When former supermodel Jodie Kidd got to the final of Celebrity Masterchef last month, a lot of viewers were shocked. Models have to stay slim, so they aren't exactly known for their culinary skills (unless it involves whipping up a green salad with no dressing).
However, from the beginning of the cookery competition Jodie showed she was utterly determined to win. Her time as a model meant that she was clueless when it came to desserts- admitting that she really wasn't allowed to eat anything too calorie laden when she was still striding around on catwalks- but despite a lack of knowledge she threw herself into the fray with a furious, competitive determination that took her all the way to the final.
In a recent interview with the Daily Mail, she admitted she'd taken things a bit far: "I went for it. I pushed myself so out of my comfort zone that I was out of control. And then, after two hours of cooking, I collapsed on the floor from exhaustion. Literally, fell in a heap."
This quote really does sum it up: pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion really isn't a normal reaction to a celebrity TV competition. Jodie's Masterchef success wasn't about food at all, it was about her time as a model.
Models are frequently dismissed as air headed clothes horses, but Jodie is clearly anything but. She's educated, driven and so determined to succeed that she'll drive herself to distraction in her search for perfection: in this case, the perfect chocolate fondant. Despite popular belief, modelling involves far more than simply showing up to a building, putting on some clothes and letting people take your photograph. It's an incredibly demanding job, and Jodie's approach to a BBC cookery programme perfectly mirrors the effort that most models have to put in to get anywhere in such a competitive industry.
Esther from modelling agency UK Models explains: "Modelling is incredibly hard work. If you think you turn up, have your hair and make-up done and then leave after an hour's worth of shooting, you're wrong. From the minute a model signs to an agency and starts attending castings right through to the time that they finish on set, a mass of energy, commitment and enthusiasm is required. Models have to travel a lot, work weird and wonderful hours and get up before dawn to get to a shoot, often working until very late at night. It takes untold professionalism and commitment to get to the top, which is something that many people don't realise. They think it's an easy ride, but its anything but."
Interestingly, this culture of long hours, perfection and hard work is shared by another competitive industry: professional cookery. Most chefs who reach the top have worked 17 hours a day, seven days a week for years to get to the position of executive chef, but Jodie was cooking at a professional level after just a few weeks in the competition: an incredible achievement.
Although the title of Celebrity Masterchef eventually went to actress Sophie Thompson, Jodie really should have been awarded the star prize due to her amazing performance in the Italian restaurant service section of the final when she created a perfect, gold-dusted tempered chocolate dome with a hot caramel sauce: something most professional chefs would struggle to do. Jodie missed out on the top spot due to her ambition: she repeatedly aimed too high, pushed herself too hard and gave herself far too much to do in a short space of time. In short, she behaved like a model.
The long held myth that models are either dumb or divas desperately needs to change: they're intelligent and incredibly hard working. It's a deeply anti feminist notion that attempts to play down female success, but thanks to Jodie we have a real and clear example of what being a model actually means. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.