sincerely, in London

When I got back from Paris, I crashed hard. Traveling is not something I’ve done a lot of in my life. It takes it out of me. After a trip, I need to spend a few days in my tiny room, not going anywhere, sleeping too much. I am a solitary person by nature. My work is very solitary. I spend a lot of time alone, I need to in order to be able to enjoy time with others. These are not things I can post about.

Then comes the reality check, and that’s the only check that’s coming in. Paying for an impulsive trip to Paris wasn’t that expensive, just more expensive than I could afford right now. I am waiting on too many accounts payable. March turned from a fashion fairytale to a cash crunch on a non-existent dime. These are not things I can post about.

I need a part time gig to help me catch up with London. I have been broke before, but I have never been broke in such an expensive city before. I rewrite my CV from scratch because the old one was on a floppy disk. I walk from store to store handing out my CV, just like I did when I was 20, because I am not sure what else I can do. The stores all have sale signs in the windows, even though it seems like spring was just delivered. I am not the only one feeling lean times. This makes it a bit easier to be philosophical about the constant rejection. These are not things I can post about.

You are not supposed to admit that you struggle, even though everyone does. In a business of appearances, everyone fronts. “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything,” they say, and even though there’s a lot of talk, not much is being said. It is not just phony… it is boring. These are not things I can post about.

Isn’t my life fabulous? How exciting to be in London, chasing the dream dragon. “I admire what you’re doing”, they tell me, and instead of feeling encouraged, I feel like a fraud. I am afraid I will fail, that I will lose at London, that I do not have the critical combination of talent and tenacity it takes, to take on the terrifying task of being meThese are not things I can post about.

Is it a risk if it is not a choice? It feels like if I were a sensible person, I would not choose to be a fashion person. I am drawn towards the fear, the flux, the fantasy, against better judgement. Everyone I talk to in fashion envies people with steady jobs and simple pleasures, with a sigh and a sense of fatalism. Because, at this point, what else could we possibly do? We are in too deep to give it up. These are not things I can post about.

Why am I here? What am I after? How do I get it? I am lost, in London. Love…

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20 thoughts on “sincerely, in London”

  1. I think this might be your bravest post ever. I love you, I miss you.

    You couldn’t have hit the nail harder by saying, “Because, at this point, what else could we possibly do? We are in too deep to give it up.” I’ve said that to myself so many times.

    When I first said I wanted to get out of the modelling agency world, the person I was talking to said, “There is nothing else you can do, once you’re a model agent, you’re in it for life. You can’t do anything else.” I believed them… for a while. I think it was the worse piece of advice anyone ever gave me.

    Through the ups and downs (and there tends to be an incredible amount of those in this industry)in the end, I think it’s worth it. I just haven’t convinced myself if I *believe* it’s worth it. Mind you, I would never ever give up on all the opportunities, experiences and the amazing people I’ve met along the way.

    All you have to do is persevere, push forward and never look back. I believe in you.


  2. A brave post, D. I have a feeling we will have lots to talk about this week. I can’t wait to see you in London!

  3. Hey, remember when we were on set at Scott Pilgrim and we had an almost identical conversation about fashion and struggles…How time flies.

    Sending good vibes. Don’t worry, something will come up. It always does. 😉


  4. Thomas Edison was said to have failed about 1000 times before he found the correct formula to create his lightbulb. But he didn’t see them as failed attempts, he thought of them as finding 1000 ways not to make a lightbulb.

    Before success you must fail. Or else, where’s the challenge?

    Keep at it Danielle, you were brave enough to move to London on your own, that is at least the first step. Most people don’t even make it that far.

  5. Hey Danielle,

    We don’t see eye-to-eye very often but this post made me want to stop and comment.

    Right now, I feel very much the same way as you. I’m about to start an engineering company with friends and have been working on various personal projects. Neither are going the way I envisioned. If I talk to people about my ideas, they would always tell me how awesome they are, but internally I feel like I am making myself increasingly vulnerable to my own shortcomings that would have been otherwise smoothed out under the attention of a company’s bureaucracy.

    The person above me mentioned the often quoted Edison failing 1000 times before achieving a viable product, but nobody mentions how rare and exceptional that 1000 to 1 ratio of failure-to-success is. Many inventors before and after him failed a million times without one success. I just went to a seminar about an engineer that have 49 patents and only 9 are commercially viable, but just barely.

    I guess I don’t have anything specific to say to you other than I think you are very talented and that I appreciate your talent and I hope you make the best choices with it. Just to give you some perspective, every engineer with a stable job that I talk want to do something creative and wish for some brilliant stroke of insight that would allow them to leave their job and start their own company. I feel the same way.

    Good Luck Danielle. I care about you.

  6. Danielle, you’ll get through this. You’re a motivated, driven person, and that’ll help you through. You need to get lost to find what you’re looking for.

    Call/write if you need me!

  7. wow, amazing post.
    This is a quote I wrote down from a while ago…not sure by whom, but it seems like it fits in with your situation.

    “A successful creative career is always built on successful creative failures. The trick is to survive them”

    & I believe you will survive them! Just hang on, you’ll get there.

  8. What Gail said. It was exceptionally brave of you to post this, Danielle. It’s true that while picking up and moving to a new place seems glamourous, no one ever talks about the hard part of just finding a way to LIVE. Though I am not in a fashion career, I know that feeling very well. When I lived in New York, there was a point when I had only $40 in my bank account…for the rest of the month. I was working at an unpaid internship and I overspent by a lot that month. I was embarrassed, ashamed, and panicked. How did I get through it? I had to ask for help, and I was even more ashamed. I had to cut myself off from a lot of the expensive things I was doing and try to live on what I had.

    Sometimes you need to fall to get back up. Sometimes you need to learn from being lost. And sometimes you need to just go on that faith that just “being you” will be enough. For me, getting help was shameful, but after I stopped beating myself up, I realized that that bail-out was someone else’s belief that I would learn from this mess and succeed eventually. That, plus getting through that month, gave me the confidence to believe that I could handle my life–at least financially!

    I’m not sure if it’s helpful or not, but I believe in your talent and tenacity. Keep your head up as much as possible, work hard, and be frugal for now. You *will* get through this.

  9. It’s great that you’re embracing the rawness of what you feel and are writing about it. It can only help but let you grow and perhaps realize what move to make next.

    And on that note, moving, in the literal sense, always sucks, but at the end of the day, it does make you significantly stronger and far more resilient as you learn to adapt into new environments.

    But remember, the only time you truly end up losing is when you resign yourself and settle, as opposed to not fighting as hard as you always do.

  10. Thank you all for your responses & your belief in me. The thing is, this post wasn’t about giving up. Writing it filled me with a greater sense of resolve. I have recovered from these situations before. I believe in my own abilities. No matter how confident you are though, I think it is reassuring to reiterate that we all go through stages of uncertainty, that the ups and downs and edges are part of everyone’s path. And I’m glad I shared that.

  11. This is exactly the kind of writing I would love to see more of here. More you, more life, more feeling. My favourite posts of yours are always the ones that share something of yourself rather than just the fashion world. I like feeling that connection.

    That being said: You are certainly one of the bravest people I know, for a variety of reasons. Your move to London and continued, if scary, success there has been super-incredibly inspiring to me. Thank you for doing it and for being so awesome.

  12. Hi Danielle,

    It takes a ton of guts to make the bold move to London and then some to blog about it! And you do it in such an honest, non-pretentious way that encourages and opens up notions to what’s possible in creating your own career path.

    I find myself feeling lost even with a steady day-job (that’s somewhat related to what I wanna do), as it’s almost impossible to balance that with an after-hours freelance gig (which I’m constantly trying to build, promote, etc). I often dream of taking off to London or Paris and starting anew. Dunno if I’m as daring (yet) but your blog has shed great insight on the process. If only more blogs were as introspective and resourceful! As always, I’m sure you’ll prevail, move forward with lots of good things headed your way 🙂

    In Steve Jobs’ commencement speech, he says how the path to success will lead you in ways that make no sense at first. But in the end it all works out because each seemingly pointless step is merely pointing you closer to the final destination. He said something like “you can’t connect the dots looking forward, but they will always connect looking backward – you just have to trust that it will connect.” A simple analogy, makes a lotta sense and has helped me come to terms with my journey so far.

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