14 June, 2008

an old essay i wrote about modeling...

As a child, my passion was art. I loved the filthiness of paint, the physicality of sculpture, the irony of collage and the vibrancy of crayons and pastels. I dreamed of my future Victorian house with a solarium to use as an art studio, where I could work on paintings while my children slept. I don’t remember when my love of art began to recede and my love of other, more cerebral pursuits set in. Maybe it was when I realized I have no talent for art. I think that was in the eighth grade.

Fast forward six years. I had just been laid off from my cushy job as a research assistant when the program I had worked for lost funding. School started in less than a week, and there were groceries to buy and books to sell my soul for. That day, my roommate came home and told me that she had found the perfect employment.

“I’m a model for the Art Department!” She squealed. Sizing her up objectively, I conceded she was perfect for such a job. Blond, pert, thin, with big blue eyes, she is gorgeous, and she craves attention like I crave caffeine-free diet coke. I listened with one ear as she sang her new employment’s praises. Good money, flexible hours, nice people, and so on. As I was about to excuse myself to work on my Burger Supreme application, she shocked me by saying:

“You know, the woman that interviewed me told me that they’re looking for people who are darker and more, you know … athletically built.” She handed me a slip of paper with the Model Coordinator’s number.

Athletically built is one of the kinder euphemisms for “not skinny.” The thought of donning a bathing suit for any amount of money made me wince. But desperation being the mother of most of my decisions, I was at her office the next day.

After a brief interview and a Polaroid, I was hired. Praise Providence for BYU’s comparative lack of diversity, I thought to myself. Even a dark-haired passer can make it in this town. I celebrated my good luck by bikini shopping.

Don’t tell others about this job, the packet for new models read. Don’t forget to eat before class, don’t walk around barefoot, don’t talk to the students and for heaven’s sake, don’t fraternize with the boys! Armed with my instructions and my “uniform” (a black string two-piece, courtesy of Target), I nervously logged in for my first appointment: VASTU 348. Figure sculpting

Sweet mercy, I’m nervous. My nervousness compounded when I couldn’t find the room I was assigned to. Upon asking directions, I learned that I was in fact inside the room at the time. There just wasn’t a room number posted. Nice.

“Are you in this class?” A young man asked.

“No. Not exactly.”

“Oh, are you hoping to add?” Asked his identical twin brother. Don’t talk to the students. But what was I supposed to do? There went rule number four, never to be heard of again.

“No, I’m the model.” My troubles multiplied with each student that entered the room. Each wanted to know my name, my major, how long I had been modeling. When I told them it was first time, one girl asked if I was nervous.

“Nope.” It’s a good thing Don’t lie to the students wasn’t on there.

My first day of modeling went off without a hitch, and a few weeks later I returned. I took the shift over for my aforementioned roommate, and when I arrived the professor informed me that this gig would be for the rest of the semester, if I didn’t mind. Heck no.

We chose a simple standing pose, and I tenuously balanced myself on the wheeled platform. I fainted about five minutes later.

Don’t forget to eat before class. Whoops.

And I had broken every rule, except for Don’t tell anyone about this job. That one I have down. I …

Uh-oh.

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