For the love or the money?

Cassi Van Den Dungen

As 17 year old Cassi Van Den Dungen, the runner up of Australia’s Next Top Model, turns down a lucrative contract with local agency Priscillas and international agency Elite Models and walks away from modelling as fast as her four inch heels will take her in favour of staying with her labourer boyfriend, it makes me question my choices in life.

The so called man recession in Sydney as coined by Tourism Victoria has always forced me to go out of my emotional comfort zone and date men who were born in other states and eventually wanted me to settle down with them in their respective home town. However, the bulk of media and advertising companies are based in Sydney so it would have ultimately meant that I would have had to sacrifice my career, leave my family behind and possibly resent them for it. But why is that women always seem to have to make a choice between a career and a family? As a woman, can we really have it all?

I even left Sydney at one point to move to Melbourne in search of a better lifestyle but lack of job prospects sent me back to Sydney with my firmly tail between my legs. However my career hasn’t exactly filled me with happiness either so I have been questioning lately whether staying in Sydney was the right choice. I’m not even sure if ‘the one’ even resides in Sydney or Australia. I’ve always had a fondness for Italian men who um … live in Italy. Do we have an emotional compass and if so, which direction was mine pointing? I always seemed to be confronted with decisions between career versus love. Sometimes I wish I was equipped with an emotional GPRS. It would make things a heck of a lot easier.

With Cassi’s Kate Moss looks and ease behind the camera, simple mathematics will tell you that Cassi could potentially make a lot more money modelling and buy Brad a whole empire. The issue seems to be with Brad, almost 10 years her senior, who seems to be pressuring her to stay in Australia. It seems the right move on his behalf albeit selfish motives. New York City is a world away from Sunbury where Cassia was born and bred and would open to her new experiences and of course, meeting sexy boys in her age range.

While the media and fans of the show have been quick to criticise, we all have to remember the girl is a mere teenager, her mother lives overseas, she doesn’t have many support networks and her boyfriend is her first real love … awww! However, I believe a strong relationship should be able to withstand the pressures of a long distance. After all, a healthy relationship should be built on good communication, trust and understanding and with technological advances such as video calls, text messaging and social networking, there is no reason not to be able to stay in touch.

Modelling has such a young expiry date as we all know. While veterans like Elle McPherson, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell seem to be defying the ageing process, this is the exception, not the rule. Will Cassi be able to pick up where she left off in a few years’ time or will Brad have her bare foot, pregnant and tied to the kitchen? And if so, will she live to regret her decision to stay with a boyfriend who appears controlling and insecure and denied her the right to a career? I really have to question the maturity of a man in his mid 20s who would date a teenager.

It seems my personal favourite judge Charlotte Dawson made the right choice when she chose Tahnee Atkinson over her personal favourite Cassi to win the final because she believed that Cassi would stay in Sunbury with Brad the builder. As all investors say, you can never go wrong with investing money in bricks and mortar but in this case, the experts may be wrong.


  1. Crazy In Love, 15 July 2009, 4:56 pm

    It’s so true there’s a man recession. Sydney men suck! It’s hard one choosing between a career and a man. Of course if that man is David Beckham minus Victoria Beckham and four children, then I’d happily follow him around the world! Victoria Beckham is a fool for letting him stay by himself in Italy! What is she thinking???

  2. Iheartfashion, 16 July 2009, 1:11 am

    Man recession … haha! I don’t think Cassi or Tahnee should have won! Claire for the win!!! Oh & I definitely choose love over a career!

  3. SamanthaH, 16 July 2009, 1:44 pm

    I was a bit disappointed that Cassi didn’t win but Charlotte Dawson as per usual was right on the money. I think Cassi would look back on this and regret it.


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