You are NOT selling your arms, you are selling the clothes!

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I should probably be in LA right now going on commercial auditions and working on writing submissions for those shows that seem like they’ll never hire me, but I’m in New York. My bank account needs me to be here. It’s lovely as shit today. I just returned to my temporary home in Hell’s Kitchen from lunch with a friend. I was planning on staying inside today to return emails and drink a whole carton of Almond Breeze Iced Coffee but thank god for people who motivate me to be social. I was still in bed at noon because the three hour time change is fucking with me. But mostly because I woke up at 5am having a panic attack, cried while eating an ice cream sandwich, then eventually lulled myself to sleep by watching four episodes of Peep Show on Netflix. I’ve already completely forgotten my ex’s birthday, but his Netflix password will live on forever in a stickie note.

I had a casting yesterday that made me want to book a flight to Chicago and steal someone’s pontoon boat to float around aimlessly on Lake Michigan.

I got to Midtown at 7:30pm. The casting was from 7-10, which was already annoying. I get up to the 4th floor and see a bunch of models sitting at tables with numbers attached to their shirts. I was number 41. Some guy takes my photo and tells me to sit down. I see some girls from my agency and ask them how long they’ve been waiting.

“I got here at 6:30 and we haven’t done anything yet.”

Oof. The worst part of this casting is I have no idea how much the job pays and I’m in no position to turn down work so I have to stay. I talk to the other models about our agency, a few of them just signed and didn’t seem too enthusiastic. Whenever I’m asked about my agency I always say I love them because I’ve gotten a shit ton of work. This always annoys models because we hate hearing about others’ success. One random girl talks about how she’s only 5’7 but puts 5’9 on her card. Maybe you’re not getting work because you are too short? Don’t give me that “Kate Moss was only 5’8” bullshit. Kate Moss is a goddess. Never mind she said that slightly confusing and pro-anorexic statement about how nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels. ICE CREAM DOES, YOU MONSTER.

It’s about eight o’clock and finally the guy running the show comes over and talks to the restless models. His hair is obviously dyed blonde and his jeans are a little too fashion-y. You know what I mean. Embroidered things. Dragons. Well I didn’t see dragons but who knows.

He is so sassy already. “Listen girls, I’ve been up since seven am. This is my fourth casting of the day and I don’t want to be told what to do. Understand?”

You’ve got to be kidding me. Oh and his accent is very thick so it’s a little difficult for me to understand.

“I was on the phone today with Australia, Belize, Paris, casting top models because this is my job, and I take it seriously.”

At this point there is no way I’m ditching this casting because I need to hear what this man is going to say next.

“I’ve put on runway shows for Michelle Obama. My designers make clothing for Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, and other actresses. I expect professionalism and zero attitude. I’m tired and I want to go home, but I am here doing this because it is my job.”

I look at another model and make a “is this guy serious” face to her. She’s with me. He goes on for about ten more minutes talking about his history in the fashion world. News flash: WE DON’T FUCKING CARE! JUST GET ON WITH THE CASTING! He has his people set up a camera and a table at the other end of the room and starts calling the models by their numbers to do their runway walk for him. After the second model walks he comes over to talk to us again. Oh great.

“Look girls, you are selling the clothes, not your arms! I don’t want to see any of this (he walks like an insane person swinging their arms). I need to see this (he walks with his chest sticking out way too far and his arms hanging behind him).”

The first thing I think of is that Seinfeld episode where Molly Shannon walks like she’s holding two suitcases all the time and gets into a cat fight with Elaine. That episode is also the summer of George one where he says he’s “gonna read a book, from beginning to end, in that order!” Also on my flight over I sat next to a guy from New Zealand who made a Seinfeld reference even before the plane took off. I try to avoid conversations on airplanes so I didn’t say anything but had we been at, say, a bar, I would’ve grabbed his shoulders and shook him really hard and said, “YOU GET IT TOO! SEINFELD IS OUR LIVES!”

After demonstrating how we should walk he goes through more girls, commenting on each of them. The hottest girl there gets up to walk and even before she’s halfway to him he says things like “wow,” “gorgeous,” and “you’re the one.” This is extremely bad etiquette, not to mention very rude to the other thirty-nine models waiting their turn. He says nothing to the next girl. Does that mean he hated her? Or thought she was ugly? I turn to a model and ask her what the hell is going on. She doesn’t know.

Rufus (no idea if that was his name) calls my number. I walk up to his table and he asks if we’ve worked together because I look familiar. I say I don’t remember, but I’m actually thinking, “No, I’ve never met you, because I would remember you. Had I worked with you in the past I would’ve known better than to come to this casting because listening to you brag about your mediocre fashion career is about as interesting as reading the wikipedia page for irritable bowel syndrome.”

I do my walk and halfway through he tells me to sit down because it’s perfect. HA! In your face Rufus! Wait, but that means if I book this job I have to see this man again. Oh, fiddlesticks. Whatever. By this time it’s almost nine and he comes over again to talk about September 8th and the shows on the 12th and 13th, but a show at the White House next month and something about if we miss the flight we’re fucked. I don’t know what or when this job is.

He closes with this, “I’ve worked with the winner from America’s Next Top Model because I only hire the best of the best, and if I hire you girls I will email you, because no one has time for phone calls. I know I don’t.”

Hey, Rufus, I’ve worked with winners from America’s Next Top Model and they’re going on the same castings and working the same jobs as I am. Unless you’re on set with Miranda Kerr please save us the time and embarrassment of having to listen to your drivel. But thank you for preferring email as the main source of contact. No one likes phone calls.

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9 thoughts on “You are NOT selling your arms, you are selling the clothes!

  1. Love your style (of writing) – you should seriously considering taking it up as a sideline to your modelling. I’d read your stories and I’m 59.

    Or, as Michael suggested, self publish.

  2. You received the approval of the guy running the show. Don’t jinx the opportunity. From what you’ve described, you need a really thick skin to be a model.

    I like your sense of humor. Have you considered taking your blog entries and weaving them into a self-published online book? I’d like to buy such a book from Kindle if you chose to self-publish.

    One last thing: I think I’m out of the loop, and you might have already explained this, but why aren’t you writing for Vice anymore? I know commenters can be absolute jerks, but don’t let them get under your skin. I enjoyed those articles; they were good examples of “reflective essays.”

  3. Awesome blog. Hey are you the beautiful chick in the video “Into Your Arms” from The Main, if you I will win 5 bucks from this asshole who thinks he knows it all.

  4. Completely F’ing agree, no one likes phone calls. Shoot, I still don’t even own a cell… (I plan to ((with severe resigned reluctance)) get one next month… *sigh… lousy necessities n’ crap…)

  5. Sod Kate Moss, YOU’RE the goddess around here – you used the word ‘fiddlesticks’. Come back to London, you belong here (where nincompoops [great word #2] like Rufus are at a minimum). Cheers. PLUS, you don’t like talking to people on flights? Surely that makes you a bit English…

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