Friday, August 02, 2013

The End of an Era...

I can't remember too much that happened after I left Seoul early due to what had happened back home in the States on Sept. 11th. I do recall that one of my last trips for work after that was back to Miami Beach. I ended up taking my then boyfriend (now husband) there with me and living in a Bohemian rental with one wall painted to look like a view from a window in Mykonos. Little Greek island theme. This little space was far from the madding South Beach crowd at the very start of Collins Ave. I could walk to Nikki Beach and what used to be Club Amnesia as well as to Big Pink....all were literally just a couple of blocks away. But it was quiet that far down....and I think I needed that at that time in my life. After the attack on the World Trade Center, work was not the same. Many European clients opted to not come to the States to shoot and instead of using Miami that season as a location, they went to Cape Town, the South of Spain and other places with similar climates...and less controversy. I ended up booking a handful of jobs, some lucrative, some not. I shot for Target, JCPenney and Casual Corner (who later would fly me back out to Miami and NYC for bookings when I was no longer living in Miami) and that always made for good and easy money. Booked a fashion show for an eclectic Argentinian designer whose name I no longer recall but I do remember having to wear a very large birdcage on my head that kept threatening to fall off of my head as I walked the runway. I booked that job because I was the only model in Miami that could fit the Funny the details one remembers! I also became the muse for a sweet and lovely as all get out Brazilian fashion designer named Fabio Cardozo who has moved on to become an amazing photographer....and I still have a pair of the jeans he made for me. =) I also ended up getting a job as a hostess for Shoji Sushi to make ends meet during what was one of Miami's driest work seasons in their history. It was the first time during my travels that I had to hold down a job other than modeling. It was an ego check, but I enjoyed the work. The crew at Shoji that season was a group of international delights. Funny, crazy, interesting, amazing people. We were all in some sort of existential crisis at the time yet trying to party our ways out of it....I got to go with them off of the island and see art exhibits in small, out of the way galleries that I otherwise would've never known about. We became family. None of my other model friends were in Miami that season....except for a few who flew in for a random booking here and there. Miami was a ghost town. Lindley and Jean-Paul, my bros, were there but they had new girlfriends and business ventures and life as we all knew it was starting to change. When the time came, my boyfriend and I packed our bags and our two cats and left Miami. For the first time that city did not let me leave with happy had become a sad and somewhat dark place. It is where my boyfriend hit rockbottom (although he celebrated his 11th birthday this past year which is AWESOME and my manager, Jimmy, at Shoji planted the sobriety seed in him), and it was one week after we left almost to the day that we got a call from one of the Shoji servers, Lina, letting me know that our good friend and busboy, Sunny, had had an alchohol related motorcycle accident and had been instantly killed. Sunny was just that...a ray of sun. I loved that kid. He was always full of life, jokes, a huge hug when things were going bad for me, and always had a way of sneaking out sushi to the rest of us. I still get chills when I think about how early he left us. They held a memorial in front of the restaurant for him the week after he passed away and I was there, via cellphone, for it. I remember my boyfriend and I crying so hard over Sunny's passing. When I think of Miami I try to remember the seasons before this one....when I still felt young, alive and free. My last season in Miami really taught me how fragile life is, how fragile we all are. It was a lesson that I must have needed and it was the end of an era.

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