Writing by Mauve Everest // Photograph by Toni Antonia
Whilst Living in London, I found that models were nearly everywhere, anywhere. And they are starving, for a side of chicken or a job. Please give them both.
Living with a few hopefuls really gave me insight into the modelling industry. Although I was not one of them, hopefully, I’d still be able to give an honest, outsider’s point of view. They were gorgeous creatures, descendants of Venus De Milo, (not Michelangelo, noting that there was always something going on with their arms, or wrists for that matter.)
Now with that, it made me even more determined to write about my experience. And hopefully, this piece will allow Models in general to garner more respect and less ridicule.
I knew their names, their favourite color, what to order for them when it was Thai Take-out night. I knew some of their darkest, most intimate secrets and even shed a few tears as they shared their experiences.
But I never really knew them.
They were Transient, fleeting people. If you could imagine. Faces of Adonis, male and female, reluctantly taking up human status.
Moving in and out of our flat, after their visa was up or mine, the ephemeral lifespan adding to their physical beauty. It was like the universe didn’t want you to get tired of looking at their faces. So, when I almost streamed them to the norm, the heavens snatched them out of my life. And I never saw any one of them again.
It was such a coincidence, if you can call it that. Because when they weren’t there anymore, I thought of them, more than I did when they were around. I wondered about their hopes and dreams, what were they doing at this very second and whether or not they finally reconciled with that cousin of theirs.
Then, there was my VISA reapplication or going home for the holidays; only to come back to see that I had a new roommate.
It was like living inside of Vogue.
True, sometimes I read the same issue for a couple of months, but – BAM! Next seasons’ fresh faces arriving at my doorstep, asking where her room was.
I was an aspiring journalist living with a bunch of aspiring goddesses.
Now, living with another person is never easy, I was probably not the best person to live with. Here are 2 important lessons I learnt from that.
#1 Let people be good at stuff. Let these models be good at beauty.
The same way an individual is good at sports or at the violin. I didn’t and I should have.
I, too, plucked at my eyebrows,
I, too, spent all that money on makeup and full-bod waxes,
I, too, struggled with my self-image.
So, Why wasn’t I all that? Why didn’t I look like a goddess?
How could I think such a thing? Without knowing the struggles that models have to face.
I didn’t know desperation as well as they did; one of them confessed to me, that they didn’t mind being a “A knock-off version of Gisele, Naomi or Christy… just as long as I make it, even one-hit-wonder.”
Some models wish they were prettier at something else- like gymnastics or mathematics. “Getting paid to go to clubs only last till you’re 28. And that’s when you start to go bad, emitting a rotting smell- The casting director will detect it immediately. Wrinkling his nose at the sight of your age on the portfolio.”
#2 Models aren’t Self-obsessed
This might come as a shock to you, as it came to me, thinking grudgingly, ‘Maybe not entirely, but surely you have to admit- to a certain extent.’
This is their Job.
It was same way writers are conceited with their words: “Does this phrase feel right? Am I conveying the correct emotion with this rhyme?” Equates to how they look at the mirror and ask, “do I look right? Does this red liner make me look clownish?”
You are anxious about each and every word in a poem, the same way they labour over the line applied on a sole eyelid.
Revising it over and over again, until it is decidedly perfect. And the masterpiece is ready to be seen by the public eye and potential agents.
Why do we regard our bodies and minds as two separate things?
Now, I’m not model crazy, I’m just irritated. I think that it’s so frustrating that after centuries, we still have not deciphered the correct way to treat different types of people: Equally, with respect. We haven’t really figured out how to treat the less-fortunate or people of different races and different sexualities.
Bottom line: Models are just like everyone else, even as they don’t look so, with their perfect, glossy hair, impeccable skin and flawless figures. They have issues just like us, whether family, work or relationship. Just because they’ve hit the genetic jackpot, doesn’t mean they deserve any less or any more.
From what I’ve seen, jealousy and insults comes from this simple contemplation: They’ve already had their round of good fortunate and now what goes up must come down.
All good things must come to an end. So, sneering at them and telling them that their jobs are inadequate or that they make zero contribution to society, is just fate.
You aren’t being theoretical, you’re being mean.
Since we haven’t been able to properly figure out how to treat people who aren’t as privileged, why don’t we give a crack at the ‘blessed’? Maybe then we’ll cover some ground. Maybe, we’ll figure out how to treat people equally no matter how they look,
Black or White or brown or beautiful or both.