African Women Voices
My name is MariTè and I’m 29 years old. I am a woman and an artist and this association of terms is not easy in Italy, where I live. After several attempts and indecent work propositions in the music field, I thought: “why not trying the modelling path!”
So it happened that I went to a renowned agency (that I rather not to name) for an audition.
“You are a size 44, what can we possible do with a size 44?” They asked me at the meeting, for which I had to travel at my own expenses from Rome to Milan [582Km]. After this hasty statement, the woman who was checking my size, corrected herself. She took a meter, put it around my waist and said: “Wait, you’re a 46, we can actually work with you! Models with some flaws are trendy nowadays, if you know what I mean.”
No, I didn’t really now what she meant. “Models with flaws”?
As if she thought I needed comfort, she added: “You are beautiful and have a very good posture, let me talk to my bookmaker and see how we can work something out.”
The woman disappeared, leaving me wondering in the room for 20 minutes. After spending sometimes alone with thousands questions on the modelling world, she called me back: “I spoke to my bookmaker again – she said, we like you.
“You don’t need to learn how to stand and you already are an excellent singer, you are really expressive and can move very well.”
Curious about where all those compliments were heading, I kept my hears opened only to discover that: ” we can offer you a four-day course plus a portfolio (which I already had!), for €1400 + VAT is €1800.”
At this point I couldn’t help but have my eyes wide open when learning that one month salary of an average lucky full-time Italian worker was the price to pay to learn something I already knew how to do and for a position as a lacking model. I glanced at the contract just out of curiosity, already aware I would have never ever let them represent me.
Back then like now I fondly believed that a woman with whatsoever flaw is marvellous because unique. She can be special and full of talents much more relevant than beauty… [for once, the ability to move people’s souls while singing!]
MariTè is an Afro-pop singer, performing in Rome and surrounding areas. She recently toured in the South of Italy (you can visit her website here: www.maritekabutakapua.it). The story she told us todays is common for many aspiring singers and artists who meet people promising them success in exchange of large amount of money.
An investigation by the Italian daily La Repubblica, found out dozens of agencies in Rome only, that base their income on this fraud: asking young talented people a minimum of €1000 to have pictures taken and be part of their catalogue. A former manager confessed among the thousands of women signed in their books only five or six were placed in the industry and that’s because the aim was never to promote and help the artist but to have a considerable catalogue of people who could raise their income. Always be careful what these agencies promise!