It’s market month again, which means I get to amass myself in with the real employees of NYC. I wake up before 7am to catch the LIRR into Penn Station. I stand in line behind the same tall mid-20’s guy with the futuristic Bose headphones I see every morning at Starbucks, waiting for my grande chai latte with soy milk and 1 shot of espresso. I wait for the uptown A,C, or E subway to transport me into Bryant Park, standing far behind the yellow line because I’m positive one day a sociopath disguised as a businessman will lose his mind and start shoving strangers into the subway tracks. I embed myself into the already congested and sweaty subway car not caring who I bump into because it doesn’t matter, I’m a young cute girl, not a repulsive obese homeless man, and no one minds standing next to me.
I’m dressed up like a barbie for 8 hours, the same collection over and over again, presenting each outfit to the buyers from stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.
“That’s SO cute! Wow, you look divine! Oh wow, adorable! Ugh, this is just STUNNING!”
Barf. I stand there with a naive gaze, occasionally smiling to let the clients know I’m at least pretending to look interested. I do a twirl and walk balk into my closet with another model wearing just a strapless bra and thong changing into the next look. This goes on for 2 hours until the next appointment. In between each client, we talk about our boyfriends, food, a cute dress we bought from H&M, and what we really want to do with our lives. The idea of being a model at 30 is atrocious.
I was out drinking with a few people last weekend, a guy I’d just met asked me what I do. “Umm, well, I’m a model…” I said in a diffident voice. He said he’s a professor at UCLA. Great. I feel promptly inferior. We talk about fashion and I tell him a few designers I’ve worked for that he’s never heard of. End of conversation. Later in the night I mention I used to take improv and sketch classes at the UCB theater in LA. “Oh, wow the Upright Citizens Brigade? I love that place.” Finally, I’m recognized as something more than a model, I have a brain, interests, I can form sentences, and have an intelligent conversation with a stranger. Is everyone really as judgmental as I am? I hope not.