Happy August everyone! I am writing a story about a woman navigating her way through the modeling industry. Mai Jenkins just moved to New York City from small town Venolia, Texas, and is ready to hit the runway. She doesn’t anticipate running into complications on the way, making her adjustment a lot more difficult than she thought. Mai expects lavish clothing, limos, thousands of dollars in her bank account, and her face on a billboard. Instead, what she receives is a dinghy apartment with four other girls and barely enough jobs to pay her expensive rent. In other words, a pretty crappy lifestyle. There is a lot of research going into this because I don’t know anything about modeling. That’s the beauty of being a writer, you get to create a fascinating story while also learning something new. Now I can share it with everyone. There are many things I learned that shocked me as well. I think we all have a very manipulated view about models. In this blog, I am specifically referring to signed fashion models.
The world of modeling is a complex place with no guarantees and a lot of uncertainty. It’s like you are constantly free-falling through the air, momentarily catching a cloud to rest on until you drop right through. Despite this, the glamour continues to bring young women into the industry. It’s not easy at all, and this is coming from someone who has no experience in that life. I couldn’t walk even a few feet in their heels. What I discovered was more than a bunch of pretty girls walking down a runway. I read about women who just like everyone else, worked hard to make their dreams come true. It’s not as simple as standing in front of a camera. Every struggle is a struggle.
Models spend a lot of their days going to casting calls and doing photo shoots. Some models are lucky enough to fly to different states and countries for photo shoots or runways. These casting calls are not paid and can last for several hours. A model will walk for the judges and give them their portfolios which consist of head shots and other photos they have. The judges are usually composed of the fashion designer, a make-up artist, and the photographer. If the judges choose them for a show, they move on to the fitting. This can go up to several hours as well and they still do not pay them. However, even if a model moves on to the fitting, she still may not be chosen for the show. This may contribute to the reason why they are not compensated for that time. During a fitting, the models try on the garments and practice walking in them for the designer to inspect. Fun fact, the models must find their own way to fittings, something Mai did not know (neither did I). I thought whoever managed the fittings and show picked up their models, but no. Some people take buses or walk. It's not that far-fetched to find your own transportation to work. Anyway, once a model passes through the fitting phase, they begin rehearsals for the show.
It was fun watching casting videos and photo shoots for this. I really admire the art of it. The background, the outfits, and mostly, the model’s confidence pouring through the camera lenses. That is something. Their expressions are captured in time, whether they’re in mid-laugh, or glaring at the camera. Every part comes together to make a scene and create a story. It seemed weird at first when I scrolled through pictures. The way the models positioned themselves was awkward to me. After a while, I began to see the beauty of it.