Ive been in Thailand for 6.5 weeks and its been quite interesting to say the least. Thailand itself is an amazingly beautiful place with tons of great food, nice people, forms of transportation, markets, site seeing and much more. My contract with Apple Model Management here in Bangkok has been THE WORST contract of my 7 years in Asia. My contract was terminated without warning with only 18 days left and was given less than 24 hours to leave the agency apartment!! It left me scrambling to quickly figure things out but I am always prepared because Asia is ALWAYS throwing curve balls and as I’ve always done I continue to work hard and rise above. Everything turned out for the best and I couldn’t be happier getting to spend my last couple weeks with my boyfriend, practicing yoga, and preparing for my yoga teacher training that begins November 13th.
I arrived in Thailand in the late afternoon on September 19th. The last bit of my contract in Malaysia was unnerving as work was VERY slow and communication between my mother agent and at that time, “soon to be agency”, was lagging. My contract kept getting pushed back because of the miscommunications and getting a work visa as I needed documents mailed to me before I could get the Visa. I needed to begin this contract ASAP because I have my training coming up November 13th which was basically the whole point of this trip. Other irritating shit like my mother agency being afraid to communicate to my soon to be agency about adjustments needed in my contract! One problem was the contract stating it was 90 days when I’d only be staying till my yoga training (55 days). Other issues were fixing my measurements because they measure every Wednesday for pocket money, booking the flight, and then there was the issue of my agency denying the request of living at my boyfriends model apartment one day before departure leaving me no choice but to live in the apartment model house! My flight was to be purchased (as an advance) by the agency for the 19th. The weekend before the 19th rolled around and I still hadn’t heard anything. Turned out, my mother agency did not send the copy of my work visa that I sent the Thursday before!! The soon to be Bangkok agency finally replied Sunday night that they would buy the ticket on Monday when they got into the office!? I didn’t hear from them and was instructed by my mother agent to buy my own ticket so that I could fly with my boyfriend and that my mother agent would deal with it for reimbursement which OF COURSE they didn’t reimburse!
My flight arrived in Bangkok around 4pm, unsure of where anything stood with all the chaos but I was prepared to go to my boyfriends apartment and wait it out. As we were walking out of arrivals I heard a faint voice say “Bayley”. It was a little chubby Thai lady, possibly from my agency? She spoke zero English. I kissed my boyfriend goodbye and hoped I’d end up at my agency. I had already changed money prior to arriving so she took me to get a sim card for my phone. The lady at the phone counter spoke more english than the Thai lady did. After we finished with the SIM card business I followed the lady to a taxi line where we got into a taxi and headed for only God knows where. First thing I noticed while riding in the back of that taxi was the Thai language on all the buildings and signs followed by the heavy traffic. Thailand ALWAYS has traffic. I kept trying to speak to this Thai lady eventually piecing together that we would in fact be going to the agency. We arrived, the lady made me pay the taxi (its never happened where an agency makes the model pay when they pick her up) and went into Apple Model Management where I basically sat waiting the majority of the time doing nothing. Besides the hours of waiting I passed photos to them so they could organize my portfolio, gave them my passport to photo copy (so I thought but they didn’t give it back), and was measured!? Of course the measurement is NOT going to be accurate! At 7:30pm my booker decided though its late that she would take me to the model house, like oh thanks, its my first time in Thailand and I don’t know where ANYTHING is! Traffic was horrible as we were apparently still in rush hour AND it was raining so I had to lug both of my suitcases down the street, into the metro, and out the other side to wait for a taxi to the apartment. Coming out of the metro there were tons of different street food vendors. One of them had these healthy fish Vietnamese-like spring rolls available for 40 baht. I was told that this was a good price and bought it to take home. In the taxi I sat with my booker, the Thai lady that picked me up at the airport, and the Thai lady’s daughter. 10 min later I was handing money for the taxi to the Thai lady and got out in front of the model house while it down poured on me.
I was joined at the front gate by another Thai lady, the owners sister who I had heard about before arriving. She lived in the model house to make sure the girls followed the rules and made curfew. Yep, that’s right, I’m 26 and I’m back to having a curfew. It was a huge house with 4 floors and each room could hold 4-5 girls. She took me to the second floor where I found my bed that was just a base board with no mattress! In the room there were 3 other girls; A Brazilian, Polish, and Ukrainian, all around 20 years old and nice enough to let me know how everything worked around there. I went downstairs and sat on the couch to read the rules that were plastered on the doors. One read my curfew times, midnight during the week and 3am during Fridays and Saturdays. It will have been the first time in a long time that my boyfriend and I don’t live together but Apple Model Management had a pretty good client base and I was excited to put my game face on and work. My booker let me know that I had 4 castings and would need to be in the agency at 11am for measurements and snaps. The other 12 girls would come later and go to the castings with me.
The next morning, I got ready and went to the agency. I tried to take a bus but right off the bat, Google Maps decided to put the bus stop in a different place that it actually was. Being the punctual person that I am I chose to take a taxi. In the agency they measured me again and immediately looked for something to be wrong because the evening before, my waist that measured 67cm was back to my contract signed measurement of 63cm. They thought how could that be?! Well ladies and gentlemen thats what happens when you measure at the end of the day, straight off a plane (derp!)! I took the snaps and waited for the other girls to arrive.
In Thailand models go to castings alone via taxi, bus, metro, bts, motorbike, walk (actually, I’m pretty sure my boyfriend and I are the only models that go everywhere on foot) or even boat! If a bunch of the girls have the same casting we share a taxi. On the first day I went to all 4 castings with the other models. By the end of the first day of castings, I HATED Thailand!! I used a ton of money on all forms of transportation, we spent most of the time walking around lost looking for the castings (The maps they gave us were shit. Always hard to understand or wrong!), it was hot/humid and raining, I barely had anything to eat, and the feeling of being around idiot models was NOT making it any easier.
One short week later I was head over heels for Bangkok. I was getting used to the way everything worked and was absolutely loving it! I was getting used to the curfew, seeing my bf a couple times a week, going to the few weekly castings, managing the small amount of pocket money, and getting measured every Wednesday. I followed up measurements by treating myself to a wonderful Thai massage. I learned that going everywhere by bus was the cheapest or walking to kill two birds with one stone (exercise). The huge space in the living room with natural light was perfect for my early AM yoga sessions and the amazing selection and availability of fruits, spring rolls, sweet potato, and chicken and fish skewers was wonderful! One of my roommates had moved out allowing me to take over her super comfy bed, I had a very special 26th birthday celebration, and had a mini break through being able to get up into handstand (Ok, against the wall and only up for a second, but baby steps people! FUN FACT: I’ve done yoga for 3 years and just within the last 4 months been able to do head, forearm, and hand stands!!). It also wouldn’t be long before I would be able to move in with my boyfriend for the duration of my contract before my yoga teacher training right!? WRONG. October 12th was only 3 days away when I messaged my booker reminding her that I’d be moving out of the model house to my boyfriends so that expenses would be much lower. She messaged me back telling me I could NOT move out unless I pay all of my expenses first. Say what? Thats crazy! If I move out, my expenses will be way cheaper! I sent her the emails that had the convos between my mother agent and Apple Model Management owner that said it would be fine if I lived with my boyfriend. The other owner, Apple said that this was before my arrival and now I need to pay my expenses if I want to move out. So I would ONLY need to pay around 900 dollars to move out, hahaha! It had even been slow up to this point with just a couple castings per week and a total of 14 days free! I had only booked one job since I had arrived so there was no way I could cover my expenses and who in their right mind would pay that money when in the end of a contract, if we don’t cover expenses we don’t have to pay. This was an absolute travesty but I didn’t want to make any problems with the agency as I came here to work so I let them know I’d have to stay in the model house because I used my last funds on the flight over and absolutely didn’t have the money for the expenses.
On the 13th of October, the King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej died. He was the longest raining monarch which lasted 70 years. Due to the Kings death, there is a 30 day “no festivities” period as well as a one year mourning period. No festivities for the model industry means that all fashion shows and events will be canceled or postponed until after November 15th (soooooo.. ALOT of jobs)! They even canceled the popular full moon party that everyone raves about. The country will in many ways close down during an extended year long period of mourning. People are expected to wear black or dark clothing and many bars have shortened business hours or are closed all together. It’s really cool to see how deeply the Thai people felt about their King. I was invited to help out my boyfriends agency at an event following the Kings death which has people pass out free food because it is what the King did and what the Thai people consider a “feel good’ thing.
I kid you not, on October 25th, TWO weeks after I had asked to move out to lower my expenses, I get a text message at 7:30pm from my booker telling me that the owner had decided to terminate my contract!! It said that he decided to terminate because of the kings death, client feedback, the 55 day contract period, and my “high” expenses. It also said that I needed to go into the agency the NEXT day to close my statement and move out within the day. The 26th was a Wednesday, meaning it was pocket money day, meaning I wouldn’t be getting any (how convenient for them, right!?) In all my years of traveling in Asia, I have NEVER been treated this poorly by an agency. If I didn’t have my boyfriend here what would I do? They knew I would be in Bangkok until my training November 13th and had the nerve to tell me I couldn’t work with any agencies because I owe them expenses but in reality they terminated leaving the contract no longer binding. They broke the contract when they decided to terminate it for reasons they CANNOT even terminate it for!!! I’m getting heated just thinking about this situation. So I packed up everything and was ready to move out as soon as I went to “close” my statement and collect my passport (did I mention they illegally keep the passports so that no one leaves mid contract!!). As usual they had me in the agency for almost 2 hours for God knows what as I literally only signed my statement, got my passport, and managed to squeeze 500 baht out of them for being assholes. I got my shit and went back to the apartment and took an Uber to my new place on Pradipat Rd!!
The apartment complex on Pradipat is fantastic! Its right across the street from 711 (there are one or two on every block!) and my kind of walking distance to a couple grocery stores (Big C, Tesco Lotus, and Max Value). The big Tesco Lotus is comparable to Walmart in the States. I love to do most of the grocery shopping there because I find its the cheapest. My boyfriends apartment is a studio to himself with a balcony and queen size bed, perfect for the two of us. It has a small gym, a gorgeous pool (on the 4th floor), 24 hour security, coin laundry machines, AND a super cute pet chicken!! Obviously, it doesnt hurt that I get to wake up next to my boyfriend (haha!). Today (November 4th) is actually our 3rd year anniversary!
Now that I’ve caught you all up, I’ve been moved for 9 days and its been amazing. Being let go so abruptly by Apple Model Management had me worrying just for a minute but everything worked out just fine. I was very lucky to have my boyfriend in Bangkok with another model agency that were so understanding to my situation and allowed me to move in, as well as the amount of support from my friends and family. I now get to spend these last couple weeks just chillin’ and doin’ stuff with the boyfriend, practicing yoga, not having to worry about getting measured every week, and just fully preparing for my yoga teacher training. I’m so happy to have this agency out of my life. It turns out they’ve shit on other models just as badly, if not worse. Thankfully it all worked out for the best and me being the Positive Polly that I am, helps.
Yaaaaas! Its just over a week until my 28 day, 200 hr yoga teacher training in paradise, Koh Samui, Thailand. Im preparing for the training with healthy eating habits and yoga once and sometimes twice a day because thats what I’ll have goin’ on when I get there. Yoga! Yoga! Yoga! It will be a challenging experience mentally, physically, and emotionally and I look forward to sharing this journey with you all.
Until next time,
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