So there’s currently a thread on one of the modeling sites where the OP rants about crappy portfolios and real models. To paraphrase:
I get that there’s all different kinds of modeling, but not everyone can do it! So why does everyone have a profile here?! People with myspace pics, and all these amateur “adult” models… there’s so much horrible stuff, and it all really jades me, even though I know there’s a lot of talent here. I just wish the moderators were more selective with who they allowed here. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but… damn! Just my opinion!
Initially, I hadn’t planned on responding to her. I spent some time on that very site as a person who voluntarily approved profiles. I saw what came through, what was approved, and what was denied. Believe you me, I got it. But I also get that not everyone starts with professional pics–something a lot of “jaded” folk don’t think about. But then, she goes on to say that, in her opinion, a model is (again, paraphrasing):
… proportionate, takes care of themselves externally, and represents themselves well. A model is someone who believes that what they are doing is art, and they are passionate about it–they’re not just doing it for the fame, money, or attention. A model is someone who has some knowledge about the fashion industry, and is able to note at least 10 top models off the top of their head. A real model makes it their life.
Her list of what makes a real model, on top of her rant opinion about the crap on this particular modeling site that anyone can join, really got to me. Why? Because not only do I not know much about fashion, but I can’t name 10 supermodels (let alone 10 designers). Even now. Fashion just isn’t the genre I’m in, so I don’t spend much time studying it. But more importantly, I was, at one point, one of those girls who didn’t think she’d amount to anything, yet applied for an account at a modeling site anyway. At the time, I had no job, and nothing to lose by applying for a free site. I didn’t know a thing, other than the fact that I was pretty sure I was 6″ too short, too old, and too heavy. So what did I do? I took 5 snapshots–2 I took myself, 2 my husband took, and 1 shot where I’d cropped out 4 friends from a bar–and I applied to a modeling site. And got in.
And then I started researching, learning, and just absorbing everything I possibly could, all while shooting. I worked with good folks, bad folks, and grew both as a model, and as a woman (ZOMG, cheeseballs, I know). I learned a shitton about modeling in general, but also about myself. I’ve studied resources, other models, photographers, MUAs, and all sorts of stuff, while applying my past knowledge of cheerleading, dance, marketing, art, business, and other random stuff (including that sense of “fashion” that everyone’s always thought… odd). I’ve grown, over the past nearly-4 years, into one hell of a model (this is rare, I hardly ever toot my own horn). And not only do I know what I’m doing in front of the camera, I’m well-known in my local community, I’ve landed a few awesome gigs for a 5’3″, 118lb hobbyist who works a full-time job, and I’ve met (and worked with) some extremely talented people.
Yet here’s this little nobody telling me, “oh, but I don’t mean you, I mean the wannabes who sign up with cameraphone myspace pics… you’re clearly a real model.” Really? So I suddenly just woke up one day with this knowledge of how to pose, how to emote, and how the Internet modeling world works? And this awesome list of contacts and connections, as well as a decent list of accomplishments, just poofed into existence while I was dreaming of unicorns and fucking rainbows?!
NO. It doesn’t work that way.
Attitudes like this chick’s are the reason I keep my modeling as on the DL as possible. I don’t want my friends or family thinking that because I model, I’m turning into some elitist know-it-all who preaches “this is the only way to do things because I say so” with every breath.
Attitudes like hers are also the reason that people like me are initially intimidated and afraid to even dip a toe into the ocean that modeling is. Thankfully, many of us suck it up and ignore people like her… because some of the best people I’ve met are, by her definition, not “real models”. Yet they’re nice, creative, fun, and wonderful to be around (in fact, I’ve become friends with many of them). In fact, I’d like to see her work next to some of the insanely talented models she looks down upon, simply because they can’t name 10 top models or don’t live and breath fashion.
Fuck that shitty attitude. I’ll do what I want, and as long as I’m finding work and enjoying what I’m doing, I’ll continue to do it, whether or not people like her feel I’m a “real model” or not.
Attitudes like hers only serve to bring the people who have them down. Either because they’re so closed-minded their brain ends up imploding ’cause they can’t handle it when something real contradicts what they believe, or because they try to shove both feet so far into their mouths that they end up giving themselves a painful bowel obstruction. Very rarely are their minds changed. At this point, hers hasn’t been.