I live in the middle of a certain war that is raging right now. A model war.
Why do I feel in the middle? I’m a model that started my career in high fashion, that transitioned to the girl-next-door sexy Supermodel, and then created a modeling reality show that catapulted my career and personal brand further than I could have ever imagined. I’m not 100% couture, nor am I 100% TV star. So, yes, I exist in the middle. A sort of hybrid. There’s a level of poetic first-hand experience and understanding that I have and want to share about this escalating battle between Supermodels of the past and present.
First, I want to speak to the original Supermodels… my sisters… my girls…
We worked runways and shot magazine spreads together, schlepped to countless go-sees, used pay phones for on-the-go communication, and subways for transportation around the globe – no cell phones, Ubers or Lyfts around. Our GPS were huge, awkward maps in Italian and French that we pulled out when lost and scared. We started out by booking low-end work for janky magazines that no longer exist and walked in way too many showroom fashion shows at the local mall. And, after all that hard work, dedication, sacrifice, sidewalk pounding, map folding, metro riding, model apartment living… after all the blood, sweat, fears and floods of tears… we finally were bestowed with the coveted title of Supermodel!
Fast forward to present day, and some of us are in a state of shock. We witness young girls on reality shows and super popular girls on social media now being called Supermodels and think, “WHAT?! It’s not fair! Is that kind of success even real?” I’ve gotta be blunt.
There is insanely high demand for these girls from the public, and yes, from the intimidating, elusive fashion industry too. I know you’re thinking, “But HOW can the industry justify them? They didn’t sweat and SUFFER like I did!!!”
You’re kicking ass, working hard, running from show to show, shoot to shoot and party to party (because you have to be seen and have a cool social media post that night because your followers are complaining you haven’t been posting enough lately). You’re driving yourself into exhaustion all while showing the world post by post that it looks so easy, when in reality, it is anything but. The pressure is ON. You have to be perfect but relatable, friendly yet intimidating, sexy but not too much or you’ll get barraged with the capital ‘S’ word all over your feeds. You have to look put together all the time, not just on the catwalk but as you arrive backstage. The world is watching your every move, judging whether or not you have acceptable personal style. Oh goodness… it’s that time again. Time for another post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Vine, Periscope, Facebook Live, Pinterest… all day, every day, all the time. There’s no real YOU time. You are THEM. Your followers. They want more and more and more. You’re exhausted. But you love them. Adore them just as much as they adore you. You get home and want to crash but before you lay-me-down-to-sleep, you snap 12 goodnight pics, choose one and then share one…more…post.
You’re on countless covers, rule all the campaigns, walk everyone’s runway, have top designers on speed dial and everyone knows your name.
So, now that we’ve settled that score, let’s take a step back. My mom always tells me to imagine things from someone else’s perspective. In this case, it’s the Supermodels of the past’s perspective. The glamazons that may be having difficulty giving credit where credit is due.
I ask you to empathize for a moment and to put on designer sunglasses tinted with her SPF – Supermodel Perspective Factor.
Change is hard. And when you’re a legend, and have ruled the roost, it’s even harder. It can be frustrating, painful, and sometimes can leave one in disbelief.
Think about 30 years from now. You’ve hung up your catwalk stilettos and have an impressive digital archive of all your Supermodel achievements. Simply said, you’re retired. You’re in your 50s and suddenly witnessing a seismic shift in the modeling industry.
There’s a new, young girl everyone is obsessing over that is the hottest thing the industry has seen since…you. She is beyond the “it” girl. She is THE girl. She’s a little odd though. She never showers. She never brushes her teeth. And doesn’t have to watch what she eats, nor exercise. Damn, she’s mind-blowing. A type of gorgeous the world has never seen. A kind of stunning that leaves people spellbound.
Spell her name backwards and you’ll begin to understand what she’s made of. Your 50-year-old self is seeing this “person” living this extravagant life and the receiver of the public’s (and your teenaged daughter’s) obsessive adoration and you can’t help but think, “How dare she get all of this credit and shine. She doesn’t have to workout. She doesn’t have to stress. She doesn’t have to go go go until exhaustion makes her feel like she wants to faint. She doesn’t have to post and post and post and post. She doesn’t even have a PULSE!!!”
But you my fellow, young Supermodel DO indeed have a pulse. You’re living and breathing, fighting and winning. And you deserve EVERYTHING that comes your way. Seeing you succeed makes me feel SO DAMN GOOD! You are validating an industry I have dedicated the majority of my life to. I thought Supermodel-dom was over. I thought it was the end of an era. But then you appeared and made it mean something again. Selfishly, the pain, the struggle, the blood, sweat, fears and tears of past Supermodels is not in vain. We won’t die off like an endangered species.
Yesterday’s “Trinity” is today’s #Squad. And what we all must remember is that we are stronger together than apart. I hope we can start to act like it. I’ve had enough pain from my modeling years in the past and seeing my sisters in conflict today brings back those gut-wrenching memories. So, let’s band together and unite. Please end the fight.
And we must open our arms even wider. The modeling industry is no longer an exclusive, unattainable club that few can access. Anyone can be a model! If you have social media accounts, you can pose and post away, build your followers and make cold hard money all while having lots of fun. The modeling world is now a democracy and we need to celebrate it, lean into it.
The universe constantly changes and evolves, and will continue to do so until the end of time. It’s inevitable. And it’s beautiful.
Just like all of you reading this right now.