Despite spending the majority of my waking life in front of my laptop, phone or tablet I'm usually too busy to indulge in personal social networking; as an entrepreneur my work accounts take precedent every time. But this week after being told extensively the merits of the app by my beautiful booking team I finally broke down and joined the mobile phenomenon that is Tinder. For those living on the moon, Tinder is a dating app that allows users to look at pictures of each other and decide whether or not you're interested in them. If two users express an interest then it's classed as a 'match' and the users can start to message each other to find out more about each other.
As the founder and Director of Sapphires Model Management I work an industry which by all accounts is based on purely promoting the outer appearance of people. When it comes to the models on my books as much as we love to represent models with great personalities ultimately it's the models' look that decides whether or not they'll succeed in the industry. Having attempted to use Tinder though, when I'm asked to do the same on a personal level I find the whole thing decidedly uncomfortable. When it comes to my choice in partner I can honestly say looks come second and for me it's always about personality. It seems that I spend my entire working life basing opinions about people on their outward appearance yet can't do the same in my private life.
To me, the great thing about the internet is that it opens up communication with people from all over the world. Back before most people used the internet - yes kids it wasn't that long ago - we were restricted when it came to meeting potential partners because we had to meet in real life first. This usually meant that most people would date people from the same school, university, town etc. I am a massive fan of rock n' roll and the 1950's but I grew up with nobody to share my passion with simply because nobody in the immediate area had the same interests. By contrast, these days I can meet literally thousand of people across the country and even the world who share my interests.
Yet despite the fact we now have the power in our hands to meet potential partners with interests and personalities that literally mirror our own - and all the dating websites that promote finding your perfect match based on complex algorithms and various technical malarky - at the end of the day dating seems to come back down to one thing; physical attraction.
The modelling industry is constantly in the line of fire when it comes to negative press. People love to complain that models promote an unrealistic ideal through the benefit of makeup, styling and retouching - yet in many respects dating apps like Tinder and social media sites like Facebook and Instagram have proved that given the opportunity people will do exactly the same with their own photos. Photo filters, flattering angles, cropping and the ability to reshoot a 'snapshot' umpteen times until it looks perfect are things that most of us are guilty of at one time or another when uploading photographs online.
Yes of course it's important that two people click on more that just looks (unless you're a reality TV contestant of course!) but in dating, just like advertising and fashion it's the look that is what grabs peoples' attention. So when people criticise the modelling industry for promoting an unrealistic ideal to the public, maybe people should think at their online profiles... I know for a fact that I look nothing like mine in real life!