Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mode as muse and wannabe models

Today I went to the Eaton Centre to check out the Ford Supermodel of the World open call and to support my friend who was trying out. Unfortunately my camera died and I couldn't take photos so I will do my best to describe the scene.

We got there about 12:15 and there was already a pretty big lineup. There were girls of all sizes and heights. Some were typically pretty (what I call "mall pretty;") others had the model requirements (very tall, very thin;) some were too short but had pretty faces and were thin; and some had horrible style (one girl wore a bright pink shirt with holes along the arms and was so tight her belly fat was leaking out.)

Out of all of them (friend excluded) I only saw one girl who caught my eye; she wasn't typically pretty but she had an interesting face. I'll try to describe it from my memory. She had dark, full eyebrows, large wide-set brown eyes that were a bit too far away from her nose but it made her look elfin. She had a small, pouty mouth and a round-shaped face. She was very tall, I would say 6 feet and looked very young and shy. She captivated me and I'm really sad that I couldn't take any photos. I hope the Ford website puts up shots from the event.

Anyway, the line up grew pretty big and they had to start lining up girls outside the mall. There were lots of moms there. A Revlon hair guy went around to all the girls spraying their hair and pulling it back into a ponytail. When the girls got to the front they had their head shots taken and were asked a couple of questions about themselves.

I was standing beside a 16-year-old girl who seemed like she was at least 6 feet (although all of them were wearing super tall heels) and said that she already had an agent and had done some modeling. She told me a cute anecdote about her agent calling her while she was writing an exam and she had to refuse a modeling job because she obviously had to finish the test.

I talked to a few other girls there and asked them how much they knew about modeling and models. Most of them didn't know the names of contemporary models such as Daria Werbowy or Coco Rocha. They all think it's a glamorous job. A lot of them were trying out just for fun or because their friends or parents told them too. Some of them were interested in fashion but a lot of them weren't.

After my friend left, I headed over to the Indigo to find some good books and I came across The Model as Muse book that's part of the Met exhibition of the same name.
The Peter Lindbergh photograph of Kate Moss sold me.

The book and the Ford Supermodel open call got me thinking about what makes a good model.
Flipping through the photographs of the greats like Linda Evangelista, Veruschka, Jean Shrimpton, Lisa Fonssagrives, Naomi Campbell, Kate and others, I wondered how much of being a great model relies on the face, the body, the makeup artist, the hair stylist, the photographer and the numerous other people that help a girl become a model.

For me, it's about an interesting face; not necessarily beautiful, but a face that you can't help but notice and stare at. I think part of being a good model is knowing how to move your body in front of a camera and knowing your good angles. Being part actor and part chameleon is a model's job. I don't think you have to know a lot about fashion if you want to become a model, but it helps.
But really, I think it all comes down to that face. No makeup, no product in the hair, no fancy clothes on. If the face can inspire people then that's a good start for a girl to become a model.

Was there a potential muse in the line up I saw? I did see a lot of girls who came across as confident, who knew they were hot. But would they be able to inspire a designer, would they define an era, would they influence a photographer? I'm not so sure.

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