Modelling and Medicine

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How emerging model Colin Gallagher balances his modelling career with his dreams of going to med school

Provided photos courtesy Colin Gallagher.

The path of a modelling career is narrow, and especially for recent UVic Developmental Psychology graduate Colin Gallagher, whose careful curation of his busy schedule is the only way he remains active in the fashion industry.

For many students, self-directed extracurricular activities can be difficult to attend to when other high-demand priorities such as day jobs and school get in the way. But regardless of the minimal downtime he is left with after a packed week working as an out-of-school educator at Frank Hobbs Elementary, volunteering as social support at Mount Tolmie Hospital, and studying to take the MCAT exam, Gallagher still persists with modelling through the wise practice of time management.

Under modelling agency Charles Stuart International, Gallagher’s goal is to obtain “tear sheets” — proof of his active engagement and credibility in the fashion industry. Being featured on magazine covers, in modelling shows, on television fashion segments, and in short films are what make the pursuit worth Gallagher’s time, because all of these achievements help further his modelling career. His agency is constantly notifying him of increasingly reputable modelling shoots .

Modelling is his form of self-expression.  

Attending these events are like taking a deep breath, away from the pressure of Gallagher’s schooling and regular job. Modelling is his form of self-expression.  

Gallagher has worked with mostly local as well as some international designers to present work for brands like international design house CHENLONHENKU, Winners, and Off-White.

On the subject of creativity, Gallagher thinks that the standalone model does not necessarily make groundbreaking change in terms of fashion progression — the designers have more of an influence there.

“As an individual part I haven’t changed anything,” he says, “[but] if models didn’t have a purpose in the industry, then they would only use mannequins to show the clothes.”

The real difficulty lies in conquering the challenge of time management in order to balance work, school, and his relevance in the industry.

Gallagher has participated in both Vancouver and Victoria Fashion Weeks  — with three seasons under his belt so far  —  and has been involved in numerous photoshoots to boost his public image. The real difficulty, however, lies in conquering the serious challenge of time management in order to balance work, school, and his relevance in the industry.

Active engagement in such a creative business is difficult when Gallagher at the same time feels an instinctual pull to commit to a stable career path. He cannot always necessarily afford to allocate his study time towards photoshoots and catwalks.

He has spent a year now preparing for the MCAT standardized test, an exam that demands thorough academic commitment to acquire a competitive rating.

Provided photos courtesy of Colin Gallagher.

Gallagher’s tone regarding his endeavours is notably positive. How in the world does he show such vigour despite this occupational balancing act? Where does his drive come from?

For Gallagher, balancing his two very different career choices clearly comes down to attitude.

“My motivation comes from focusing on all aspects of my day-to-day schedule because they’re all interconnected. So, for example, to focus on my fitness regime in the morning benefits my academic productivity in the afternoon because it leaves me feeling energized and ready to tackle my next goal,” he says.

For Gallagher, balancing his two very different career choices clearly comes down to attitude.

“The positive mindset is there from the start,” says Gallagher. “I wouldn’t be in this industry if I didn’t want to do [it] 100 per cent for myself, so it never really falls out the side. The day that modelling becomes not fun for me, that’s the day I quit. It’s got to be first and foremost about enjoying my time in the industry.”

And if Gallagher didn’t hold this inner passion for a tough challenge, he really may as well be replaced by a thoughtless mannequin — it is his mental clarity and understanding of what he wants that is crucial to his success:

“[My passion] gives purpose to everyday activities,” he says.

Gallagher’s practiced ability to strive will undoubtedly help him succeed in whichever direction he chooses to take his career. For now, though, his best move for staying relevant in the fashion industry is to walk it like he talks it — simply for good measure.