‘WAIT’ BY VICTORIA ZSCHOMMLER, HENRY COUSINS & MATILDA DODS
PHOTOGRAPHER: VICTORIA ZSCHOMMLER @ART BOX BLACK
DOP: HENRY COUSINS
HAIR & MAKEUP: CLAIRE THOMSON @COMPANY1
PRODUCEd BY: JANE ROBINSON @ARTBOXBLACK
WRITTEN BY: MATILDA DODS
My experience of childhood often felt like living in a constant state of anticipation. There was always something I was waiting for, something that I was always rushing towards with unprecedented velocity; a birthday, a holiday, Christmas. I was never a patient child. And while I am still unconvinced that there has ever existed a truly patient child, I can confidently classify myself as a truly impatient child.
I have a distinct memory of once, at the age of about 6 or 7, proclaiming on Christmas morning, ‘I can’t wait for next Christmas! Only 365 days to go!’ There was always something else, something that held the elusive possibility of infinitely being better than what was, that was coming, and that needed to come demonstrably faster.
My mum, throughout my childhood and adolescence, was constantly reminding me to slow down, that whatever was coming would come whether I rushed towards it or not. Last year I had the word ‘wait’ tattooed on my arm as a reminder of my mother’s advice. I think that I have learned to wait now, without or without the promise of a good thing coming. That learning has not always been easy.
I once waited, seated on the floor of a large concrete room, for 16 hours straight, from 9:00 in the morning to 2:00 the following morning, simply waiting, with no wifi and thankfully an 800 page book to read, just in case the designer that I was on hold for wanted to see me in a look.
In this instance, a good thing came to those who wait. The next day, I was rewarded for my patience by making my runway debut as an exclusive for Prada. Only 3 seasons later, I waited on the floor of another Italian atelier for 9 hours for a fitting, only to be cancelled the morning of the show. Good things do not always come to those who wait.
I have always tried to find solace in the latent promise that good things will come to those who are simply patient and hardworking, and that those who can both wait and work hard with an appropriate amount of humility will be rewarded. But I sometimes feel like it is an ill-placed faith. A faith that often leaves me stranded between blind optimism and hopeless pessimism. Sometimes you can wait the longest, work the hardest and want it the most, but it still might not come. This no-man’s land that my psyche wanders back and forth between is the home of anxious anticipation.
Anticipation, waiting, is often a lonely and isolated journey. I find having patience during these stretches is the only thing that makes them bearable. I taught myself patience to no longer be constantly buffeted and ferried by the unpredictable and often anticlimactic nature of my industry. My adrenal glands could not take it.
Anticipation fills the space between knowing and not knowing, but the topography of that space is as unpredictable as the end of anticipation itself. Sometimes it is a lush, green expanse of hopeful expectancy, it is the first glimpse of the ocean over the horizon on a long car ride. And sometimes it is simply an unwelcoming empty road with no end in sight.
My career as a model has often felt like living in perpetual anticipation. Perhaps not unlike the wild, excited and unceasing anticipation of youth. There is always the promise of something coming. The art of waiting, or practising patience has not come naturally to me.
I am still interminably visited by my mother’s voice in my head telling me to slow down, but I am getting better at it. Initially, practising patience felt as unnatural to me as putting on shoes on the first day of school after spending the summer holidays barefoot and sunburnt. But, the necessity quickly outweighs the lack of familiarity. Things, good or bad, will come to those who wait – the true art is found in how we do the waiting.