Monday, September 15, 2008

A Model of Deportment

It's been Fashion Week in New York, and I'm seeing lots of very tall, very thin young women around town. I can tell the working models because they're not wearing any makeup and tend to have long hair, which is more versatile, and blank expressions, which tend to render them nearly featureless and far more suitable for the creation of makeup looks.

My own modeling adventures were limited by my relative lack of height, my relative curviness (I have an hourglass shape, and breasts are only useful for lingerie), my high-contrast looks, and my general lack of interest in being the object rather than the subject.

I don't know if they still do, but at one time Ford Models had a giant yardstick in their reception area. If you didn't reach 5'7", you didn't get an appointment. Yes, you must be that tall to go on that ride. A booker at Wilhelmina complimented me on my look and my outfit (which as I recall involved black linen and ankle-tied wedge espadrilles) and told me I needed more photos in my portfolio.

One agency that evinced real interest was My Fair Lady, which had offices on the ground floor of a brownstone on East 84th Street. I was interviewed by a man named Buddy Jacobson, who told me I had a great "junior" look (he was wrong, incidentally: I was just on the short side for a model, but would have never made it to the cover of Seventeen; ultimately, I wound up writing for them instead). Not long after that, Jacobson was charged with the murder of his ex-girlfriend's new lover, in that same building, and a shiver went up my spine.

Still, I managed to get bits and pieces of work: a jeans ad, some lingerie, some hand modeling, a bunch of club-based runway shows. And, of course, Playboy, which involved not only a four-day shoot over a Memorial Day weekend in LA, but also two test shoots, one outdoors on the beach in front of Peter Beard's house in Montauk (not a good choice for me; my bluish skin tone doesn't show at its best outdoors) and one in a bachelor pad in Manhattan.

The camera likes me, and I like it, but I'm glad there wasn't much to my modeling career; it's really hard for me to stare off into space and think about nothing.

(Models at Calvin Klein last week; photo by Lucas Johnson/Reuters.)

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