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Even Though I Was Told Not To: An Introduction

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Modeling Is Weird

May 4, 2018

My feet are still recovering.

 

It has been almost a week since my last gig, and they are still haunted by the specter of those white, open-toed, three-inch Sam Edelman platform heels. This isn’t usually the case, as I’m not the type of person who goes traipsing around in lofty shoes, either personally or professionally.

 

When you hear the word “model,” you immediately think of Vogue, Victoria’s Secret, Cindy Crawford, or perhaps small trains if you’re a ferroequinologist who stumbled across this blog by mistake and hasn’t quite gotten the gist of where I’m going yet. But what I sometimes do is what is called “lifestyle modeling.” Allow me to break down the difference between this and the better-known type of modeling.

 

To be a runway, aka “typical,” model, you generally must:

  1. Have either a super-androgynous or super-beautiful face. No in-betweens, really.

  2. Have legs longer than Trump’s history with Russia.

  3. Overall, have a somewhat dubious BMI.

  4. Be able to look very at home in clothes that cost the equivalent of a black-market organ.

  5. Regardless of whether those clothes are a ballgown, weird-culottes-because-they’re-back-in-season, or underwear.

  6. Be able to do the “runway” walk (don’t worry, I’ll break it down for you later).

  7. Be able to look effortlessly cool whilst in weird poses like, say, semaphoring with your arms, but holding two cans of whipped cream instead of flags, while your legs are in the “Eagle” yoga pose position.

 

To be a lifestyle model, you must:

  1. Look very pleasant and unthreatening.

  2. Be able to express varying degrees of excitement (from mild content to pure ecstasy) about things like toasters, sewing patterns, paper towel, and dog food.

 

To be a lifestyle model, you don’t need the type of face that competes with an Oscar de la Renta dress. Hell, for a recent job, my face was obscured by a freezer door in a grocery store, as I pretended to closely examine the same Lean Cuisine over and over so the camera could get that sweet shot of the bag on my hip.

But somehow, last week, I fell down a rabbit hole and into the sort of “runway-adjacent” job that made me feel very Jane Goodall-at-the-Sports-Illustrated-shoot. I showed up at the casting because a) my agency sent me and b) I was hoping to snag a free haircut (my hair grows like Harry Potter’s and there’s almost nothing I hate more than paying $40+ to get my split ends fixed every other month). I thought I would show up, drop off my comp card, and leave. And then I heard:

 

“Okay, now we’re going to need to see your runway walk.”

 

Me:

 

It quickly became clear the creative director wasn’t joking, as girls started to form two lines facing each other and, in pairs, turn in and strut down the center. I was clueless. I saw Zoolander once, a long time ago, and I didn’t even like it. I had a vague idea of what a good runway walk looked like, but no idea how to achieve it. So I improvised, which, apparently, worked. (Or wasn’t a vehement deal-breaker.) On the heels (heh heh) of this sterling success, I present to you my Runway Walk Tutorial. It is very simple.

 

  1. You have to walk like you’re asking for sex ONLY WITH YOUR HIPS. Not your face. Your face isn't asking for sex. Your face is so bored. Your face is in charge of sifting through chemical patent applications while Bob Saget reads only the landscape descriptions from Cold Mountain. 

  2. Walk with one foot almost exactly in front of the other, like you’re doing the drunk-test walk-a-straight-line, but with attitude. Like you might take this police officer home or throw the Breathalyzer in his face; who knows?!

 

YOU’RE WELCOME.

 

So the day(s) of the show came, and was it fun? Absolutely. I met lovely people (including my new go-to hairstylist), got a free haircut (yessss), and pretended to be a much shorter Karlie Kloss for a day.

 

I know what you're thinking: YES I had my period and YES I would like a medal.

 

But I also:

  • Was told the first costume I tried on wasn’t a good option because my arms look so “strong”

  • Saw girl eating rice cakes at 9 o’clock in the morning

  • Listened to a “heroin overdose in the bathroom” joke

  • Watched a twenty-year-old kid who looked like the love child of Justin Bieber and Liam Hemsworth bemoan his non-existent “beer gut,” then later put his hand on my ass during a photo

  • Had someone tell me that their friend “got like, a really cute haircut, but it makes her look like 25 or 26; like she looks like my mom”

  • Barely restrained myself from committing homicide on the spot.

 

On the balance? I think I’ll stick to the freezer section, thanks.

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© 2019 by Emma Paige Baker