Hey, y'all! OPINIONS HERE.

I just had an editor ask me for more material on 'how your family and friends feel about your modeling'. And I realized I have no idea.

I'm not really on speaking terms with my family, and even when I was I told them very little about it. I started when I was in my early twenties, so my parents weren't really involved; plus there was that one photo thing when I was in high school and insisted on glamour shots or I wouldn't sit for pictures at all, and I think if I hadn't been 17 at the time my mother would have been trying to get me to pose topless. My mother is godawful nosy and deeply inappropriate about a lot of things -- when I told her about my first college boyfriend, she asked if I'd slept with him before she asked what his name was -- and as my parents weren't close enough to rescue me from any shoots-gone-wrong anyhow, I had the thought that I shouldn't tell her any even remotely useful details, and I haven't. Strictly personality-wise, if I posed for Playboy, my mother would want an autographed copy and would probably tell random strangers about it in the grocery store.

Haven't a clue what my father thinks. I imagine he's not allowed an opinion. He apparently tried to have one once, when I was maybe sixteen and was about to leave a house in a skirt which, in the words of a later college acquaintance, was so short you could practically see the hair color of my first-born child. He asked me if it was a little cold to go out like that. I said no, my mother smacked him on the arm, and that was the last I ever heard of anything to do with how I dressed. I wasn't particularly sleazy as a teenager, although I was well aware that fitted dresses and suits were Very Good Things, and I've always tended to dress slightly above requirements for events. I used to inherit shoes from my mother, including one pair of stiletto boots with buckles across the instep I am still sad I couldn't get resuscitated when the heels finally wore down so far I was walking on the steel supports. Some of my high school friends can probably tell tales of the things I wore when we went out on weekends. One of the high school friends who happened to be in Flagstaff with me just before I left liked to bring me to meetings of his literary (read: drinking) club, and pay for my booze in exchange for the entertainment value of watching guys get themselves into trouble over me, and I dress pretty much the same now as I did then, adjusting for fashion and availability.

I have no idea what my friends think of it, either. I'm still a bit Sherlock-y in that I don't see what relevance your personal opinions have to my life choices. I am aware that others have opinions on things like this, and I did sit down and think about it long enough to realize I am aggressively uninterested in any career path that could be derailed by the revelation that I was once naked in front of a camera ("But what if you wind up teaching at a university somewhere? What if the students found your photos?" - "I imagine undergraduate enrollment in my class would skyrocket."), but other than that I've never really seen the point in caring. Nobody else in my life seems affronted that I didn't check with them before booking with photographers, either, so I haven't asked.

So I'm asking. What do you think? Am I brave? Crazy? Is it empowering? A cheap way of making money? Surprising? Not surprising? Do you fret for my safety (in a general, internet kind of way)? Not really fishing for compliments on the photos, although I guess you can give them if you like; I think I look good on camera and photographers think I look good on camera, which is all that matters for business. I occasionally get some really flabbergasted reactions when I talk astrophysics while wearing makeup, but that's from strangers, and that's not really from modeling per se -- they just happened to have got me braining when I'm in my professional kit for some reason. Nobody has ever argued with me when I tell them I work as a model, which is actually a bit mind-boggling when you consider I've occasionally had to get out official ID to prove it when I tell people my age or my height. Anonymous comments are on, if you want to post something you think might be unpopular for some reason.


  1. For some people, I'd point out that modelling is a job with a relatively short shelf life and not so good as a long term career choice.
    You seem to have enough talent for at least three normal people, so I don't see you hitting a career roadblock. And with what you've said about your disconnect with a nine-to-five job style, it seems a logical money earner.

    I'm curious (but feel free to ignore) about the ratio of modelling income to that you earned from other work.

    1. Oh, very little, especially now. A significant portion of modeling work is paid in barter -- you get particularly nice photo prints or wardrobe in trade or free samples from the company you're auditioning for. Venues also sometimes provide lunch or other treats, which I suppose is small in the grant scheme of things, but many models are struggling badly, so it counts a lot in goodwill. The ratio of money to shoots was higher when I was in Flagstaff, just because I refused to spend money to travel to shoot for "free"; since it costs me nothing on top of my normal LinkPasses to travel around Boston, I volunteer to do shoots a lot, just to meet people/get more things for my portfolio/make myself get dressed and leave the house.

      My income is not terribly high to begin with. I write, teach, edit, research, and work as a minor flunky in the entertainment industry -- I will never have any money, hence the donations option on the right sidebar here. Hourly, the rates for camerawork far outstrip all but the most prestigious brainwork. You get about $15-20 an hour, typically, for doing trained pink-collar tech work like research or IT support; I get $50-100 per hour on camera, depending on what it's for and whether I'm wearing any clothes.

  2. It sounds like a lot of fun to me, and it's something I'd like to do someday, when I live in a location where it's a bit more feasible (as opposed to out in the boondocks of the Midwest). I like swanning around with a camera pointed at me while I'm being pretty, I think it's perfectly reasonable that someone else would like this. I have a harder time understanding insecurity in front of a camera, to be honest, but I also have some of the Sherlock-y not-giving-a-fuck-about-opinions, so.

    You aren't the sort to let yourself be pushed into fucking your agent/manager in order to succeed, or starving yourself to make the big runway shows, so that knocks out any worries I'd have. I also pretty much agree with you on your general opinions re: feminism and feminine appearance, so yeah.

  3. You have a brain and use it. This rules out my sole objection to modelling; the people who end up exploited and unhappy because they don't have the brains to realise it's happening.

    If it makes you happy, and as a bonus pays some of your bills, excellent!

  4. I generally think it's cool. I've done minor bits of modeling over the past ten years, mostly for friends' portfolios, and I'd do more well into my golden years, if I could.

    You are staggeringly intelligent, which some people would be inclined to use as a bludgeon on you and insist you're wasting your brains somehow by emphasizing your pretty instead, when really being smart improves your odds at many jobs, even ones one wouldn't think to apply it at.

    It also takes dedication, confidence and not a little guts to show up at shoots, but your Sherlock-sense as you've said seems to keep you out of dodgy situations.

    I'm still debating the "empowerment/exploitation" question myself, as any good overly-analytical relativist-to-a-fault young feminist should, but I will say you can't personally control who sees your image or how it's received, whether in person or on camera, nor can you personally be held responsible for the fact that the only fields wherein women routinely make more money than men are the ones that revolve around appearance/sex appeal. So whether it's more self-empowering than self-exploiting is best left as a wider philosophical/sociological discussion.

    I like scrutinizing your photos as an artist whose range includes makeup, photography and increasingly more costuming, and if you were in NZ I'd rope you in with my group of friends who regularly sit for our body-paint sessions. M'colleague and I appreciate most the people who don't have Serious Full-Time Employment and therefore don't request their heads to be cropped or their nipples blurred out in the final photos, in fear of their co-workers or bosses seeing them. ;)

    Tangentially, were you down here I'd also insist you attend our monthly nerdnite sessions, and definitely do a talk of your own, but a quick Google tells me they exist in your neck of the woods too, though they don't update their branch page as assiduously as we do ours: http://nerdnite.com/


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