September 17, 2012

The Model/Media Thing

I’ve always been OK with staring at beautiful women in magazines. I look at them like I would a pretty painting or art display and I genuinely enjoy gazing at them – the beautiful creatures that they are. However I can honestly say I never look at them and think ‘I want to look like that’, and that’s because I know I can’t. I think I can feel this distance between beautiful model and real life is because I work in the media and I feel grateful that I have that distance between what I read/see and what I know. I’ve watched models getting ready backstage at shows, I’ve seen celebrities in interviews. I’ve seen how magazine pieces are put together. It’s all a journey and we only  see the end product and think it’s natural.

The difference with people who get depressed looking at models and people who just kind of admire them and then move on is just one thing: detachment. By simply looking at the magazine and not analysing it.

That model in the magazine you’re reading is real, maybe not all parts of the image, but she’s real. She exists and she really is that beautiful. They have been hand-picked as the cream of the crop and the most aesthetically pleasing people. Fashion and glamour has always been about picking the people that will look the best on camera. In the old black & white films the actresses would be skinny so that on camera they’d appear dainty. They’d be picked due to their eye size and lip colour so they’d stand out on the old lenses and on the fuzzy big screen.

The reason these beautiful models have been selected is for that reason – so they look good on camera for viewing purposes. So they can best highlight clothes, make up, hair styles, lifestyles. The dictionary describes a model as ‘a malleable material like clay or wax’. Their job is to adapt. One day it might be goth, then 60’s, then a beach outfit, then preppy then back to goth. Being a model is a real, full-time, full-on job. I met quite a few models during my time reporting during London Fashion Week and I learnt they don’t have it easy. In fact, it looks really hard. One girl at just come back from 25 castings in a day. Another girl was only 16 and looked like she was about to cry as the photographer had made her 5 minutes late for her next appointment. She said her agent was strict with her.

If your job is to be on time, be a certain size, and look a certain way and look good in lots of different clothes – then so be it. It’s an impressive job. The minute I stopped thinking that ‘all girls are meant to look this way’ or ‘those clothes will only look good on her’ is when I stopped thinking so literally about magazines. It’s not literal. We don’t need to look like pieces of art every day. But we can definitely look at them and appreciate such beautiful imagery and creative concepts. When I look at a woman in a perfect picture, I love looking at it. But I also know how many hours in clothes/hair/make-up she’s been in and how long she had to stand in that position. I will always continue to be obsessed with buying magazines and admiring amazing figures/clothes, but I will definitely continue to take everything with a pinch of salt.

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  1. Frances says:

    Well said! I agree, we could all do with a little more detachment from what we think we need to be and what we really are to be happy within ourselves.

    Frances XX

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