Six days into undertaking a secondment in New York City, one thing is for certain: In a metropolitan where the hustle is real, the pace is fast and the whole damn experience can be as hard as a newbie navigating “the grid”, the key to being well-adjusted, according to my bevy of talent interview subjects, is gathering an amazing group of like-minded girlfriends. It also helps, too, if they share the same profession as you, they just “get” it. Case in point: Models.
While this particular example does prove the tired theory that ‘tens hang with tens’, according to Australian model and star of E!’s new docu-series Model Squad, Shanina Shaik, surrounding yourself with supportive women – or your own femtourage – is key to living and working in NYC. “I think it’s important for all girls in this industry,” the 27-year-old told GRAZIA on the MTV Video Music Awards red carpet. “There’s going to be so many obstacles and so many people who are going to tell you that you can’t do it or you’re not good enough…It’s really nice we have a camaraderie of good women together.”
Shaik – who counts Winnie Harlow and Sara Sampaio as friends – is one of nine stars of Model Squad including Devon Windsor, Olivia Culpo, Caroline Lowe and Nadine Leopold. “If you want to make it in modelling, you definitely need to be in New York City,” says Windsor. “This is the hub of the model world. That’s where the big clients are. It’s where the big photographers are based.” The series follows how each woman manages her career, friendships and relationships in the cut-throat world of high fashion – and how they support one another though highs and more lows than you think. This spiel makes it sound like a fluffy reality series but one episode in, you’ll soon realise, the models actually get really real.
Windsor admits some designers have offered her clothes in lieu of a pay cheque. “Sometimes it’s good and sometimes you’re like, ‘I’d rather have money,’” she laughs. Culpo goes into depth as well about her positioning as a social media influencer and entrepreneur and the realities of mucking up a test shoot with a famed photographer. At a photo call in Chelsea on Tuesday, the energy amongst the squad was palpable – they clearly all really like each other – with Shaik and Windsor leading the pack. Perhaps it’s the 2018 version of something Carrie Bradshaw taught us; “Trends come and go but friendships never go out of style.”
Premiering the same week as New York Fashion Week, it will be interesting to see how this series fares.