Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a model? Instead of boring you with a long story, I will be as brief as I CAN.
I have modeled clothes for designers and done that fake (I am too sexy for my shoes) deal: Knollwood Mall in the ’80s. So, it wasn’t Fashion Week in New York… It was still fun to walk the runway with a guy that had to wear a Boy Scout outfit to match my Girl Scout outfit. Why? Because I—at the time—had a huge crush on him.
Since he is from a very public family, and I don’t have time to get his consent—and go through lawyers—I will call him Mr. Green Eyes. 🙂
Mr. Green Eyes and I had a lot of fun getting paired up in fashion shows because you really get to know someone when you are given ONE room in which to change—no privacy—and two seconds to take off your clothes and put on the outfit that was selected for you by the CLIENT and approved by your AGENT. Those moments started out fun, but then they just became awkward, tainted with jealousy.
After that, I had to take a breather. But who wouldn’t take $250 to spend 30 minutes having their picture taken in Pink PJ’s for the TARGET circular?
That, too, was fun… until a bunch of my high school friends thought it would be cute to copy that ad and post it all over Orono High School. That Monday—which I refer to as Pink Monday from Hell—I thought had taught me a lesson. But, nope; being Me, I had to keep going.
After playing a Fruit of the Loom Grape at 3 a.m. on a home shopping channel to an audience of 12 people, it was really starting to get to me and make me realize this whole modeling world was NOT for ME.
There were a few stand out experiences, of course — like the time that I got booked for a national ad for DAYTON’S. Yep. I got the call from my agent at Eleanor Moore; they wanted ME to be the bride for a national print ad.
I showed up to the shoot, which happened to be at Temple Israel, and—what a surprise—I was booked as the Jewish Bride, and my Jewish Husband was an Italian guy named Tony.
The whole experience was just wrong. First, I was in make-up and hair for three hours, and when I looked in the mirror afterward, I didn’t look that different. Then came the Wedding Dress. I sucked in my stomach so hard that my ribs were bruised by the dress. And finally, as I was standing at the alter with Tony (my fake Jewish husband), the director told me to lean in and kiss him for TWO HOURS STRAIGHT.
That was it. I was a married woman getting paid $$$$$ to kiss (more like make-out with) and "be in love with" a fake Jewish guy (a stranger, at that) in the very same synagogue in which I had married my real husband. This whole picture was wrong, wrong, and wrong.
As usual, I was nice and took direction—except for having to stop and ask the wardrobe stylist for water and mints, which made the big-time New York photographer accuse me of being a prima donna. My fake husband didn’t say a word, and… you do the math—two hours of kissing and hugging with no water. Let’s just say that I can’t be the one accused of bad breath and sweat. :O##
Well, that was it. I broke my vows to my real husband for $$$$. I felt terrible. The worst part was going out to dinner that night with a bunch of friends, trying to forget the whole day, until—you guessed it—my fake Jewish husband showed up at the SAME restaurant with his girlfriend. Talk about uncomfortable!
"Howard, meet Tony, my fake husband"
"Melinda, meet xxxxxx, my girlfriend."
Yep. That was fun—also a night that made me realize that modeling was NOT my future career… again.
Which brings me to this last weekend, when I went back down that uncomfortable path by participating in a fashion show. I had only one reason for getting up in front of strangers in clothes that were (how shall I put this) not picked out for my body type and strutting my stuff on stage. It was worth it for one reason and one reason only: Hope Chest and Barbera Hensley. (That sounds like two reasons, but it’s really not. Barbara founded Hope Chest in 2002, after losing her oldest sister to breast cancer.)
FYI: The highlight of the show was modeling along side Grandma B (the Cutie Pie Mom of JEROME BENTON AND TERRY LEWIS) and having a lot of money raised for the Dear and Lovely Barbara Hensley & her Hope Chest for Breast Cancer.
The low part was being told by the "professional" MODEL that my tags were hanging out — to which I responded by saying, "Thank you. I am not a pro, so I appreciate your help." Of course, I wasn’t too crazy about having to show my spandex to let all the woman know that I, too, have flaws; but the cream cheese and bagel breakfast gave me no choice. It was spandex or popped buttons. 🙂