It really doesn't matter how long I've been modeling, or how many times I remind myself that I'm a commercial model (not fashion), or how often I talk about "strong is the new skinny" and love my body for exactly what it looks like: when I am put into a casting with a bunch of 21-year-old, industry-standard-sized models, I feel like an old heifer.
I'd say, for the most part, my go-sees are uneventful. Usually because, as a commercial model, they want svelte and pretty, but not necessary crazy-young and crazy-skinny. That means I'm usually in the same room as a 40-something dude, a 30-something lady, and young kids. It's a motley crew, if you will.
But yesterday, even though the casting called for people of all ages, I somehow got there during America's Next Top Model hour. And there are few things as damaging to your self-esteem than sitting next to a girl who is your height, probably half your weight, and so surrealistically beautiful that it makes you want to hide in your makeup bag. Especially when you factor in that they'll probably get the job over you.
I talk a bit about this in my essay collection (which -- have you gotten it yet? Hmm? Hmm? Available where all ebooks are sold, motherfucker). The modeling world is a rough industry and, to be frank, if I didn't enjoy the actual being-in-front-of-the-camera part, I probably would've quit a while back. But it is just hard to accept that these cuties are going to get the job -- the same way it's hard for me to accept that I get injured easier and don't recover as fast and can't do all the fun things that I finally feel comfortable enough in my body to do (which includes running distances, but that's maybe a post for tomorrow). It's a reminder that life continues on and that I'm not the target demographic anymore, for almost anything outside of Pampers Baby Wipes.
Even though I left that particular go-see feeling like the aging cow led out to pasture, I still made sure to enjoy my city on such a beautiful day. And, like clockwork, the walk helped clear my mind and helped me remember that it really doesn't matter how youthful I am in comparison to everyone else. Here I am, with two (relatively) working legs, enjoying the sun on my face and the wind in my hair and the parts of Boston I almost never go down unless I went there specifically for a casting. I still get the opportunity to take in this incredible world and it shouldn't matter that I'm bulkier than a girl who can somehow fit into a size 0 at 5'11".
And -- really? -- I'd hate to be that age again. I'd love to have the impossibly-fast metabolism and quick physical recovery, but you couldn't pay me to have the mindset of a 21-year-old again. You couldn't pay me to be that unsure, unassertive, and insecure again. You couldn't pay me to have the coping strategies and temperament of a 21-year-old. Shit, you couldn't pay me to have the coping strategies of a 25-year-old. And if turning back the clock on aging would result in turning back the clock on my development as a person, I would pass.
And who knows: the last time I felt that low on a go-see, I ended up getting the job (I had a, "I'm Ron Burgundy?" moment and walked away feeling like a huge putz, only to get an email a day later saying I landed the gig with Volvo). I'm not saying I'll get this job, but I am saying that I can't rule myself out just yet.