Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Model Behaviour

Given the name of this blog (cue confusion amongst those reading this on my Facebook page), I figured it was about time for a post about modelling. So allow me to walk you through a casting for a hair modelling job with a well known salon.

The first thing I usually feel upon walking through the door at a casting is a wave of envy accompanied by feelings of intense inadequacy (which can be verbalised thusly: "ohmygodthey'reallsobeautifulwhatthehellamIdoingherethey'regoingtolaughinmyface"), and last night was no exception.

My stylist's new model was there already, which added a new dimension to the competition - not only are we all competing for the same job, but we're all jostling for position as top dog with our respective stylists. I'm the incumbent on my patch, having seen off dozens of bright-eyed girls who disappeared after one haircut (lightweights), but I was still reduced to a jealous wreck by how beautiful this girl was. Her make up - flicked black eyeliner, glossy red lips - was clearly professionally applied, which seems to me like cheating, but this business is cut throat. Still, moral victory aside, I suddenly felt woefully inadequate in my flaky mascara and clear lip gloss.

The most irritating thing was, she was inexplicably popular with all the other models and stylists, despite the fact that her personality was totally abhorrent. She was wearing lacy knee socks and a headband for crying out loud, skipping around the salon like Alice in bloody Wonderland, dancing, singing deliberately off-key and being generally obtrusive. If I had any contacts in the criminal underworld I'd have sent out for some Ritalin and dosed the bitch. That's the second thing that struck me - having spent some time away from the scene recently, I'd forgotten just how vapid and self-absorbed most other models are. Great beauty often comes at the expense of some other characteristic, most commonly humility, intelligence or just not being really, really annoying.

Blow dry finished, I was whisked upstairs to join the queue of models all lining up to be judged like prize cattle. My stylist had somehow managed to procure me the number six, despite there being 50-odd people ahead of me, so to the front of the queue I went. "You - get in here" bellowed a female voice, no sooner than I had assumed my position. They don't much go in for niceties round here.

Standing at the far end of the room like a firing squad was a gaggle of the salon directors, including the man we all had to impress, whose official title, I believe, is Divine Master of the Universe. The whole process is designed to throw you off, with someone asking to see your card, someone taking your photo and the Divine Master of the Universe running his fingers through your hair and talking about cutting techniques all at once. I had to stand against a screen and pose for a few pictures holding up my model card like a prisoner number before they attached it to a polaroid (what is it with fashion people and bloody polaroids? No one looks good in them.) and then it was over almost as soon as it had begun, and I was making my way out of the door as the authoritarian voice yelled "NEXT!". Despite all my earlier feelings of inadequacy I left with a little superior glow because they didn't ask to see me strut my stuff down an imaginary catwalk (a horrifically unedifying process), the Divine Master of the Universe airily dismissing the suggestion, saying "we know she can walk". Sometimes it pays to be an old hand.

Of course, the glow didn't last long, and arriving back at my house a couple of hours later I was wracked with doubts. I don't think I opened my mouth in any of the photos. You're supposed to always part your lips slightly, but I have a tendency to purse mine and stare at the camera with what at the time I'm sure is effortlessly cool intensity, but always, always turns out several hours later when I try to recreate the expression at home in the mirror as a perfect representation of "sullen and uncooperative. And possibly constipated".

So for the next few days, maybe weeks, I shall waver between hopefully recalling all the nice things that were said (they always say nice things, they've been trained to smile as they kill) and crippling self doubt, remembering all the things I should have done differently. My fate, as is too often the case, is in the hands of a crack team of award-winning hairdressers. Wish me luck.

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