Monday, March 26, 2007

The Pervert Photographer Rears His Ugly Head

I have to admit that after hearing countless horror stories from other models about lecherous photographers asking them to shoot in compromising positions (such as using the loo and other such nasty nonesense) I got away from it all pretty much unscathed. I did have one incidence while in Milan this particular season that left me feeling like I needed to take a really long scaldingly hot shower complete with a Lysol scrub down.

Patty at the agency called me to tell me that a very well-known Milanese photographer had seen my comp card and wanted to shoot me for an art exhibit that was being held in his honor. This photographer had shot Iman, Naomi Campbell, Linda, Christy, et. al. So to say that I felt honored to be chosen by him for this project is an understatement. Patty was excited too since I was the only girl at the agency that he'd picked and, well, it was just shits and giggles all around.

The day of the shoot I met with the photographer (who from here on out I will simply call "P" as his name started with that letter & I'll give him the courtesy of allowing him his anonymity) at his studio and he showed me his book which was, indeed, full of every supermodel that ever graced the fashion world. After his ego session he described the concept of the shoot we'd be doing and showed me the wardrobe, which was practically non-existant. Then he tells me that he will be doing my hair and make-up as well at which point I am feeling a little apprehensive since I am going to be wearing just enough to cover my naughty bits....although it was couture and obviously very expensive naughty bit coverage. Because of this P insists that he has to dress me. And I don't mean that in a styling kind of way. He insisted that he had to literally put the clothes on me....after shining up my entire body with oil..."so zat yew weel glowing like goddess". WTF? Hells no, my friends.

P must have noticed the look on my face and as if to make me feel better told me that he only liked boys. Bullshit. The man was leering as he was telling me his plans for the shoot. If he liked boys then I definitely must have developed a prostate overnight. Being in the presence of one so high and mighty in the Industry I was having a major dilemma. I didn't want to offend him and burn any bridges, but I also did not want to let down my guard and do something totally against my nature. I finally consented to letting him dress me but I insisted on leaving on my undergarments which I then removed myself from under the clothes (like I posted before, this is a skill you quickly acquire when you start modeling and have to change in the middle of a busy beach, piazza, or even Times Square for a shoot). I let him put the body sheen lotion on my legs & arms, but I took over for everywhere else professing a terrible ticklish nature.

The shoot went well. I still felt like I was in a lair with the Big Bad Wolf, tongue hanging and spittle dropping, but I did my job and got the hell out of there with my dignity intact alebeit a little shaken. I got great pictures out of that day, true. But who knows, I may be famous now if I had let him do with me as he pleased. I have met many girls who have lost huge campaigns because they would't let the client or photographer bed them. The casting couch truly does exist my friends, which is why I am happy to have kept my status as a middle model. Amen. Feeling kinda righteous.....LOL!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Models Gone Wild, Part I

I have volumes of pictures of my friends and I in obvious states of inebration causing mayhem in every possible corner of the great city of Milan. We lived in a state of perpetual Spring Break and I plan on sharing these moments with you by way of several pictorials. Here is the first installation, dedicated to the C-9 Killahs:

A typical walk back from Louisiana on a Wednesday night.

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Mike and Isaak getting it on with the next hottest Victoria's Secret Model.

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Mikey, Jackie, me, and Isaak sitting on the filth covered floor at the entrance to Hollywood.

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Timmy And Mikey.....awwwwww!

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Mike is obviously on top of the world (or a bus stop).

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hamburger Panini, How I Love Thee

I was just having an intense flashback (for no apparent reason) to the panini cart outside of Hollywood in Milan. I don't know if if was the ridiculously high alchohol content of my blood which affected my tastebuds, but I swear to you they had the best, most outrageously greasy "hambooorrrger" panini on earth. Once my friends and I discovered them, they became de rigeur after a night of libations and dancing. "Un hamburger panino per favore!" Lovely. Between the panini and my complete and utter addiction to gelato (nocciola hands down) it is a miracle that I didn't have to get an angioplasty after season ended.

I won't get started on gelato.....suffice it to say that I partook of it's heavenliness a minimum of twice a day. Gelaterias are to Italy as Starbucks are to any other major city...they are EVERYWHERE and I found it impossible to deny myself its decadence. Unfortunately, no 12 step programs for gelato addicts were to be found, so my rampage didn't end until I left the country. Mangia!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Day My Client Offered Me Drugs

Everybody loves to talk about how the modeling world is rife with drug abuse, models collapsing on set from heroin overdoses or looped out of their minds on coke. Photographers are purported to offer 14 year old models lines of blow left & right. Sad scene, right? And the media can't get enough of stories like this. Well, allow me the opportunity to disappoint you.....In all my years of modeling I never experienced anything like that. Drugs at clubs and parties...yes, that happened and I saw it all the time. But never on set. Well...except for that one job in Milan.....

I had been booked for a shoe and hosiery catalog off of a polaroid my booker took of my legs. Two days after she emailed my polaroids over to the client I was on a train out of town to shoot the catalog. I passed the time text messaging all of my friends and listening to a Cafe Del Mar CD on my headphones while the couple in the seat in front of mine (which faced me, mind you) made out to the point of practically procreating before my very eyes. When I got to the town the shoot was taking place in, it was late at night and I was taken to my hotel by a photographer's assistant. I checked in, went up to my room, took a shower and crashed out. Or at least tried to. The hotel was clean yet spartan, no problem issue was that the pillow was so enormously overstuffed and rock solid that a block of granite would have made a softer place on which to lay my head.

The next morning I woke up to an intense and practically paralyzing pain in my neck and shoulders. I could barely turn my head or look down. This was going to pose a problem. Trying to be a good & professional model when you feel like someone has taken a sledgehammer to your neck & shoulders is quite the feat. I met the client and photographer's team in the lobby and we piled into a couple of vans and were off to location. I didn't mention the pain to anyone and pretty much just grinned and bore it. I tend to be like that. I don't like to let on that I am uncomfortable or unwell while working which I know is stupid, but it is what it is. After the first few shots I began to sweat from the pain. It was the kind of pulled muscle pain that extends all the way to your fingertips and with the poses the client was asking for I was startng to freak out. But I gritted my teeth and went on.

After lunch I just could not take it anymore and I told the client that I was dying of pain, (it really had progressed over the course of the morning), and I was sorry if I seemed out of sorts. He was extremely sweet and concerned and immediately told me that he had a friend the next town over who could offer me drugs to make me feel better and be able to finish off the day of shooting. Hmmmm. Drugs. After a brief phonecall to this friend we headed to a meeting place and soon after, said pharmaceutical purveyor shows up. Here I was, for the first time ever, being offered drugs on a photoshoot.

And I was more than happy to accept and take the.......MUSCLE RELAXERS! Ha!!!!! So, there it is. Scandal of all scandals. My photographer's friend was a pharmacist and had brought some muscle relaxers to ease my pain. Nothing illicit or creepy by any stretch of the imagination. The sharp, stabbing pain turned into a dull ache after I took the pills and I finished off my job without any furthur complications. I got on a train that evening and went back to Milan where I buried my face into my very own, lovely pillow.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Rockin' The Short Hair in Milan

I hated having short hair, but it seemed to work well for me so I kept it for as long as I could stand it. Now my hair is almost halfway down my back and I wouldn't crop it for the world (well, maybe for a really high paying job I would!!). Milan has a ridiculous amount of hair clients though, so short hair was a plus for me. Most of the models had long locks and wouldn't even go to hair castings for fear of getting shorn, this cutting my competition down by quite a bit.

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Most of the time things went well and I didn't end up with anything too radical done to my coif, although one job I did for Toni & Guy left me in tears and wearing a bandana anytime I went out or on castings for the rest of the season. The slightest shift in wind would leave my butchered hair looking like it belonged on someone driving an Aerostar and wearing mom jeans.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I'm A F*****G Model!!!!!!

Most tenderfoot models, no matter what market they are in, fall prey to the myth that in order to get into the VIP of a hot nightclub they need to show a comp card to prove that they are models. In every country that I have worked in, I have heard this same thing, and my first season in Taipei my hotel mates and I all took a copy of our comps to @live which produced severe giggles from the bouncer as he ushered us in. How embarrasing. Needless to say, I never took a comp out with me again.

So, DO NOT need a comp card to prove that you are a model when want to be led past the velvet ropes. Believe it or not, models are obviously models (most of the time) regardless of what they are wearing, etc. and will undoubtedly be let into the VIP without standing in lines or being on guestlists. Unfortunately a lot of newbie boys & girls don't find this out until they too have been initiated into the world of shame and a full body blush.

Take my good friend, Mike, for example. Although I wasn't present on that particular night, Isaak shared the details with me. Apparently when he first got to Milan, Mike was told by another model that to get into Gasoline he would need a copy of his comp. When he got to the club he pulled out the card and started waving it at the bouncer who was giving preference to the girls and (as is notorious in any nightclub) making the guys wait outside. After waiting for a few too many minutes Mike once more approached the bouncer and in raised voice commenced to proclaim that "I'm a fuckin' model!!!" which the bouncer was not at all impressed by. Did he get in that night? I'm not sure, even though we all did frequent that joint later on in the season. The part of the story that I got from Isaak was so hilarious that everything else that may have happened after that proclamation was insignificant enough for me to forget about.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Psycho, Psycho, Psycho German Roommate!

A few days after Penny left and Eva had moved in, our agency decided to place another girl in our apartment even though the space was only intended to be inhabited by two people. This roommate came as a total surprise to us since no one had bothered to tell us that we would be having a new girl moving into our couch. Normally,one of the bookers would let us know in advance who a new roommate was and when he or she would be arriving.

After a full day of castings I came home to discover that the front door was unlocked. Milan, being a big city and not without crime, we were always advised to keep our doors locked even when we were home. This freaked me out since I knew Eva was working that day and not expected to be home until later that night. I gingerly opened the door only to find an Amazonian girl sitting on our couch completely naked and shaving herself down south. No lie. I couldn't help but stare at her in shock and disbelief. First of all, who the hell was she? And why on earth was she giving herself a Brazilian ON OUR COUCH???

After the initial mindblow, I walked furthur into the apartment and commenced to ask this chick who she was. She introduced herself and to be honest I can't remember her name anymore, but I do remember that she was from Germany and did not stop shaving the entire time. She spoke perfect English since her dad was American and in the military, so communication was not an issue here. I just really had no idea what to make of the situation. She continued on to tell me that she was our new roommate and would be staying on the couch unless Eva or I planned to give up our beds. Hell no.
At this point I excused myself to go to the bedroom and leave her to her grooming when I noticed that she had set her suitcase on top of Eva's bathtowel....yes, on the filthy floor! You have to understand that there is something particularly nasty about floors and streets in Milan. I have lived in tons of very large cities, but only in Milan have my feet literally turned black after an afternoon of walking around in my flip flops. So keeping floors clean is a losing battle. Eva's bathtowel being layed out on the floor was a faux pas of the greatest kind.

I queried this new chick about why there was a towel on the floor with her luggage on it and she briskly answered that she wanted to keep her suticase clean. WTF? As if it hadn't been left on dirty tarmacks and planes or trains or whatever form of transpo she had taken to get here? I couldn't reason with her and she would not let me take the towel off of the floor since "it wasn't mine". I would have to let Eva fight this battle when she got home.

After a week of having this girl eat us out of house and home, leave dirty dishes everywhere, including the bathroom and leaving the front door unlocked even when the place was empty, Eva and I were on the brink of losing it. We were not only annoyed but honestly worried about this girl's state of mind. She would babble on about random topics at all times, and often to herself. It was like listening to someone's stream of consciousness. Totally bizarre. We'd be talking about castings and she would all of a sudden start talking about a pair of shoes that she had lost at the beach when she was in 5th grade. That type of thing.

The straw that finally broke the camel's back was when Eva and I came home to find that all four burners had been left on and unlit on the stovetop. And since the stove in our apartment was gas and the burners needed to be lit with a match or lighter after being turned on, we walked into a literal gas chamber. Eva immediately called Patty at the agency and threatened to leave if this girl wasn't moved out the next day. Patty said she would see what she could do and that night Eva and I lay in our beds afraid to fall asleep because we were sure that the girl would come in and kill us with a kitchen knife for getting her kicked out. Seriously, that is how insane she was! Patty did end up moving her out and into one of the Celebrity apartments. You can't imagine what a relief that was!

Moral of the doesn't matter how gorgeous you are, crazy is as crazy does.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

On Losing Roommates and Birthday Madness

Back to my birthday in Milan that season....according to my journal, not only did we get to party at my agency's bash, but three days later I got to celebrate homestyle with my friends, both old & new, at my apartment (which you will notice from the pics was nothing but esthetic perfection) and later at another nightclub. For some reason I also wax and wane poetic on the moving on of my roommates.

Here's the entry from my journal regarding that blessed eve: :-)


Had my official birthday party on Friday. I was heartbroken at Penny's leaving on Wednesday. She's in London now. I wish her all the best, she is such a sweet girl. I hate that she had to leave. This is the first time that I have had a roomy leave before me. Ususally I am the first to take off. It is such a negative aspect of our industry. You meet people, you grow so close to them and then before you know it they, or you, are gone. It is so emotionally painful. I have to learn to detach myself more, but I don't know how.

Penny has been replaced by Eva from Spain who is also turning out to be an awesome roommate. She is hilarious and neurotic which I find to be a pretty great combo. We do have one tiny problem....another girl has been moved in as well and is sleeping on the couch. This one is a serious headcase and is sucking the energy out of the apartment. I hope to God she is moved out soon.

So, despite Penny's absence, I am dong fine. And Kari, my doll, is finally here from Athens!! She and I are soulmates, no doubt about it. The minute we were reunited it was like no time had passed at all. She came to my birthday party and my friends all love her too! Her presence was the best birthday gift!! My party was amazing. All my boys, Kari, Eva, Jackie, Natalia and me. We drank like fiends. I made these crazy punches that Paul had given me the recipe for. Rum, vodka, tequila, red wine and lots of fruit. Kind of like an insane sangria. We ended up at Gasoline where Geoff bought us bottles of Jack & Coke. We raged! Ned spent the next day hanging out with Eva and me. So much fun. How am I ever going to leave these friends? I hope I see them all in South Beach next season.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Kari, Jackie, and the C-9 Killahs

Just when I thought things couldn't get better, my best friend, Kari (remember her from Miami?) arrived in Milan after working in Athens. She moved into one of the Celebrity apartments on Via Fiamma, one block away from C-1 where all my boys lived, so I had all of my friends in one spot. Having her in Milan was the icing on the cake, because even though I loved my boys it was really nice to have a best girlfriend to commiserate with in ways only girls can do. Boys just don't get the whole concept of PMS, etc., bless their hearts.

Across from Kari's place was another Celebrity apartment (C-9) where one of the friends she made in Athens was living. Right after we met up the day she arrived, she took me to meet him and my group of friends grew exponentially. Jeremy, from Toronto, had a handful of other Canadian male models as roommates, Mike, Isaak, and Tim, who ended up calling themselves the C-9 Killahs (don't ask me the story behind this moniker). Along with Kari and the boys from C-1, the Killahs became my family in Milan, and it was a matter of days before a girl named Jackie would be added as a sister to this band of brothers.

The modeling world is small, and I remembered seeing Jackie at castings in Miami but we never talked or got to know each other there. But after running into each other in Milan we decided to break the ice and started hanging out. We had a lot of friends in common from South Beach and a genuine appreciation for Limoncello and margherita pizza. How could we not become fast friends?

Milan was about to become a whole lot crazier with this new crew. Peacocks on Leashes, indeed.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Kleenex or Pasta For Dinner?

So I have to break away from my memoirs for a second to address the issue of models eating tissue paper to loose weight. I just had a little kaffeeklatsch with some girlfriends this weekend, and seeing as all three of us modeled together, modeling is a topic that we always end up talking about. We reminisce about our days in the Industry and we gossip about the insanity of all the reality series devoted to models, modeling, etc., and of course we roll our eyes at the dirt the Industry gets thrown its way.

This time the hot topic was the fact that designers in Spain are now requiring models to be a certain weight, basically not be emaciated, because some young models have literally starved themselves to death in order to "fit" the ideal runway body prototype. We also tried to wrap our brains around the fact that it is being said that models are resorting to a diet of water and tissue paper in order to fill themselves up without gaining any weight. I am totally shocked by this. In all of my years modeling, I really only met three or four girls who had eating disorders. I knew more "normal" girls in college who were anorexic or bulimic than I did while working in any of the fashion capitals I spent time in. For the most part, the models I met and knew were genetically predisposed to be thin. I have to say that I am part of this group and have always loathed having people make snide remarks about how I must not eat. I eat. Like a horse. Always have and always will. Having others automatically assume that you starve yourself in order to be thin is irritating to say the least. And with this new scandal of models eating paper products to stay skinny, I'm sure a lot of the healthy and naturally thin girls working the runways and photo studios now are being even more bombarded by rude comments, assumptions and skepticism.

It is a sad day for modeling when news like this makes the headlines. I have been pressured before to lose some weight while modeling. In Tokyo I was asked to loose weight as they wanted me to turn my 34 inch hips to 33 inch hips in a week. Needless to say I went home early. How the hell are you supposed to have 33 inch hips after puberty? In Milan I was asked to loose half an inch on my hips and go from 34 1/2 inch hips to 34 inch ones, but I didn't and still worked consistently. Pasta, panini and gelato were my diet staples, never toilet paper or lettuce. I actually just don't see how it is possible to starve yourself when you are in Italy or France, or anywhere else for that matter. Food, and delicious food at that, is everywhere. If I had to choose between a week of eating wood pulp to land a major campaign or an enormoous bowl of fettucine, you would see me with a napkin tucked into my shirt and noodles sticking out of my mouth. Nuff said.

I just hope this new generation of models wakes up and realizes that nothing is worth losing one's health. Not to mention the fact that Kleenex just ain't that tasty.....unless maybe it came in a buffalo wing flavor. Pass the Ranch!