I hate admitting to people that I model. Instantly, the impression that they may have of you in the short or long period of time that they’ve known you changes. They avoid your gaze, start looking at your face and body with the eyes of a critic, and suddenly believe that your IQ has gone down at least thirty points. Obviously, because my work requires me to look attractive, my brain is incapable of maintaining any sort of significance in conversation that is both intellectual and beyond the latest trending colors for skirts in the Fall of 2016. You get questions about your pay, your thoughts on your towering height, and of course, “Are you allowed to eat?” The above are all excerpts from conversations I’ve had with various people over the course of my years in the fashion industry.
I’ve never been a fan of modeling, if I’m being completely honest. The majority of the jobs you get involve working with directors that run on little to no sleep, frustrated photographers, and model peers that have a personality to match the plastic makeup that is put on our faces. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not separating myself from them. Within the sphere of modeling, there is always an extent of artificiality that you have to build up around yourself. Though the public may believe that modeling is all about selling the pretty face, we are actually in charge of selling the product we are displaying; hence the concept of being a mannequin. In the end, the market is not buying us, it is buying the clothing, makeup, or even haircolor that we are hired to lure the public into appreciating. We are in charge of creating a fantasy: “What would your life be like if your hair was aqua blue?” “If you wore these leggings, would Bryan see you the way all these people are seeing that model?” That is what we want you to believe. That is the impression we want to give. And for the most part, people buy into it all; the fantasy and everything that comes with it.
The majority of a model’s time is spent in a chair, having your face made up in a hundred different ways before a stylist settles on one in particular. We are used for the pursuit of beauty, and it’s at the model’s expense more often than not.
I’ve modeled since I was seven years old. No, I do not want to pursue it as a career.
Why do I continue? To pay for college, build my savings fund, carve out a future for myself. I don’t have aspirations to be a human Barbie doll for the rest of my life. My goal is not to stand still and look pretty until I am deemed too old to sell “vintage-esque” scarves. Not all of us are as foolish as we look. The world is a lot bigger than the trends that are sold by the corporate fashion industry, and reality is a lot more beautiful than shaped plastic.
Poulson is a contributor for The Millennial Times.