Category Archives: The History of Modeling

Perfection

Soon will be the day where a model will not be the fantasy of a visually perfect person. I say this as though there is such a thing, but in all actuality, every model has imperfections. Photographically, they have been enhanced. They still look like themselves- just on a really good day, with their best angle, and without the pins and tucks being visible. It’s an illusion, but the message is still “perfection”. 

The Master, a Paul Thomas Anderson movie released in 2012, showed a scene with a roomful of naked women dancing. It was fascinating to me because the women were so imperfect, yet still beautiful. Mad Men shows ideal beauty evolving from the not-so-thin, Marilyn Monroe figure of the 60’s to what it is now- and again, the women in that show are quite pretty. In the 1800’s- Abraham Lincoln’s time- beauty was in the words you spoke. And finally, Nigeria views a woman with gap teeth as beautiful and fertile.

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MODEL JESSICA HART

Recently there have been several models with gaps in their teeth, like Victoria’s Secret model, Jess Hart. Because of this recent gap-toothed model trend, there has been a rise in the number of dentist’s patients who prefer a gap, and even ask for it. Although this suggests we’re moving in the right direction and breaking the conventional mold, are we simply producing new requirements? Must we always try to change ourselves to fit the new trend? Can’t a person be beautiful simply because they are healthy?


Model Stereotypes

Fewer than 100 women in the world have the potential to be a Victoria’s Secret model. Prospective models face fierce competition and must meet specific requirements to become a Victoria’s Secret “angel.” But the few women that manage to overcome the harsh scrutiny often become some of the most well-known faces in the modeling industry and have long careers in one of fashion’s most elite companies.

Height, Measurements and Age Requirements

With height requirements starting at the high fashion rate of 5 feet 8 inches, a five-sixer like myself isn’t typically considered for Victoria’s Secret. However, for brands primarily selling lingerie, an hourglass figure is preferred. Models with a 34-inch bust, a 24-inch waist and 34-inch hips are the most desired and even a slight variation is acceptable if the model possesses other more desirable attributes, such as a beautiful face. Is there still a chance for me?

Take away a point for height, but add one for measurements and another for the right face, it seams I do still have a chance. However, age is still a major issue. Victoria’s Secret looks for models with longevity, so older models are typically not considered, unless they are already established in the fashion industry. Focusing on the younger side of the pendulum, new Victoria’s Secret models are between 18 and 22. I can pass for 22, I’m sure. If I had the pictures, or the energy to put into more photos that showed off my physic, I may be able to prove whether age really is an issue for this particular client. My dear 33 year old friend changed her Model Mayhem profile to 24 years old and she gets way more hits than she ever did before. I shall test this theory on Model Mayhem myself, in my own market, and report on it’s truth.

Physique

While appearing mainly in magazines, Victoria’s Secret models have the help of Photoshop. But on the runway, those models must be in top physical condition to strut the revealing lingerie in high heels and on live television. You don’t get smooth skin, a toned body, and glossy hair by doing nothing when you’re not in your 20’s anymore. These attributes are possible for an older model, however, they come at a higher price. Each person is allotted the same amount of time every day, and what we do with that time is a matter of priority. Work, school, family, and other dreams and aspirations come into play. It takes time to be physically active and eat healthy, and being in top physical shape in your 30’s means to sacrifice other important things, like family and work. Another point against me.

Still, the most important part of a Victoria’s Secret model’s appearance is her face. Full lips, a small nose, high cheekbones and chiseled features are common amongst the Victoria’s Secret models. But is that enough? After 6 weeks of training my body to fit the competition, and then trying to maintain a perfect body thereafter, I know for my own sanity and self esteem- the answer is no.

Representation

Necessary when becoming a Victoria’s Secret model is an agent. The two agencies that handle most of the Victoria’s Secret models are Elite Model Management and Ford Modeling Agency. Most Victoria’s Secret models are considered through the recommendation of their agent, whom negotiates their contracts for them. Since Victoria’s Secret will not work with a model who does not have an agent, getting your foot in the door will be a challenge. Any client with such specific requirements has their reasons, but it is my work to find the answers to why they have chosen these requirements, and how to evolve them.

For more on how to become a Victoria’s Secret model, visit http://tech.mit.edu/V130/N51/wire2.html

The Harsh Reality of Worshiped Youth

Sustainable Modeling: modeling where age and other stereotypes don’t matter

 

The career of a model is short lived and usually only lasts until the early 20’s. Has the industry develop this standard or did women drop out of the race when they became older?

My experience so far has been that you get to a certain age where things become more difficult and you have to work harder to be what you were in your 20’s. Staying in shape and being fit takes more effort. Looking healthy is a bigger challenge. I don’t know that many people who will work too hard on the way they look. But I am determined to try. Not only to see if it’s possible, but to see if we can push the industry away from having beauty be determined by youth. Youth is determined by the amount of wrinkles and sun spots you have- not by how beautiful you are. Next week, a local T.V. station will be screening a film series on the harsh realities of youth in the modeling industry.

Can I still have wrinkles and be considered beautiful? Designers have produced some images that have tested this theory. The results have proven that it doesn’t hurt a brand if the image is good enough. I would like to contact some of them directly and see if I can get an interview on the subject. For now…

Everything has to be so perfect in every way and is very oriented towards something unattainable. Celia Peterson of Eco Verse -a sustainability company, says organic and sustainable beauty is something that values signs of life and living, growth, and personality, rather than a synthetic doll. It creates poverty of the whole idea of beauty, and like art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

What benefit do we get from someone else telling us what beauty is? Actually, there is no scarcity of beauty in the world, at all. Stylist Tyson Daniels says, “There’s no such thing as an ugly woman- just a lazy one.” Still, recreation and decompression need proper balance, and that’s where the organic part comes into play. Plus, with organic beauty, many of these designers can finally move their marketing campaigns to the next level.