Monday, December 12, 2016

What Does the Book Cover Matter?

Wow, was I in a horrible mood on Sunday night or what? My last post was some crazy whining. Must have been all those wilderness roughing it shows I was watching warping my mind.

This morning when I was working on NLQ one of the things I saw that just made me laugh my ass off were the claims of a set of sisters that they'd given up a potential big modeling career tract to have a ministry instead.

I didn't even bother to dissect their lies about these 'careers' before posting it at NLQ. It's a topic I do have a tiny bit of knowledge about, at least as it applied to South Louisiana in the late 70s and early 80s.  No, I'm not blonde, blue-eyed or as supposedly 'hawt' as they were claiming to be. Funny, those aren't always the requirement to 'model'.

Back in my starving student days I did a number of things I didn't like much to pay the bills. One of those things was working as a 'model' - sort of a catch all phrase for working on a few television commercials for local merchants, modeling hair styles at a hair competition, giving out samples at trade shows in skimpy clothing, modeling for trunk shows at Godchaux a couple of times, lingerie photos (don't ask) and as a model for art classes at my university when money was tight.

I hated it. I felt like a piece of meat most of those times and I fended off some rather inappropriate offers even if I was pretty much an agnostic at that point in my life. I could have had a fabulous career hooking through my contacts in those days, unfortunately I still had to get up and look myself in the mirror in the morning so I said no to the offers. Same to posing nude or doing anything remotely like porn.

It wasn't easy, there were times when it was hard, took hours and was grueling. There wasn't much that felt very glamorous from where I stood.

I was pretty much a failure at it, or liking it, or seeing it as some sort of 'career' path like this twosome did. It was a means to an end only. I knew I had to stop and find some other way to make moolah once my agent submitted me for the Playboy tryouts when they came through town. It was the most cringe worthy photos and interview I'd done up until that point. I came away from my short experience with a book filled with a number of photos of myself.

The reason I did it was the same reasons I waited tables, wrote for the local tourist guides placed in the hotel rooms, bar tended for private events, the list goes on.... because it was a choice between eating, paying tuition and paying rent. I did what I needed to do.

Most young women that try their hand at this not so easy profession likely do it because they have to eat or pay rent and very very few are what anyone would consider financially successful at it. Only a handful are successful at it and last any length of time. I laughed at the claims of these two, thinking about how when you live in that protected careful Evangelical bubble you can make all sorts of wild claims and no one has enough experience of the outside world to call bullshit on you when you conflate the truth.

My husband knows all of this. He's seen the photos and he's heard me speak about this a lot through the years, even if its nothing I'm particularly proud of. He's been with me a few times when someone asked if I was the girl in the Halloran's or city salon television ad. That is the part that makes me laugh about these sisters claims, this is one of those things I'm pretty ashamed of doing because it impacted my psyche so negatively and they're bragging about it.

Raising my daughter I've been careful to try and guide her away from activities, like cheerleading, pageants, some types of dance classes, that teach the unspoken lesson that what you look like is the most important metric ever. Truthfully it's possibly one of the least important things about a person. Looks don't matter much in the long run. People age, beauty is fleeting and subjective. It's not what the container looks like, it's what is inside. Too bad those sisters still haven't learned that lesson.

No comments: