Saturday, August 10, 2013

Day 6 of 365: Model Me

When you've been in the 99th percentile in height since birth, people tend to say things like, "You should be part of a basketball team!" or "You should model!"

I'm going to pause right here and say that people telling you that you should model is not a good indicator of modeling ability. And a word of advice: if you are thinking about going into the modeling world, do NOT tell people that, "Everyone says I should model." The lay person has no clue what being a successful model entails and it makes you look vapid. Unless the person who told you that you should model is a talent director at an agency, prove that you can be a model through your actions, not gossip.

But still, it was people's insistence that I model that I got into modeling in the first place. Extraordinarily tiny stuff at first. A local songwriter who wanted album art for a demo song. A graphic designer who needed a base for his project. I started branching out a little bit and eventually caught the attention of an agency in Boston. I got a decent amount of work with them -- to be perfectly honest, there's not much out there when you're a size 6 (instead of a 2 or 4) at 5'11", even in a market like Boston. Mostly bridal stuff (since sample sizes in bridal gowns are European size 8), which I'm eternally grateful for (I ended up finding The Dress at the very first bridal boutique I ever worked with).

A lot has changed since I was signed in 2008. I actually have a meeting next Friday that could be nothing, or it could it everything (that about narrows it down, doesn't it?). We'll see if walking away from the teaching world was just the push I needed to contact people I was petrified of contacting before.

But modeling is a funny thing for me. I do it, it's a part of me, but I minimize in my real life. I do that for two reasons: girls who flaunt the fact that they "model" are either delusional or stuck up. They are usually also downright begging for attention: I remember one model I worked with kept talking about a "big reveal" that she was ashamed to admit. After building it up for a week, she revealed the unrevealable: she *gulp* modeled!! Her reveal was then followed by a flood of images from her modeling days, complete with constant references from the time that revealed that she modeled and multiple offers to do a Q&A.

People also tend to get images in their head when they find out you model: that you are, in fact, stuck up, that you're rolling in the dough, that you're meeting mad celebs left and right. To clear the air: I have never met celebrities through modeling. I've met a few comics after their shows (and skeeved hardcore on Casey Affleck while at a Mexican restaurant in Cambridge). I think I walked by Cameron Diaz once when she was in Boston filming Knight and Day. But that's about it. And the closest I came to rolling in the dough was when I looked at my husband's and my savings account right before we put an offer on our house (and that was after years of serious saving). I'd like to think I'm not stuck up, but I'll let other people be the judge of that.

So yeah -- it's not glamorous, it's certainly not a money-making gig (full-time models in busy markets like New York or Miami can hope to make about $25,000-30,000/year. That's essentially what my salary was as a teacher), but I love doing it. There's a whole plethora of reasons why: it's a challenge, I'm creating art, etc, etc, etc. But one of the reasons why I love to model is because of Model Me.

I liken how I am when I model to Beyonce's Sasha Fierce. I don't believe in alternative personalities, but I do believe that certain circumstances bring up aspects of your own personality that usually don't see the light of day. For me, modeling makes me an outgoing, social person. I go from the girl who tends to cast her eyes if someone is looking at her to the girl who'll stride right up to someone and shake their hand. I talk without worrying about what they could be thinking about me. I'm dancing in public and getting other people to dance with me. I possess a confidence as the model version of me that I wish I had in any other occasion.

So only time will tell if there is any more to my chapter as a model. I am 26, going on 27 (which is way past retirement age in the modeling world). I'm probably in the best physical shape of my life (even better than when I first got signed), but I'm still a size 6 ("chubby", by modeling standards). The cards are stacked against me. But that won't stop me from having fun. This started out as a fun hobby, and I'm perfectly okay if it continues to be that way.

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