So you want to be a model?
In this, my very first column for Stardoll, I’d like to introduces myself, and of course, my trusty little sidekick Dexter. Unless you watch America’s Next Top Model, you may have no idea who I am. According to Tyra Bank’s introduction, I am a legendary supermodel. (I’m really glad she says it, so I don’t have to.) Five hundred covers later, I’d like to add that I was a supermodel when your mom was your age. Dexter wants me to tell you I’m also a really good mom.
Now, for Dexter. He is A Cavalier King Charles spaniel, a very popular breed in Europe, and getting better known here in the States every day. He is the size of a pudgy baby, likes to follow me like a shadow and whenever I sit down, he has to cram himself into my lap. His face looks like a seal without ears, and he has a little rusty spot on the top of his head that looks a lot like a thumbprint. Which, in fact, it sort of is.
You see, his breed was the most popular breed in England during King Charles’ reign. He loved his spaniels so much he neglected his government in favor of hunting with his dogs in the day and cuddling them at night. The old castles were awfully drafty and cold, and the little spaniels would surround the master, some sleeping on his feet, some on his lap, and they kept him warm like hot water bottles. One time, the King had to go away to a battle, and he left his favorite dog – a pregnant female – with his wife, the equally pregnant Queen.
The dog kept the Queen’s lap warm all day and night, and as the Queen sat by the window, waiting for her husband’s safe return, she’d pray and gently press her thumb on top of the dog’s head. The King returned safely, and when the puppies were born, each had a little thumbprint on top of their head. So, every Cavalier King Charles Spaniel today that has a thumbprint on their head is a direct descendant of King Charles’ special dog.
If you go to a museum, you will see the Spaniels painted in many of the old paintings with their ladies or masters. In a way, they were the world’s first supermodels. And just like supermodels, when people tired of their looks, they replaced them with something new and different: in that particular case, it was pugs.
Fortunately, it was not a pug that replaced me in the Estee Lauder campaign; instead, it was Elisabeth Hurley, who’s certainly no dog. My extremely successful modeling career was over by the time most people are just getting a career. But I had already been working for nearly 15 years. I started modeling at fifteen, in Paris. My best girlfriend, Christine Nilsson, was fascinated by fashion magazines, and she dreamt of being a fashion photographer. She used me as her model from the time we were twelve.
She’d stick me in her mom’s clothes, load my face with make up, and then photograph me with her Kodak instamatic camera. My favorite was a set up in which I wore a ton of black eye shadow and clasped the bars of our apartment building staircase, to make it look like I was in jail. Well, jail by the way of French Vogue. She sent those photos to a talent scout who advertised a modeling school in our town to enquire about her skills as a photographer, and the agent contacted me instead. Three months later, my summer job was modeling in Paris.
I wrote a novel, A MODEL Summer, based on my initial impressions of the fashion world. I used everything I had seen and learned to illustrate the story of a fifteen year old Jirina. I chose not to make it about me, because I wanted to show more than just my experience. Dexter would like me to add that it took me five years to write it, in which he got a bit fat from sleeping on my lap. He’s currently on a diet and not at all happy about it.
If you are one of the many girls so intrigued by the world of modeling, you may want to read a copy of my book before deciding on modeling as a career. For those of you who are absolutely determined to become models no matter what, here’s how you go about it. You get your girlfriend to take photos of you. Wear little or no make up and clean hair. Take a photo of your face close up, in profile, and don’t forget to take one full figure, preferably in a bathing suit or a bikini. Have them printed out. Look for a reputable modeling agency. How do you know it’s reputable? By checking the models: if you have seen them in magazines, the agency is OK. Then you make your package. You need to write up a resume of your age, height, all your measurements, and even your skills and hobbies, which you will send along with your photos. You want to choose 3-5 agencies to send to. Don’t forget to include your contact information.
And then, wait. If they like what they see, the WILL contact you. No one wants to pass up on the next big girl. If they do NOT contact you, you can call to make sure they received and opened your package, but most likely, they didn’t find you right for their agency. You can’t all be models, girls. And that’s a good thing. We also need some female doctors, rocket scientist, computer nerds, moms, and presidents.( Dexter is adding dog-walkers to that list.) And because the models career is so short lived and entirely dependent on the way you look in a photo, you don’t get to develop your talents, stretch your brain muscle, and do some good in the world.
So, if you need to be a model, good luck: you’ll need it!
And if you choose one of the millions of other ways to contribute to the world, bravo: you’re needed!
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