I have always liked to be a part of something creative. Art forms such as music, fashion and photography have always been appealing to me. However, circumstances, exposure and choice of career etc. did not give me many opportunities (when growing up) to actually try my hand at these. Cut to Australia in 2015, my friend and I decided to go watch the local fashion show and that was my first taste. Instantly mesmerised by the beauty of it all, I imagined that even getting into the scene somehow would be so gratifying!
Come 2016, the same event held open model castings and I braved up to go for the casting. Never before did I realise that walking in actual model-size heels on a runway would feel so much like trying to walk on stilts! But even before the walking began, I went to the venue and lost all my calm. All I could see was super young, mostly white teens who were tall and skinny. I mean that is how the room read at first glance based on majority. I was the COMPLETE opposite (she said with a face-palm).
I stood out in stark contrast: too old, too brown and tooooo short. And definitely not in the best shape of my life back then. There was no going back now. I managed to not trip or fall on my face or break my neck. Success in my eyes, for first go. But I couldn’t stop feeling like I wasn’t enough. It is silly but I kept wishing I had better skin or more height or that I was younger-despite being a sensible person. More face-palm.
I stood out in stark contrast: too old, too brown and tooooo short.
I did get selected though. By accident. They mistakenly sent me the confirmatory email, which they intended to send to the girl AFTER me in the serial number. I found this out towards the end when fittings for outfits were happening by the way; after learning why every designer was surprised (and low-key disappointed) to see a short, old, brown girl. Sigh, I had a breakdown phase lasting a couple of nights but then I decided to make the best of it and work it. Not many people get such chances even by accident.
Everyone I met during this adventure was kind, positive and inspiring. All the fellow models were constantly enthusiastic to lift the other models up in any way possible, with compliments and absolutely any help anyone wanted. It was one of the highlight incidents of my life in 2016. I began learning how to connect with other creatives and produce something fashion-related with them.
Everyone I met during this adventure was kind, positive and inspiring.
So began a series of trials and errors. I began chasing any and every photo-shoot opportunity. Multiple times I would have to face disappointment with the artist not picking me over other conventional models. I had to come to terms that some faces and personalties are just made for modelling just effortlessly; or they have the knack to just appear a certain way every time it’s required. Certain people are right for certain jobs and that’s that. If I wanted something, I had to make it happen myself and mainly, stand out more prominently.
After crying a few times over bad photos, I realised that the makeup was also to be blamed*. Every makeup idea doesn’t just work on everyone without certain tweaks and adjustments for everyone’s individual features! Eventually I learnt how to do it best for my own face and how to use things smartly rather than follow the 97813647478 video tutorials online.
The point is..
We all want to chase our passions and we tend to get fixated on things we lack. We use them as excuses to never even make an effort. Things are actually simple if we just accept what our strong qualities are rather than obsess about what our shortcomings are. Just find what you like without worrying about age or time or other arbitrary boundaries that are just in your head! It could be the fresh start to things you dreamt of, even if it’s a bit later (or slightly different version of) than you planned.
We all want to chase our passions and we tend to get fixated on things we lack. We use them as excuses to never even make an effort.
Circa 2019, I still love the runway and I am still too short for it; and I still get upset over being not right for this. But I can’t thank my decision enough for what I pushed myself to do in 2016. I have found so many amazing people in random places only because I decided to pursue my love of fashion in some way.
This also made me see that what we see glamorised commonly, are really young girls who are made to look older with makeup and dressing. So many of the older women (meaning non teens or women not in their early 20s) getting upset over NOT looking like those glam girls is simply ridiculous! Because we are not vampires. Sigh.
There is a reason why some features are more desirable in models, and also why really young models are sought after. They do not “need” makeup or extra care to maintain their size. That age group is just blessed with all the necessary attributes. Unless one is insanely famous or celebrated for all this to be overlooked. It doesn’t sound positive or happy but that is how the industry largely works. And I am nowhere influential or accomplished enough to blaze my own trail.
I am grateful for a creative outlet and the experiences this journey has given me so far. All because I took just a single (and seemingly simple) step to just try something new. Not exactly life-changing to a dramatic extent but it did wonders for my confidence and mental happiness; gave me something to always be excited about and opened new avenues combining travel and fashion.
*Most makeup artists would just do the standard techniques that worked on most young Caucasian features. My skin is dehydrated and NOT in its happy teens or 20s. Pushing to explore the path of modelling actually gave me confidence to reject the trends blindly; and recognise that what is currently “in” might only be flattering for some people and only in seem so in certain frames. Holds true for life and other choices at so many levels too!
Where’s the hygge?
This is not a Dear Diary moment. I thought I would share something to make a point. That point being: success and happiness don’t look the same for everyone. Like I have mentioned before here, I am still trying to narrow down what I am madly passionate about. But personal growth is its own kind of victory that does not get as much fanfare of being noticed or celebrated.