Modellife Crisis

Facebook, twitter and blogging are changing our society. We’ve got a new outlet to define ourselves and to portray who we’d like to be. It can be interesting and outright funny at times. I recently had a few giggles discovering lots of women in their mid to late thirties declaring “they could have modeled if they’d wanted to”.

First of all: good for you.. But really, why would you’ve wanted to in the first place? Is your life really that unfulfilled that you’d like to be a one-dimensional sex object defined solely by your looks and how well the camera captures your beauty? And do you seriously need to then go and have some raunchy amateur photos take to show the world that you are pretty and not THAT old, I guess?

I’m all for reinvention. But it’s a little sad and silly for grown women to aspire to look like a men’s mag model to show they could’ve modeled as a teenager if only they’d wanted to. Surely, it’s your life experience, how you’ve touched the ones around you and what you’ve achieved for yourself and the community that matters not whether you were a cute teenager or have turned into a better than average-looking woman (at least when in the right light and made up nicely)?

This new craze to reinvent ourselves as a woman straight out of TV reality show The Swan, complete with the oomphed up hair, big cleavage and oversexed online personality strikes me as the new female midlife crisis. Perhaps women who were too short to make the cut as a model – say 1.73m perhaps -, a little too fleshy as teenagers and not the obvious cheerleading beauties are now experiencing a modellife crisis?

Look, I’m all for emancipation and empowerment but this strikes me as a bit of a continuation of the girlpower movement the Spice Girls started, when it was emancipated to have one-night-stands.  [Big cheer from the guys here.] Just because men have been taking mistresses, buying motorbikes and getting hair replacements when they hit that confidence dip around their forties, doesn’t mean we have to reinvent ourselves as the finished Swan, buy high heels and revealing dresses and flirt with random guys online.

A woman’s beauty cannot be measured by her outer appearance. Wisdom, life experience and happiness are so much more beautiful. I know you’ll probably feel inclined to say “whatever, you ARE a model, so easy for you to say” but let me tell you that I struggled with being a model when I was younger. I  didn’t actually like modelling when I first started. I felt flattered by the compliments and reassurance but believed none of it and felt reduced to my outer appearance. I also objected to the image the industry portrayed at the time. (Even I subjected myself and my body to it and starved myself.) I felt reduced to a sex object. I hated the way people would say the word “model” with a kind of reverence and adoration in their voice. It doesn’t mean anything in itself. You’re just a genetic freak blessed with long limbs and a lean physique. Is that an achievement? C’mon! For a long time I felt I was doing a disservice to other women and especially young teenage girls by helping perpetuate such a superficial and one-dimensional ideal of beauty.

Women in your modellife crisis, don’t embarrass yourselves by posting pictures of yourselves on modeling websites and reinventing yourself as the “woman who could’ve modeled”. Look, I could call myself the woman who could’ve been the next Lauren Jackson. Who cares! It matters what you have done in your life and how you wear it. Put on a smile and perpetuate a happy, confident and shining image online. Not one pouting and flaunting it in suggestive poses. I’m proud of every one of my pictures that captures a healthy happy image. Sex appeal is good but heck, bookish, charming and full of life is sexy. Helen Mirren is. Could’ve-been-models are not.

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  • Loved this post Sol.
    So well said … I often wonder why women feel the need to seek the “approval” of others, and transform themselves into something that is not their natural state, just to “fit” in to some weird stereotype that is far removed from the true essence of a woman. The very fact that we are women is beautiful in itself, having the natural inclination to nurture, and a softness that is innately built within us.

    • solwalkling

      Thank you Sam! It’s been a bugbear of mine for a while. And there seem to be a lot of women who now see the internet as their tool to reinvent themselves as the “pretty girls”.
      It’s true the essence of ourselves is what we should focus on. As they say in the yoga classes I love: strong and soft at the same time. Mental and physical strength combined with a soft attitude and outlook and a nurturing nature.

      Love, Sol x

  • “A woman’s beauty cannot be measured by her outer appearance. Wisdom, life experience and happiness are so much more beautiful.”

    100% true for me. If a woman’s beauty is her only asset then I’m gonna get bored eventually.

    Prefer to hang out with a girl who wants to surf the ideaspace and gives great hugs anytime.

    A curiosity mind and an open heart do it for me every time! That said, a little beauty doesn’t go amiss either.

    Thanks Sol for a great post.

    • solwalkling

      Thank you for a guy’s take on the post, Dunstan! Beauty is only skin deep as they say – or, as on the internet, as deep as a favourable highly retouched photograph. It actually almost saddens me that these women in their thirties should still hanker to be recognised as the models-that-could-have-been. Modeling isn’t all that flash. And it certainly isn’t all that great an occupation either if you fall into it as a teenager. Your at the very tip of the shallow end of our society.

      But yes, ideally, we’d all love beauty that shines through from within, right? But not the raunchy photo shoot, flaunting embarassing photos on the internet beauty.. That’s just sad.

      Sol x

  • PS Where do people find the time to post ‘pouty photos’? Why aren’t they out dancing and skinny dipping and doing pilates?

    • solwalkling

      Haha! That cracked me up! Too true, mister, too true!

  • oh… yes totally agree with you Sol “strong and soft at the same time.” :)