…but you’d probably have to keep your normal job.” –Flight of the Conchords
This song has been amusing me lately because, though I am sure I would not survive in America’s modeling world, being a minority in a Chinese city means that I get asked to do modeling jobs here and there. But it’s not my real job, clearly. The first show I did here was for a wedding photography place in town, and I basically just sat in a fancy chair with a huge, poufy wedding dress on with three other foreign models. I had no idea what I was doing, so I sneaked glances at the other models to see how they were posing, and tried to do my best. My problem is, I get the wild urge to laugh at the wrong moments, so I probably looked like I was just wincing half the time. Or maybe that was because the dress was a couple sizes too small.
I did another show for winter coats a few weeks ago, and that started out terribly but ended okay. The agent told me not to bring high heels, because he didn’t want me too tall next to the Chinese models. As the only foreigner in the show, they didn’t want me to enhance that by being gargantuan. So, I brought flats only. The boss-lady in charge of the store was not pleased. I think every time she walked past me she glared at my shoes and muttered imprecations under her breath. So, we had to line up inside the store, don big winter coats over our clothes, and then walk the runway outside, turn around, come back in, and switch to another coat. I felt like a fool in my flats, and the very weird leather pants they decided I should wear, so the first few gos were less than great. But after awhile, I decided to just not care about it. It’s not my real job. I’m just doing it for fun, and I don’t plan to be a professional model. So, I changed my attitude and probably did a bit better after that. Plus, there were some little village boys, probably 7 years old, in front of the crowd at the runway who would cheer and dance around whenever I came out, and yell WAI GUO REN!!! whenever I was inside, just in case I forgot to come out (?). The boss-lady started to smile at me and ignore my shoes after that.
I have very mixed views on modeling and all that it can entail, but one thing is for sure–modeling in China is absolutely nothing like it is in America. And for that, I am grateful in a way, but it also gives it an extra dose of crazy. Next modeling job I decide to accept, I’m definitely bringing my heels, even if it does strike terror into their hearts.