Saturday, May 25, 2013

The World of Modeling & Officially Being One of "The Beautiful People"

I had my modeling debut on Wednesday. As in, I got to be in a fashion show for a legitimate designer who has a track record & contacts. The models I worked with included people who do it professionally. This was an opportunity I never really expected to get, even though every girly girl would kill to do it. After all, there are modeling scams all over the place. Plus, I'm in a grey area on height.

However, I'm so darn thin that I look taller than I am. That's nothing new considering one mother whose kid I watched one summer thought I was 5'8 when I'm actually shorter than that.

My opportunity actually arose when I went to an event for my film company & met a designer who invited me to participate. An awesome person, by the way. I would totally work with her again.

Things you should know about modeling:

1. It is NOT as easy as it looks. Really, it's not. This is one point where mass media and the general public have it totally wrong.

2. The things that form the attorney mindset are murder in modeling. You can't be paranoid, obsessed with a routine or overly eager to please. You've got to have some self-confidence, be prepared for the unexpected and let go of things.

3. Modeling may be the only space where you aren't being encouraged to cover up or repress yourself. I actually loved going to my debut since it was the one forum I've been in where I wasn't being made to feel shame for looking as I do or where I'd have to worry if something was too revealing or too sexy.

4. Being in a sorority is very good prep for being in a fashion show. You have to do a lot of posing for pictures, though you do get to be alone much more often than with sorority picture taking. I remember doing TONS of pictures for our sorority events & girls outright saying they felt like they should be models with us having to pose so darn much for picture taking from different people.

5. If you were the ugly guy/girl back in the day & get a modeling opportunity, the arrogant friends are useful resources here. If they overcame their ugly guy/girl past, even better.

Models and the world of fashion modeling has a very nasty rep in society. When I was a teenager, the only thing I really heard about was how the models in magazines were unrealistic to what girls actually looked like and that if you were a small size, you were "unnatural." Hell, pretty girls have gotten a bum rap as well! Look at shows like Daria or My-So Called Life. You have the Fashion Club, Quinn Morgendorfer (whom I'd look more like if I were an animated character) and a whole episode of My So-Called Life where the model of this one magazine is attacked just b/c she looks better than others. Even today, you have certain feminist types and fat appreciation folks who aren't content with just empowering themselves in the face of society's standard of beauty. Instead, they have to engage in skinny & pretty hate.

Are there vapid airheads in that world? Sure. Are there models with eating disorders or managers and others telling models to lose more weight? Probably. I didn't experience that myself & haven't heard about it from anyone I know in that field but I'm sure it happens.

If someone told me to lose weight, I'd laugh my ass off considering I actually lost some weight recently (likely from working out) & me weighing less isn't really a good thing. It would mean going down in cup sizes, which I wouldn't want. A friend in high school once asked me if I was anorexic & I was a clothing size bigger then, so that should tell you something about how little I need to lose weight. Vanity sizing may have affected that some but I did have to get rid of things I had from that time b/c they were now too big on me.

The outfit I ended up in was actually much more revealing that anything I'd ever worn in public and was going to be more revealing but ended up being not so much. You could see my underwear in it as well most of my body, though I was clothed (no nude modeling for me, thanks). I'm hoping I can get a full pic of that at some point since I looked gorgeous & how many attorneys do you know who've also modeled while they were attorneys?

I also wasn't the least bit self-conscious about going out in it. I got out there & it was very liberating. Wearing something as part of a fashion show (or even a stage performance) is not the same as wearing it out on the street. Performance is different & if you have a creative background, you get this. Even my conservative mother got this.

Unfortunately, my night was tarred some with a fight I had with my husband. He was mad I took off my wedding ring to do the show. My understanding was I had to take it off since the designer said to take off any jewelry not part of the costume since it would mess up the pictures. He got upset and left. The designer said I didn't have to take off my ring & wanted to meet him but by then, he was gone. I learned later that apparently the owner of the venue where the show was treated him badly. Still, it did cause a fight since I felt like my husband didn't want me to model at all even though I got this opportunity & it would be stupid to turn it away. It's one thing if I tried & failed but I tried & succeeded; the future is wide open.

We settled this, at least, so now things are good. He did also say that if I had to take off my ring for an acting role, he'd understand. As bears repeating for those not in the creative field, performance is different from your real life. You're putting on a show, creating a performance. It's not the same as taking it off to go pick up guys in a bar (or girls or transvestites, whatever your preference is) so you can have an affair.

Frankly, I'm sick & fucking tired of the skinny hate and the pretty hate. As far as I'm concerned, those people can go someplace unpleasant if they want to try going there with me. I'm of the belief that people who are pretty, get modeling opportunities or do/have something desirable in society should not have to apologize for being who they are or having it. I decided after doing this that I'm not going to apologize for being pretty or having a body women envy. Why are those realities my fault? Who is anyone to go & make that my fault? Why should I or anyone else be punished for it? If you've got that stuff, you should be happy & embrace it.

That's not to say you have to be a jerk or an asshole to others but if you make assumptions about my competence or diminish my rights as a human being over it (I'm more of a reactive personality instead of someone who actively starts shit with others), then I most certainly get the right to call you a fat ass or whatever derogatory term will be fitting for you as a detractor. It's not MY problem or anyone else's that you're insecure, envious or have low self-esteem. Maybe if you worked on yourself, you'd not be going around hating model types.

I feel like somehow we've gotten to a point where being the pretty, skinny girl is the same as being a villain. You might as well be torturing puppies in your spare time. Consider another media example: the TV movie Death of a Cheerleader. Tori Spelling played the pretty, popular character who was a total bitch to Kellie Martin's character, the girl who wanted to be pretty & popular but was on the fringes of the in-crowd. I felt Tori Spelling's character was completely unsympathetic; if you watched it, you'd be rooting for her death since she had no redeeming qualities. The case it was based on was much different & the popular girl apparently wasn't a total bitch.

I actually listened to my "arrogant" friend (well, it's what my husband says but if I didn't think he had redeeming qualities he wouldn't be my friend) & realized he had a point. Plus, I remembered he hung around model types so if anyone would have insight on how I could properly prepare for this I figured he would.

Maybe it's naive but I do think it's possible to 100% embrace being "one of the beautiful people" without becoming an asshole. Let's face it, I already have problems with people assuming bad things about me for plenty of other reasons. I'm also just not a person who has to knock others down to feel good about herself. I don't have to vilify a pretty girl to make myself more beautiful (I'm a redhead so mine is different anyway); maybe that's why we have this whole mainstream attitude over it. The writers of shows and movies were ugly in their day, never got viewed as "pretty" later on & have criminally low self-esteem to this day.

Consider the Abercrombie & Fitch statement from the CEO about how they don't want fat people wearing their clothes & that they market to the "cool kids."

I heard about this and thought it was simply a confirmation of what I already saw in my high school days. All the preppie & popular white kids wore Abercrombie & Fitch clothing.

I personally rebelled against it since I had a true sense of style my classmates didn't, I got 40% off clothes I could wear to work at my retail job at JcPenney so most of my clothing was dressier stuff & I didn't like most of the kids in my grade who were wearing this stuff. I also left shit like wearing labels behind in middle school & Abercrombie & Fitch just wasn't my cup of tea (Rave was more my speed).

The only time I got something from there was a tank top I wore to play a role in a Drama Club play I was in where I was the lead guy's girlfriend. I felt like Abercrombie & Fitch would be her aesthetic and make her more genuine as a functional, "normal" high school student than my personal style would. However, when we took the show to a theater competition outside our city I ended up wearing something more my style at the behest of my fellow cast members & Drama teacher. I have no clue where that tank top is today; it's probably vanished someplace in the annals of time and my mother's garage full of stuff you can't get to or organize.

My other thought was "Thank you! At least someone is respectful to skinny people & not making their size 2s as big as houses." Not a retailer I care for but if you're my size, shopping can suck. I'd like to be able to go someplace in NYC where there's a selection in my size and it doesn't cost a trillion dollars (other than sample sales). No one ever cares about whether I can find clothes to fit me but the skinny haters sure can.

Why should some private company have to cater to fat people when there are plenty of companies that don't cater to me as a skinny person? I can't control my size either. Should the CEO have said it publicly? Probably not & with him looking as he does, he had to have known he'd get that held against him when he made those statements.

See my point on skinny hate? It's one thing to appreciate who you are but you don't get a right to slam me or others who are skinny by nature. People have practically been calling for crucifixion of this CEO, which I can't agree with. In college, I interviewed for a job there but they had this crazy group interview session where you were evaluated based on how much you talked vs. the other applicants. Well, the big mouths are going to win every time. No opportunity to talk to anyone individually about their experience or sales abilities or anything like that. Just not my thing.

So, would I model again? Absolutely. I'd like pay for it but as long as I'm treated with basic respect and my personal boundaries are respected, we're all good. This is another one of those "we'll see where it goes" type things. I figured even if I never did it again, I would at least be able to say I did it once.

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