Often I get asked about finding a professional photographer, it's one of the biggest struggles for an aspiring model, and it's obvious why. The world has become more commercial, no I am not talking about commercial print modeling, although that is the area for a shorter girl to pursue, I am talking about commercial as in there is so much product out there, so many affordable cameras, easy access, so much ability for anyone to call themselves a photographer, and even someone who seems to be a professionals can turn out to be a creep.
During my next posts I am going to be sharing excerpts from my modeling memoir Almost 5'4"which is about my early modeling pursuits, these excerpts involve my early modeling mistakes, scams, bad experiences, regrets even. Things I hope you never experience.
It is actually my early years that inspired this blog. I created www.petitemodelingtips.com because a shorter girl can work with national brands and magazines like I have if she has the right mindset. It's possible to skip scams and I hope you find the posts I've written previously about finding the right photographers, getting the right photos and skipping scams helpful. These excerpts will involve personal modeling mistakes I've overcome, assholes I've put aside and jerks and perverts I wish I never had met. I hope it inspires you aim high and strive onward, to seek professionalism, and by sharing bluntly my early modeling mistakes I hope you skip them all together~ Isobella
The next day I put on my new hot panties from H&M, dropped off my marketing final and met the photographer. He had been published in a magazine before and worked with a couple Giraffes who had been on the covers of Italian and French Vogue, which was intimidating at first. He was more experienced than any other photographer I worked with and, apparently, it went to his head.
“Oh, Isobella, look at this one; look at this.” With pride, he showed me all of these photographs he had taken in France.
He had the ideas already, and he was excited and spoke in a European accent. He would spit a little as he became more and more excited about his great idea. All I could understand was “an array of colors against your skin.” I also got the part that I wouldn’t be paid. I would get the images and my makeup done, and I was told I would “just love the shots!” They were shots he said “I really needed for my book.”
“Isobella, you have such a pretty face but your shots are not doing you justice!”
My nose did look huge in the picture he was looking at. I sat back in my chair for the first time and let him run the show. He seemed to like that I didn’t talk a lot. He liked the feeling of control. I could tell he took control when he fucked a girl, too. No doubt he didn’t even care if she came.
Then it was my turn to speak. He showed me pictures of himself that he took when testing the light. “And look! This is the light we will use when we shoot! Isobella, don’t you like it? Wow! Isn’t it intense?” The light was intense but he looked awful, posing like a fucking statue in Italy or looking like a goblin.
I didn’t know whether he was showing me pictures of himself to turn me on, or hoping he’d receive a compliment from me. Neither happened.
Next he was telling me to stand up and show him how I pose. I got up and stood against a nearby wall. I spread my legs, stood tall, and lifted my arms above my head, elongating my body and giving him a sexy expression, my eyes creased and my mouth half open. He didn’t like it. He made a face.
I stood straight again. I let my arms fall to my side.
Excited, he jumped up and said, “This is how you do it, baby!”
He touched me, moving my body and my arms—showing me how to do it right so I would be prepared the day of the shoot. Yesterday, it seemed I was being bitch slapped and called a Wannabe. Today this photographer was telling me, “When you pose, when you model, you need to be the star!”
I listened. I followed his example. I moved my body, angled my neck, my wrist, my hips. I was his rag doll, just doing whatever he said. I think he wished he could have fucked me right that second. I think he wished I was his little slut. But I wasn’t.
I took his control as a sign of his seriousness. I thought, He must be good if he has such a vision. It was in his style, and the makeup and hair was his choice. He wanted to be the one to wet me down and choose the sexy shoes. To him I was a girl he could boss around and we both knew it.
The following week when the day of shooting was done I was wet, tired, and my hair was very stringy. He had thrown me in a cab five hours earlier; it was one of the first few times I had been in a cab. I was getting comfortable with the subways, and I figured only rich people took cabs. Life on the subway was for the average person and being on the train allowed my mind to wander and for me to relax in a world—in a reality—I could create in my mind.
However on that day, the photographer took me by cab to Bloomingdales for a makeover he said I needed. I tried not to take offence to the comment and just thought of it as a little pampering for myself. I was to get my makeup done, try on shoes, then he bought me makeup and we borrowed a pair of three hundred dollar heels from the store. It was my first time in Bloomingdales and I felt awkward, messy, and inappropriate. The makeup artist could tell by my quiet, mouse-like acceptance.
I had no opinion that day, and for once I let someone else worry about making something of this shoot. The photographer and I spoke before the shoot about shooting some commercial style photos, even though that day he was more into Maxim style photos and ripping my shirt and pulling at it to make me look more alluring. He was telling me to tug at it and asking me, telling me, moaning to me, to “look more alive.” He was getting very vocal, “Rougher, rougher!”
Of course I did shoot a few topless shots, but then when he got perverted and unprofessional, asking me to go completely nude, I felt differently.
I simply told him, “I’m tired and not in the mood for shooting anymore,” but really he scared the shit out of me. Maybe it was his “whiney, little-boy-with-a-pout” expression, but I was really turned off. I told him so.
This wasn’t a good comment to make. It wasn’t good to make any comment to ego-driven photographers, I was quickly learning. He got pissed and stomped his feet, and his little pathetic pout was actually more humorous than mind-changing. I never worked with him again. Plus, I couldn’t trust him. He was French, and all he talked about was sex, sex, and more sex. I didn’t feel sexy around him, or powerful.
Instead I felt weak, like I was trapped in his apartment, his bed too close to the backdrop where we were shooting. The lights were off and it was too romantic for a shoot with a guy I wasn’t even interested in. I wondered if the door was locked. I think the photographer thought that after buying me expensive shoes and getting my makeup done, I would do anything. That I would pose any way he wanted. He treated me like I owed him.
When I went back the next day I received a CD. I put it in my denim bag from The Gap. He acted like nothing had happened and I thanked him awkwardly, like a good little model should, then I jetted off. I had kept the makeup but foolishly left the three hundred dollar shoes.
Isobella Jade TM
If you've ever been in a situation like this, you can always email me firstname.lastname@example.org, by sharing my early modeling mistakes in my modeling memoir Almost 5'4" I hope you skip them. I wrote this book not just as a support to the underdogs and shorter models, but to also show how easy it is to be scammed and put in a bad situation. It is possible to overcome your mistakes, strive on and aim higher and I wish for you to never experience anything less than a safe and smooth journey as an aspiring model. ~IJ