Glamour model back working in a pub after decline of lads mags
This former glamour model admits she needs a new career as she cant find work gracing the pages of lads mags anymore.
Jessica Davies, 25, got into modelling after competing in beauty pageants as a young teenager in Aberystwyth.
By the age of 14, Jessica was scouted when she went to The Clothes Show in Birmingham and was put forward for a competition called Teen Queen.
Jessica went with her dad to a shoot and knew straight away that she wanted to be a model.
At the pageants, she was routinely told she should consider modelling and found an agency in London when she was 17.
It was a year later when glamour modelling was first mentioned to her, because of the size of her breasts.
She said: You never see fashion models that have big boobs.
At first, she refused to remove her bra on shoots, and her agency supported her decision on that.
I thought “I cant do that,” or “I dont want to” and then I had a boyfriend and he didnt like it, she says.
While on a shoot, the photographer said “OK, take your bra off now”.
I said I dont do that, I phoned my agent and she said “youre there now”.
I didnt do it then and it was really awkward. I was the new girl, I didnt know anyone and I had to stand there.
But, it was a female photographer, and she was more understanding.
Instead of losing her work, her decision had the opposite effect and lads mags started bidding for her to do her first topless shoot with them.
She chose to go with Zoo magazine, and her family and friends supported her decision.
When the magazine came out she went with friends to buy a copy to see the four-page spread.
She still has a copy on her coffee table, from October 2012, which has on the front: Amazing Zoo discovery…Jessica Davies topless for the first time.
Her career grew, and she took trips to the Bahamas and America to take part in Hotshots, a controversial charity calendar for Help for Heroes.
At the height of her popularity, she would do around one shoot a month, in addition to being a student, and was paid around £1,000 for each one.
But as magazine journalism declined with the rise of social media, lads mags began to suffer the same fate.
The magazines began asking women to send their own pictures in for free, and because people did, the demand for the costly models like Jessica went down.
Her pay went down to around £800, and eventually to around £100. She expected that one day her age would play a part, but before that even came into play, the print market declined, and many of the titles she had been a star of, were closed.
I knew it wasnt going to last forever but I didnt think it would be 25, she admits.
She enjoyed her career and said she doesnt regret doing it.
But she added: I regret that back then I was shy and maybe I didnt put myself out there and maybe I could have had that job or another.
Jessica studied sociology but knew she didnt want to do that. Her current problem is she doesnt know what comes next.
Ive gone from having lots going on and a clear direction of where I thought I was going to being back at square one, she said.
But since leaving the industry she has faced trolling and online abuse for her former job.
While now she can sit and laugh at the ludicrous nature of it, when she found herself back at home in Aberystwyth working in a pub it did hit her hard.
She said: I loved working in the pub but people had what they expected of me as a model and then youre in a pub being paid £7 an hour.
Some, she says, were supportive. Others, would load a picture of her, invariably half naked, and drunkenly ask is this you? or call her a slag.
Shes now in Cardiff, and still working in modelling. Shes done some styling, marketing and production for shoots, using her own experience in front of the camera to produce the best shots.
One of the main forms of abuse she now faces are accusations that she is a bad feminist.
She said: I was doing something I wanted to do. In this day and age, where its all been flipped, and about women taking control of their bodies and their sexuality, thats amazing, but thats what we were doing five years ago and those people were the ones who got the mags banned.
Its so frustrating. Back in the day, the Gay Times and Attitude had implied nude models on the front cover and it was really sexual and no one would say anything about it.
But we couldnt be topless on the cover. I was told I was there to be objectified and I was a bad role model.
But I was taking control. I am not there to be a role model. People would say that, but I didnt become a glamour model to become a role model. I dont think thats why anyone does it, its not our job to be a role model but people think youre giving a bad name to women.
Its so frustrating, Im just comfortable in my body and Im doing it for my own benefit.