! Your castings might run an hour behind and your coffee might take 15 minutes to arrive – so millennial of me (I know) but I wanted to share the home truths as well with you guys. We know as models it isn’t always as glam as it seems! However the beauty of the city and heat of the sun made all my troubles go away; knowing you are hitting the beach after a 2 hour casting certainly takes the edge of a bit doesn’t it?!

Cape Town is cheap but not in a tacky way! The cost of living is roughly half of what it is in London. Eating out for £3/4 a meal becomes the new staying in and Uber practically becomes your personal driver (an average journey is roughly £2.50!) It is brilliant and a real life saver for the bank balance as well. Side note – with the cost of living being low, the payment for model jobs is lower also, it might not always be the rate you are used to London – so just prepare for that. 

The best things in Life (and Cape Town) are free! I made the most by doing weekly hikes up Table Mountain and exploring all the different trails on offer. I also made sure to watch the sunset as often I as I could, it is absolutely stunning and not one to be missed. The food / market scene is incredible and on my first visit; I was blown away. I totally didn’t expect to be eating avo on toast and macadamia flat whites on the daily! I made such a good group of friends during both of my seasons – if you are looking to improve your social life, it’s definitely the place! I wouldn’t change a thing!

Safety first! A question I always get asked about Cape Town is how safe it really is. Personally, it’s no different to London. I wouldn’t go out alone at night in London and same rules apply for Cape Town. You just have to be sensible and vigilant and keep your phone tucked away. Something you should prepare yourself for is sadly the amount of homeless people you’ll see. I did join a volunteer group whilst there to help the community and do my bit; it felt really good to give something back!

To summarise the experience, it’s safe to say you don’t just go for work. There simply isn’t enough jobs to go around all the models that flood there each season. In truth, any work becomes a bonus to the best extended holiday you could have! That being said, Cape Town is the perfect place to test and work on your book; so even when you aren’t working, you can still be productive! I also took acting classes whilst I was there to stay focused amongst all the fun! I came back with a brand new portfolio and couldn’t be happier! It was the most incredible start to my year, giving me energy and a fresh mindset to return to London with.

With that in mind – it’s over and out from me. Thanks so much for joining (well reading) and I hope you found it insightful. I’m happy to answer any further Q’s over on my IG channel- @indiaharl. Big love and hugs x 

India is going to be Live on our Instagram @sandrareynoldsagency at 5pm today (3rd April 2020) to answer all of your questions and have a chat!

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