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Confessions Part 3: A Heavy Book And Long Castings

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By Agata Descroix – @agatacruz
An excerpt from her book – Confessions of An Autistic And Sexually Confused International Model

Being a model seems easy. But for me, it’s a whole tricky experience. You are confronted by obstacles:

First, people at castings:
They have NO logic whatsoever! Either they are so nice and sociable and you don’t get the job or they are silent and icy-cold and you book it. My first casting day is like being in Charlie’s Chocolate Factory: it seems all beautiful and exciting, but things are not that pink. I don’t get booked at the first two castings. I don’t know anything about modeling, so I feel like a huge fail! My booker reassures me and tells me that clients need to get to know you before they want to work with you. In Mexico, there is a fashion law: the more jobs you get, the more jobs you will have. I feel a bit better.

Second, you have to learn a new type of vocabulary:
It’s a little annoying, considering the fact that I want to learn artists and paintings names, and not modeling gibberish. But I try my best. Damian shows me the first steps but when I come home, I make a list of everything like a nerdy student. I always make lists. It helps me to visualize things. I open my old computer and I start to write on my diary:

The BOOK:
The book is a very heavy portfolio that never fits into your handbag and is supposed to show your work and your capacities to a client. It’s full of pictures from the jobs you’ve done, so mine is full of nothing.

The COMCARDS:
Do you know business cards? Well, imagine them 10 times bigger than you know, and then, tadaaaa! You have a comcard. It is the trace you leave behind when you do a casting. Pupils leave apples on their teacher’s desk; you leave posters of your face to clients. They always have a pile of comcards on their table and choose the model they want from it!

The MEASUREMENTS:
The first time they asked me my measurements, I said I was 5’10”.
No no no! You have to repeat the whole novel: chest, waist, hips, height, weight and shoe size! It seems to be a main reason to book you or not because the other models are always nagged about their measurements at the agency, however they seem to be all the same. Sometimes, clients might not believe you and stick out a measuring tape from their inside pocket staring at you with an evil “let’s see” look. They don’t reprimand you but they will probably call your agency later to tell them the dirty secret they have discovered.

The CASTINGS:
Yes, yes, everybody knows what is about casting, but has anybody an idea of what is it really? A casting starts with a couple of hours waiting, doing nothing, and then a quick hello to a whole bunch of serious people who ask you always the same questions. You give your book and the whole bunch of serious people goes briefly through it, before taking one of your comcards and hand the book back at you with a tired “thank you! Good bye!” THIS is a casting. I might live in Alice in Wonderland, but I imagined I would make a spiritual connection with the client and have a cup of tea with them, discussing my blossoming career. Definitely too Bali…

The CHART:
When you get booked, you might get a printed sheet that describes the job. Not always, but it happens. Basically, the chart is a little paper that makes you nervous before doing anything. It seems to be made for it. It describes all the people that will be present during the shooting or show, and mention the name of the photographer. If you Google this name, you will feel completely under experienced and intimidated, in front of all the flawless girls you see on the webpage. Then… You become aware of the existence of Photoshop… But that’s way afterward.

The NEW FACE:
Baby inexperienced model. Usually the “New Face” is 15 or 17. In my case, let’s not talk about the age. I feel like an innocent 7 years old girl, asking why earth revolves around the sun, gasping when hearing the answer and running randomly in the city…

Confessions Of An Autistic & Sexually Confused International Model – Part 1
Confessions Of An Autistic & Sexually Confused International Model – Part 2
Confessions Of An Autistic & Sexually Confused International Model – Part 4
Confessions Of An Autistic & Sexually Confused International Model – Part 5
Confessions Of An Autistic & Sexually Confused International Model – Part 6
Confessions Of An Autistic & Sexually Confused International Model – Part 7
Confessions Of An Autistic & Sexually Confused International Model – Part 8
Confessions Of An Autistic & Sexually Confused International Model – Part 9
Confessions Of An Autistic & Sexually Confused International Model – Part 10

The Divine Cheval Nine

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What do you do? I create original graphite drawings, paintings and fashion illustrations for print, editorial and art collectors. I also enjoy collaborating with other creatives.

How do you work? I approach fashion illustration in a unique way. I’m inspired by the aesthetics of horses and high fashion and aim to capture the beauty of both subjects, which has developed into my distinct style. For me, fashion isn’t just about clothing – it’s also about conveying a story, attitude and personality.

I work simply, all I need to create is inspiration, graphite pencils, and any surface I’m inspired to draw on; from canvas to plywood. I like surfaces that I can really work the graphite on; nothing too delicate.

Background? I live in Noosa, QLD. I’ve always been crazy creative. I attended university, studying art and design but found it was too computer orientated, so I left and started painting and drawing and selling to galleries. My whole life has been one creative pursuit after another. I’ve held numerous exhibitions throughout Australia and internationally.

I’m looking forward to working on an exciting new collaborative project with ‘All My Friends Are Models,’ launching soon.

Jasmin – Cheval nine

 

Art enquiries: chevalnine@gmail.com

Website: www.chevalnine.com.au

Instagram : @chevalnine

All images copyright Cheval nine 2014

Racism In Fashion

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By Pavlina Hatzopoulos

Whitewashed runways, campaigns and magazine editorials have been a lasting reality in the world of fashion. There’s no denying that a racism in fashion exists. I have experienced it first hand, and I’m not alone. The US has a black President and the wealthiest woman in entertainment is black. So, I ask, why is the fashion industry so far behind the rest of society?

 

Jezebel recently dug up some dirt on the New York Fashion Week, Fall 2013 fashion shows. What they uncovered is very unsettling, to say the least. During the season, 151 New York designers showcased at fashion week, providing 4479 ‘looks’. White models wore 82.7% of these looks. Only 9.1% of looks were shown on Asian models, and Black models were employed for just 6% of looks. Non-white Latin models presented 2% of the looks and models with races not defined by these categories were given 0.2%. Many designers – including big names like Calvin Klein and Juicy Couture – employed no models of colour at all.

 

This problem is not confined to the runways. Paris Vogue Editor in Chief, Emmanuelle Alt, has not used an African or Asian model on the cover of her magazine in over two years. She’s been in charge of 24 issues, which have included four covers of Kate Moss and one of Gisele Bundchen’s bum. Lord forbid she inject a bit of diversity! French Numero is also a culprit, publishing a very questionable editorial, showing white American model Ondria Hardin, with darkened skin. The spread was given the title ‘African Queen’.

 

Now, you can’t tell me there were no African models available to do the job instead of Hardin. Rising stars Malaika Firth or Maria Borges could’ve easily stood in Hardin’s place. Although the magazine apologised for any offence caused – stating they have “regularly demonstrated… deep attachment to different skin-coloured models’”- of the last 141 covers, only three models that were featured, were not white.

 

Our world has an abundance of diversity, but why isn’t it reflected in fashion? Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo are all ranked within the top 20 international markets for fashion, along with renowned fashion capitals, New York and London. Also emerging as a big-tier consumer, is the city of Dubai, with several fashion houses such as Chloe, and Elie Saab setting up flagship stores there. Now, if the people of these cities are some of the biggest consumers of your brand, why wouldn’t you use your promotion strategies to appeal to them? If people don’t see themselves wearing or using products,  they are far less likely to buy them.

 

In saying that, designers and casting directors shouldn’t use an Asian model, for example, to appeal to the Chinese consumer, just because China is the next big market. Prominent models like Jourdann Dunn have spoken out about this kind of tokenism, relating how her agents would call her, telling her not to bother showing up for certain castings as “they’ve already hired a black girl”. Since when are races classified as some sort of novelty or trend?

 

As a dark featured, Mediterranean looking model in the Australian market, I’ve also had to deal with racism. I’ve been told not get too tanned or to have dark hair, as I “don’t want to look too ethnic”. What’s so wrong with looking ethnic? The whole world is ethnic! I’ve also been rejected for jobs for not having the right ‘girl next door’ look. Well, I don’t know about you but my next-door neighbours are Vietnamese and Lebanese… So what even is this girl next-door look everyone goes on about?

 

Australia is a beautifully multicultural country, so the chances of finding a blonde haired, blue eyed beach babe are a lot less than finding us ‘ethnic looking’ people. One of the agencies in my city only represents one black model. With a huge African community in Australia, that’s just not good enough. A good model is a good model, and they should be able to adopt any character, regardless of their skin colour.

 

Fortunately, there are many people speaking out about this issue. Supermodels Iman, Naomi Campbell and Bethann Hardison established the Diversity Coalition, writing to the fashion councils of New York, London, Milan and Paris, to demand change.

More influential people in fashion need to stop playing the blame game – agents blaming designers for not hiring a diverse mix of models, designers blaming agents for not providing non-white models – and work together for some real change.

 

Not White does not equal Not Beautiful.

 

 

Instagram: @pavlina__h 

The Age Of Fashion Through Advanced Style

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By Vaileria Dennis

A wise person once said “Ageing is not youth that has been lost but rather a new stage of life, one which can be characterized by opportunity and strength.” Looking at the fashion icons depicted in Advanced Style, an interesting initiative bearing the name of Ari Seth Cohen, photographer & blogger, it is easy to understand that age is only a number. Thanks to this amazing person, we are able to take a closer look at senior street style, allowing ourselves to be pleasantly impressed with their bold and rather elegant fashion choices.

Senior street style, a glimpse into the world of classic fashion icons

If you follow the latest fashion news, it’s practically impossible to not have heard about Ari Seth Cohen and Advanced Style. Having started as a blog, it is now also a book and soon will be turned into a documentary, presenting a unique glimpse into the world of the older, stylish, fashion icons. His pictures present stylish seniors, people who are classic fashion icons and often those that society tends to overlook.

As you look at the photographs taken by him, it’s quite easy to fall in love with the fabulous looks of older people and how they manage to remain vibrant and stylish, regardless of their age. The photographs truly speak more than one thousand words, having inspired people who work in the fashion industry to include a more diverse age range in their presentations and advertisements. These street style icons come from all around the world, featuring both men and women who have their own defined, fashion style. Now, these people serve as inspiration, not only in regard to the way they dress but also with their perception on life.




From senior street style to changed perception

If you were to take a look at most fashion magazines and ads in general, it will not take more than a minute to discover they are youth-focused. By presenting more fashionable seniors, Ari Seth Cohen has actually led to a change in perception that fashion fades as we age. Nowadays, young people follow these senior fashion icons, appreciating their style and also the life advice that they have to offer.

When it comes to healthy living tips, it seems that these older individuals have discovered the key. They know that it is important to stay young at heart and follow your fashion sense, no matter what other people might have to say or how they might perceive you. Advanced Style has changed the perception of older people; they’re no longer invisible but rather are appreciated for their colorful and fashionable presence. Young people perceive them as active and vibrant, following the fashion trends that they’ve so easily established.

These senior fashion icons teach us that ageing only brings more possibilities, especially when it comes to a person’s freedom of expression. Instead of fearing the process of ageing, young people are taught to appreciate the years that are going to come (something to look forward to).

The men who have been included in the initiative are dapper and impressive as their fashion choices seem to resemble more of an art form and the women, dressed in colorful garments are serving as a source of inspiration for the younger generation. They’re confident in presenting their own style without fearing that they will be judged. In the end, the main lesson that Advanced Style has to offer is that one should always remain young at heart, using fashion to express himself or herself. As for the actual choice of clothing…the only person you have to impress is yourself.






Exuberance is not only for the young

Senior fashion icons are often exuberant, impressing not only with their fashion choices but also with their words of wisdom. The photos that have been included in the latest edition of Advanced Style are accompanied by a brief statement regarding the photographed person. However, before you read these statements, you will definitely want to spend some time analyzing the unique combinations of colors and patterns. The fashion choices are inventive to say the least, both men and women demonstrating that ageing does not have to be a bad thing but rather a new opportunity for bringing out a person’s best features.

Fashionable seniors are a prime example of creativity and positivity. They demonstrate the art of smart dressing in its most beautiful form, eliminating a lot of clichés and prejudices we commonly associated with ageing. We are also taught that older people are just as valuable as young ones, serving as a source of inspiration at all times. They are not afraid of what other might have to say about their fashion choices, using clothes as means of personal expression. Final advice: never let age become a downside, but rather use it as an advantage, impressing others with both your fashion choices and words of wisdom!

Model Diaries #7 Love continued…

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Continuing on from Model Diaries #4

 

my fear of being “that” annoying whiny girl that wants to know whats “going on in the relationship”. Right now there isn’t much of a relationship, but i know i like you and if i act all nochalant, then you might get the idea i don’t care if you are with someone else, and i do care. Because i’ve had too many boys slip through my fingers because i haven’t said shit.
So even though i know you will hate the question, i’m going to ask if theres any hope for being with you – and no one else – or if you care as much as i do. And all i need is an honest answer coz then i can stop thinking about you as much, and start moving on.
Or maybe you have an amazing act down pat and you use this on all girls and you clearly have feelings for your ex, its karma that she cheated on you, and you would hate to hear that. But your comments about other girls you’ve been with and how you kind of rub it in, is a…

The Model In The Mirror – Self Acceptance Dominated By Influence

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By Margretta Sowah

The scrutiny of our genders is a source of contention for adolescents across the globe. Young men and women are constantly being reminded of physical inferiority. When we talk about Model rights we rarely acknowledge that perception of physicality is the emotional response the industry silences. What about the model in the mirror? Let’s take a step back and get a full picture of the situation regarding health within the modelling industry and how it seeps into the larger Zeitgeist.

There is no denying the correlation between models (or, to put it in the broader sense – people in the spotlight) and regular consumers who can’t help but be influenced by their peers. This is not peer pressure, it’s behavioural psychology.

According to All Party Parliamentary Group for Body Image, ‘Body image dissatisfaction is seen to undermine self-confidence, contribute to depression, and lead to the onset of a range of physical, emotional and societal problems. Promoting positive body image is fundamental to addressing other social and public health problems facing young people.’

If all behaviour is learnt from the environment then where is the primary place we form a negative body image? In the context of the Fashion Industry, is it too easy to blame the marketing machine? Perhaps. And this is a long standing debate that distracts from the solutions available to break social structures and ingrained in society.

Another point made on Dove’s #BeReal website was: Around half of girls and up to one third of boys have dieted to lose weight, children and young people with body image dissatisfaction are less likely to engage in learning and participation in school, and over half of bullying experienced by young people was because of appearance.

“Body image dissatisfaction has never been higher, particularly among young people. The pressure to conform to the impossible body ‘ideals’ we are bombarded with in advertising, magazines and on the catwalk is overwhelming and damaging.”

Dove UK, seeing there needed to be a change, launched ‘The Dove Self-Esteem Project’, beginning with the #NoLikesNeeded campaign at Women in the World. Dove is encouraging girls to realise: the only ‘like’ that counts is their own.

According to Dove’s #BeReal website: Generation of social media ‘like-chasers’ revealed as girls admit feeling prettier online than in real life – this is why the #NoLikesNeeded campaign has been launched:

1 in 2 girls say they are using social networks ‘all the time’, across an average of 4 different networks and are increasingly considered as being ‘always on’

The average UK girl takes 12 minutes to prepare for a single ‘selfie’, thus spending 84 minutes a week getting ready for selfies

The number of girls who say social networks make them feel worse about their appearance doubles between the age of 13yrs to 18yrs – 30% agree at 13yrs vs 60% at 18yrs

Girls aged 18-23yrs want three times more ‘likes’ on social media than girls aged 13-17yrs.

During research for this article I was reminded of the sense of urgency body image pressures can severely weigh down adolescents. When I was younger – pre-social media days – I definitely had anxiety when I compared my body to others. I knew I was different. But I also knew others were different too. I am glad I didn’t have the proverbial social media status intimidation. Can you imagine how the youth are coping? Being overexposed and underdeveloped – in the sense that the body still is growing. I read somewhere it takes 24 years for the brain to full form. So if you are 13/14/15 with a warped sense of value because of the behavioral pressure society puts on us to be ‘thin and free’, how can you fully live out to your full potential?

If we have the validation from our peers and ‘the mirror’ (our eyes are mirrors, too) then our lives will be perfect; or at least a little lighter. And if you are lighter, you will be accepted. And if you are accepted, you will be happy? Well, boys and girls of the world, that is not the case. Top Models, industry leaders, CEO’s and even your garbage man will all tell you there is fault in relying on others approval because it will always be undermined by their own approval of themselves. What I am saying is to #BeReal we have to ask ourselves some tough questions. We might have to ask others some tough questions, but trust that you are worth more than you think or feel you should look.

Dove truly believes everyone has the opportunity to make a difference in a girl’s self-esteem and the Dove Self-Esteem Project is centred around their #NoLikesNeeded campaign. Their ambition is to help inspire and encourage young women and girls to recognize their God-given potential, pursue excellence, and be undeniable by showcasing real role models for real girls.

There is no fast-track path to happiness or even body positivity, but it does start with the model in the mirror. Be a model for yourself – there is no likes needed, only love.

Jennifer Lopez’s Style Timeline

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By Calynn M. Lawrence
@fairytalefacesbycalynn

If you don’t know who Jennifer Lopez is then you must have been living under a rock for the last couple of decades. She is an award winning actress and musician who has done nothing but continue to amaze us over the extent of her career! That includes her fashion choices. This article is going to show some key wardrobe choices in Ms. Lopez’s career.

2000




In this image is J. Lo’s most remembered outfit of all time. Surely, it is not your first time seeing it. She broke the standard red carpet look at the 42nd Annual Grammy’s with this Versace number. It had become such an uproar that it had its own Wikipedia page and various chat rooms! If you were a typical on looker, you either loved it or hated it. Many people felt it was way too risque, especially for a curvy girl **side eye**. The plunging neckline and sheer fabrics are definitely eye catching. Others, however, thought that it was the bomb dot com for the very same reasons!




Later that year, at the MTV awards, she strutted through the event rocking true Bronx ensemble with her hip hop heavy outfit. She was making it a point to show that she’s still real and her around the way girl persona was still prevalent, even down to the seams of her outfit choices. Backlash for looking to “ghetto” or “tasteless” was of course given but obviously the star was un-phased.

2005




At the Macy’s Passport Gala in 2005, Jennifer Lopez was a knockout. The entire look was utterly breathtaking. From the deep blue smokey eye, to the classy up-do and navy gown against her glowing olive skin you could not help but fall in love with her this day!

2009




If you witnessed Jennifer’s enchanting appearance at the 66th Annual Golden Globes in 2009, you were most likely moved. She showed up in a stunning metallic Marchesa gown, dowsed in gold jewelry and accessories to match. She was surely a sight to see. Her outfit was so moving that she kept her makeup and hair very simple so as to not take away from it. With a slick bun and simply beat face, she undeniably knocked us dead with that one!

2011




In 2011, at the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty gala, Jennifer Lopez demonstrated her well rounded knowledge of not only street fashion and formal wear, but she wowed us with couture! This bright red was certainly out of the norm for the singer-actress who normally stuck to more earthy tones. But nonetheless, she slayed our lives and made very clear that she is a woman who can and will rock anything!

2016




You thought she was done with you, but Miss Lopez did not come to play! She worked the runway at the American Idol 2016 Finalists Party in this daringly diva-esque sparkling red catsuit. With a mighty marvelous figure at the age of 47, she’s still got it. Undoubtedly when she waltzed in the room, she was known as that spicy hot Lady in Red. Clearly, she has no worries!

As you can see, J Lo has come a long way over the years and is only growing more successful. She is someone who is not afraid of taking risks and being different in her career choices or wardrobe!

Sex Sells – The Pressures of Nudity in Fashion

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By Jessica Quinn

It has been four years since supermodel, Rie Rasmussen, publicly bashed Terry Richardson during Paris Fashion Week. In case you don’t remember what went down: Rasmussen told Page Six that what Richardson does is degrading to women and younger models “are too afraid to say no, because their agency booked them on the job, and [they] are too young to stand up for themselves.” The Internet has since then been flooded with stories from dozens of models coming forth and sharing how Richardson- whom the media has branded, “King of the Creeps”- exploited them and used his industry power to get them in their birthday suits.

In the world of fashion, how far are photographers and other industry professionals willing to push models in order to stand out and obtain their creative visions?

Nudity is a prevalent theme in high-end fashion magazines, and seems to be something that is (more often than not) expected of models that want to “make it big” in the industry. Models, like Rasmussen, are becoming more and more outspoken on the issue of exploitation that some photographers are guilty of, while others continue to timidly do as they are asked, in fear of being black listed by some of the biggest names in the business. However, not all photographers are crowned creeps- most are just doing their job.

Many of the models I spoke with about stripping down for a job said that they felt pressured their first time, but quickly learned how to gage each situation with caution and have built trusting relationships with various photographers throughout their careers. Their agencies confirm that they are comfortable going nude before sending them out and the models are always conscious of the each job’s (and photographer’s) aesthetic. “I always make sure everything is covered and done tastefully. Sometimes you can tell when the shot is supposed to be sexy versus when it is more high fashion or editorial. It’s the sexy shots especially that you have to be careful with as there is always a very thin line between tasteful and tacky,” says Gabriela Bloomgarden- who has modeled for photographers like, Neave Bozorgi and Camilo Rios White.

“Fashion photography is all about the clothes. However, fashion photographers have to add a creative side to the shoot to make the photograph stand out.”– says Anneka James, the Pictures Editor at The Linc. James is right. It is the pressure from designers and brands looking to set themselves apart from competitors and captivate the consumer. The demands that society puts on the industry to produce reflections of their greatest aspirations and desires are one of the driving forces behind the pressures of nudity in fashion. Fashion is a business and sex sells.

 

Website: Jkaquinn.wordpress.com/

References: “Page Six”  / “Neave Bozorgi” / “Camilo Rios White” / “The Linc” / Image courtesy of Vogue Germany

The Search for Lasting Beauty

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A Christian Dior fashion model candidly reveals the pitfalls of the modeling industry and what she discovered about beauty and self-esteem.

By Laura Krauss Calenberg

Being on the covers of top European fashion magazines was no longer a dream for me but reality. I could hardly believe it! All I ever wanted was to be in magazines, earn lots of money, and travel all over the world. The struggle to make ends meet was finally over. Now I could wine and dine in Paris, my new home, and toast fame and fortune. After all, isn’t that what life is all about?

Focus on Physical Appearance

When I began my career with Christian Dior in Paris at age 19, my idea of beauty was what others thought about me. If people approved of me and wanted to book me for a modeling job, then I concluded that I must be pretty. My logic was that if I was successful and working then I must be beautiful. It was a dangerous thought-pattern because I was placing my self-esteem in the hands of others and what they thought about me.

Another way that I determined beauty was by association. I was working with some of the most beautiful women in the world who were appearing in the most popular magazines. Since they were my friends and peers, then I thought, surely I’m just as beautiful.

Another way I assured myself was by the men I attracted. Since I had lots of handsome, intelligent, successful men pursuing me, I thought I was beautiful. I was popular and had a lot of friends, too. And as my success grew and people recognized me, it was very easy to get invited to all kinds of parties and go wherever I wanted. So I must be beautiful if I have all these friends and get to go to all these places.

As a result, I became an egotistical, self-centered person living a very self-centered life. Most of my time was spent on me and being concerned about myself. “Me,” “myself” and “I” were my three favorite words. My entire life was focused on my physical appearance… my weight and my hair and my clothing and my overall attractiveness.

I once was on a two-month modeling job in Japan. Every day people were assigned to do everything for me, even tie my shoes. When I got dressed, there was someone to hold my dress and coat. They had three people to do one person’s job. It all fed my self-centeredness and feeling of self-importance.

The Schedule

I also became a workaholic. I worked seven days a week because I knew nothing was guaranteed — I could be out of work the next day. My looks could be gone anytime, so I had to take every job. I would work in Germany during the day and then fly to Paris in the evening to work and then go back to Germany in the morning. I was afraid of losing it all and had to hold on to it at any cost. So I would take any and every job I could.

The result was that I became exhausted and sick. I fainted one day in the middle of a shoot and injured my knee. I was laid up in bed for the first time in my career. Not being able to work was the most frightening experience I’d ever had, because even if it was for only two weeks it meant I was missing all the pret-a-porter (fashion shows) that I’d just been fitted for. I had to cancel fourteen shows. I was crushed.

But one day as I lay there bedridden and unable to work, I began to reflect on my life and question my values and ideas about beauty and what kind of person I had become within.

I realized that my views of beauty were inadequate. I knew for example, that my looks were going to change. My covers and my “tear sheets” (my pictures that I tear out of magazines) became out-of-date very quickly. I had worked so hard to get those photos in magazines and my agency wanted to take them out of my portfolio within six months because everything was out of style! I was constantly trying to keep up.

I also discovered that making a lot of money at a young age was great, but I found
 that the responsibility of managing it was overwhelming. It also made me question why people were really attracted to me. If I looked different or did something different or had less money, would my boyfriend still love me for who I am?

All these questions and doubts were hitting me when I was still at the peak of my career. I realized the shallowness of it all and began to feel very empty inside. After acquiring all I thought I wanted, I realized something was still missing. All the success and attention I received didn’t fill the emptiness I felt deep within.

What had happened? Where were my priorities? Who or what was I living for?

Insecurity of Physical Appearance

It occurred to me that I had been building my life on things that weren’t secure. It was built on what the culture thought or my boyfriend thought or how much money I made or how popular I was. I realized I was building my life on sand.

I reflected back to a time in Indiana where I grew up when a significant event had taken place in my life. “Searching for love in all the wrong places,” as the song goes, actually did me some good when a classmate invited me to a concert at her church. I accepted because half of the teen group were boys, and the church was very large, so I knew this could be fun.

But I had believed there was no need for God in my life. What was the point? My parents were in the midst of a divorce. Their faith wasn’t helping them.

But, while at the concert, in addition to the music, I heard a message that touched me. At the close of the concert the musicians told us they had some good news to share. I thought they were going to tell us about their first record deal or something. But the news they were talking about turned out to be that God loves us.

They talked about a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Wow, I thought, an unconditional love relationship! I had no trouble admitting that I had done wrong things in my life, that I hadn’t measured up to what God wanted me to be.

That night I prayed a short prayer asking Christ to forgive me and change me.

So there I sat in Paris years later, reflecting on that special event, wondering how I got to such a point in my life where life had lost its true meaning. I realized that I had neglected my relationship with God and chosen my own direction. No wonder I felt so empty! So, I asked God to forgive me for living for myself and the approval of others. And I said to Him: “Please change me and show me what real beauty is.”

I had struggled with
the danger of vanity for a long time. In America, $20 billion is spent annually on cosmetics; $300 
million on cosmetic surgery; $33 billion on dietary products. This illustrates how much time and money we spend on our physical appearance. Vanity is not beautiful.

Related to that was my habit of comparing myself with the looks of other women. Jealousy is another problem I’ve had to work on. I’ve had to learn to be secure in who and what I am and how God has made me, knowing that He loves me no matter what I look like or how I act.

Insecurity is not beautiful. It makes it difficult to have and be a friend. And you put a lot of expectations on others to compliment you and make you feel good.

Beauty is not physical appearance. It’s what’s found inside, what’s in your heart. Humility is beautiful, although it’s not popular in my business. Security and self-esteem are beautiful. That enables you to be free to accept and love yourself and your shortcomings.

MBFWA Feature – ZHIVAGO

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By Gabby Neal
@gabbyneal__

“tailered ready-to-wear, avante-guarde seperates and show stopping red carpet gowns”

As one of Australia’s most electrifying and diverse labels, ZHIVAGO – meaning “daring” in russian, sure did not disappoint at this years MBFW. Co-designed by friends Lara Kovacevich and Lydia Tsvetnenko, the duo kicked off their show with a theatrical performance by which they poked fun at the superficial lives we lead now-a-days through social media. A theme which continued throughout the show.

In terms of fashion, we saw a lot of blacks, navy’s and metallics oh and who could forget those killer heels…it’s moments like these when you truely feel guilt and admiration for the models. Those heels looked incredibly difficult to walk in and yet they did so without anyone falling – just.

Apart from the theatrical performance and killer heels and amazing craftsmanship, it was the hair and make-up which stole the show. Backstage we saw the girls getting their make up done and we were like “omg this is amazing” but it wasn’t til the end when we saw them getting the fishing wire adorned that it all made sense.

You know… the concept of social media and how its distorting what we perceive as beauty etc etc..







 

Photographer: Brooke James – @brooketjames