Monday, 13 December 2010

Lost Affinity

I have known for quite some time that times have changed in the world of modeling. I used to be considered very thin even by modeling standards, but in today's world I would be too big in the hips to do runway. Despite being aware of this, for several years I have occasionally seen models here and there, and thought that they were somehow like me. I have held onto an odd sense of affinity with the awkward, tall, thin models even if I haven't modeled professionally in almost eight years.

On Saturday, as I waited for my plane to start boarding, I observed one of the top models of the moment, Freja Beha Erichsen, as she was killing time, waiting for the same flight. There it was, embodied in this girl, the difference I have known was there, the difference between models of the days past like myself and the girls who are in the business now.

Freja Beha looked stunningly photogenic. Her hair was fashionably messy, and she wore black skinny jeans and a black leather jacket. She looked effortless, very cool, and her face was beautiful despite clear signs of fatigue and sunken cheeks. She was tall and so tiny I felt I could have probably knocked her over just by touching her. Her thighs looked as narrow as my calves. From behind, she looked like a teenage boy.

I have always been critical of people discussing models' weight. I have comforted myself by thinking that the nature of the world of modeling is what it is, and that most models are naturally thin anyway, just like I was and still am. The industry adores and promotes thin girls, and it is not up to these very young women to change the world. But there is thin, and then there is the type of thin that makes you wonder how thin can a person get, and what is that person's responsibility over her own well-being.

As the plane was finally ready to board and Freja Beha sneaked quickly into business class and I lost the visual of her, I got to my seat on the plane and spent a good portion of the flight thinking about my past in modeling and all the things that have changed in me since I quit. For the first time I fully realised that I no longer feel affinity with other models. This realisation might have arisen because of the frail figure of Freja Beha, because of my reaction to her body: I saw myself look at her the way "normal" people do, with a mixed sense of admiration and horror. I don't know what that means. Maybe enough time has passed, finally, for me to see past as something that has truly passed.

Jumper: second hand, Tuuli's old
Dress: H&M, Tuuli's old
Tights: H&M
Boots: Max&Co.


Modesty is Pretty said...

Wow, I can't even imagine how thin she might be if you were surprised of how thin she was. I hope things star changing soon before these girls dissapear. I often wonder how many of these girls are naturally thin like yourself and how many just suffer from hunger, the same goes with gymnast and ballerinas and any other athletes that have to battle with weight either bt having to be muscle and skin or bones and skin.

Sal said...

That must have been a startling and difficult realization. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the matter, lady. Your perspective on modeling is such an interesting and valuable one.

Anonymous said...

I've got a friend, an ex-model, I guess just like you, who weighs about 55 kg while being 181 cm tall (I guess that makes about 120 lbs and 6 feet, roughly). Guess she's not fashionable anymore? As she spent numerous years in the modelling business, I've always kinda treated her as a source of juicy gossip about this world so unfamiliar to me. Yet every time we start talking, somehow we end up discussing models' weight. She claims she keeps noticing that this issue is being now pushed farther than ever before; that once a hot new ultrathin model arrives, she instantly becomes "the next big thing" until a new, even thinner girl comes into the spotlight. It is as if every new anomaly became a new standard for models. Sometimes when I look at the world of modelling from a healthy distance, I feel as if I was looking at some insane asylum, a world of its own, deprived of all human laws and provisions, consituted on a brittle base of current public opinion. Sometimes looking into the world of generally understood fashion makes me feel grateful that I have never belonged there (yet again, looking into the world of academic teachers, to which I do belong, makes me wanna run for my life, but that's a different matter).
Cheers to you,

JRose said...

I wonder a lot how many models are naturally very thin and how many force it. You're quite thin, though, so I'd probably look twice at someone significantly thinner. Exremely slender people get too much flak, though. A lot of what I hear is the whole "that's sick" "she needs a sandwich" "omg" kind of thing, even by those who turn around and say, "I'm fat" when they're not.

K.Bean said...

I always enjoy reading your thoughts on models and modeling. Thanks for sharing.

It's always disjointing to realize the distance you've travelled away from a former identity.