I know I promised this blog was not going to be about me. I am going to use the “I”, “my” and “mine” quite a lot in this post as it refers to a lot of my close friends…

Ever since I started modelling, my friends have been scaring me. Not in the “Oh, no! Modelling is bad for you, there are conmen out there and you don’t want to develop and eating disorder…” kind of way but more in the “You are so photogenic, I look like a rat, a blob, a mess, I’m ugly, I wish I could look this good…Blah blah”. What actually scares me is the fact that those statements come from women I admire for their guts, intelligence and drive. One of them is actually a marketing executive who speaks 2 languages fluently, managed to complete a part-time MBA and was my bridesmaid at my wedding (and I secretly wish I had her figure). Another is a mom to 2 lovely little boys who has found the courage to divorce her abusive and inconsiderate husband of 11 years so her boys could have a better quality of life. On top of taking care of her boys and running her house, she is dealing with a chronic condition called fibromyalgia. She is officially disabled as a result of it. However, despite her recent and successful spur at getting her life sorted and getting a lovely new boyfriend, she still has massive issues regarding her self-perception and refuses to have her picture taken.

I have plenty more examples of this, I could go on for ages but I won’t. I have been trying to explain with no avail that given the right photographer, lights, make-up and clothes, any woman’s inner beauty can shine through on camera. I did tell them that I, and any other model/celebrity, do look like cr3p on amateur pictures taken on the fly by friends and family, just like everyone else. They just haven’t had the occasion to work with a proper photographer in a proper studio.

As a result of this, I have had an idea germinating in my head… I think I will have an interesting talk with my photographer friend on our next photoshoot. Maybe I can prove my friends wrong: they too can look good on camera.


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Why role “models”?

February 22, 2010


I was always told that the most obvious place to start is the beginning. So here goes: my story is one of a modern day ugly duckling. I was born with a hirsute mass of hair none of the female members of my entourage could make sense of. Different catastrophic attempts at taming it (short, chemically relaxed, blow dried, you name it) led to a few traumatising years of bullying at school. Things did get better eventually by the time I had reached High School when I had mastered the art of making my hair less “obvious”. Other underlying problems such as the majority of women in my family being weight-loss obsessed led me to feel extremely awkward in my own body. I never truly felt at ease with myself until I met my future husband. Fast forward on cue to the few months leading to our wedding and a budding photographer friend of mine offers to do a pre-wedding photoshoot so she can practice with her mentor’s professional equipment. 2 days later I get a call from said mentor who wants to use me as a modern Mona Lisa for one of his projects. That’s how I got sucked into modelling. Somehow, I look straight into the camera and it makes me a “natural”. However, being a geek with a professional career in IT consultancy, having been to university in 2 different countries, speaking 2 languages fluently, I find the word “model” ugly… “Why? It’s not as if beauty was a curse?”, you may ask. Well, simply because it feels as if by being a model, I would only be defined by my looks. When people talk about Claudia Schiffer, do they mention her (potentially) sparkling personality first? I don’t know what kind of person she is, but somehow people tend to think that as long as you are that beautiful, you just cannot be a b*tch… Wrong, wrong, wrong! Anyone remember Naomi Campbell’s mobile phone tantrums? Some people are somehow held on a pedestal just because they were born that good looking and happen to have gazillions of lights, make-up artists, hairdressers and photographers whose sole purpose is to actually make them look good (believe me). It seems nowadays that society has become so image obsessed that the actual underlying core values and beliefs that make us “individuals” have disappeared or plainly ignored. When you hear that most teenage girls nowadays have an eating disorder, are considering surgery, have hang-ups about their bodies, think they have to have fake boobs like those seen in a porno movie to be considered attractive and, worst of all, that 2 thirds of them aspire to be a glamour model, it sends a chill down your spine… What kind of message are the media sending to those girls? That the only aspiration they may have in life is just to be pretty? If you do not look like a page 3 girl, no one will even respect you? How do you get to the point where at 14, you are convinced that the only career you might have will require you to go for multiple boob surgeries, high maintenance make-up/hair/nails and as much fakery as humanly possible just for at most 10 years in that career? Let’s face it: surgery can make you look younger for longer but there comes a time when your skin cannot take it anymore. The best cure is to accept what you look like and make the most of it in the longer term. I aspire to look more like Sophia Loren when I grow old than Pamela Anderson. The whole “You have to be that size, that body shape, that blonde to be even considered worthy of attention” kind of reminds me of the “Sit down, shut up, be pretty and someday you might find yourself a nice enough husband who will take care of you”. It seems like society is erasing all the hard work done by previous generations of women that enabled us to have the freedom to do whatever we wanted with our lives. Going back to teenage girls, the new “ideal” image they get bombarded with must make life hell for them. It was hard enough for me growing up as an awkward teenager and I was a scrawny size 8. I had boys yelling “I’d rather do a goat than doing you even if we were on a deserted island” at me. I guess nowadays, girls must get “Your boobs are saggy, your fanny is sideways, your roots are not dyed and your skin isn’t fake tanned enough”. All of this leads me to the title of this blog. I have learned over the years not to trust, nor hang around the (skin-deep) beautiful people… You can guess I was never allowed into their Parthenon anyway. I sought the company of more mature individuals and tried to find true heroes I could model myself after out there, since it seemed I would never win on the beauty front. I would always make a point to admire someone famous for their achievement in life rather than the lucky draw they got out of the genetic lottery. I was bringing back the rules of what makes a model, more precisely a role model. This gives this blog its title. I will try to describe a new role model each week. The role model in question can be famous but I will also include more down to earth people I only know and admire for their achievements or courage. I might also probably include rants about the “hell” model (people who the media bombards us with, the fake idols if I may say so) and my reactions to the news or other everyday life happenings for as long as they are relevant to this blog. I will try to keep the classical case of narcissism that comes from having your own blog away. After all, this is not about “me” the model, but about the people I admire and get my inspiration from to maybe, one day, become a role model myself.



Health


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