Tuesday, May 20, 2008

drugged out and... fashionable?

Right before I left for March Break, I decided to enter this modeling competition. It was a total shot in the dark, but it's something I had always toyed with in my mind. The competition was being put on by Vmagazine and Ford modeling agency, thus, I deemed it credible and worth a shot. Over the next 2 months, I rallied some friends to vote for me, who rallied their friends to vote for me and I managed, in the popular vote to stay in the top 12. A good showing.

Ultimately, though, the final decision of picking three finalists (from a pool of over 1000) came down to industry professionals. Let me just say that I am not bitter at their decision. It is what it is. And it is symptomatic of the fashion industry in this moment... supposedly. They picked three white boys from Ohio, Alabama and Tennessee, all in their teens, all 6'1". According to the official rules, the selection criteria, determined by "a panel of judges...consisting of individuals from the modeling, casting, fashion, and fashion magazine industry... [will judge the finalists]... on the following criteria: (i) the Finalist’s “match” with the current modeling and fashion industry “look”, and (ii) the originality, creativity, appropriateness to subject matter and sincerity of the Personal Statement." Now, while all three of these boys match up in their look, their personal statements definitely lack orginality, creativity and appropriateness to subject matter and sincerity. They read (i) "Thought I'd give it a shot" (http://www.vmagazine.com/vmanmodel_viewprofile.php?model=7674), (ii) "This is a dream of mine. I love Hedi!! [Hedi Slimane the photographer for this contest]" (http://www.vmagazine.com/vmanmodel_viewprofile.php?model=7671), and (iii) "Because I look good" (http://www.vmagazine.com/vmanmodel_viewprofile.php?model=7670).

If anything, the personal statements are cliched, taciturn and boring/arrogant. That set aside, because we all know how much fashion models actually talk, let's check out their look.

My mother responded "they all look like druggies" when shown their pictures. "Crack, Meth and Budweiser" responded someone else. They all share a sort of scrawny muscular bad boy not intimidating types who could be spotted on a street corner in a hoodie, smoking a cigarette. I thought this look was done? Didn't Lindsay Lohan and co. exhaust the checked out of life (nudge nudge wink wink) stereotype? I knew the industry was favoring a skinnier model with a less A&F look, but I didn't think that the men were still catching up with the women of pop culture and were stuck in rehab. Drugs and drug addiction isn't something to joke about but, somehow, the paparazzi has forced its way into the personal lives of the stars and caught them in their lowest of low moments and turned it into an en vogue look.

Maybe it is just my taste, but I'd like to see it done with a little class. It might be nice to see these boys modelling something else besides their bare chests in horribly pixelated images.

While I will go on my merry way and pursue jobs and maybe continue to pursue modelling, I can't help but feel the competition was a little capricious in its being carried out. With over 1000 contestants, I definitely wasn't counting my chickens... and I know the contest could have gone any way. Why did Calvin Klein pull out half way through the competition to be replaced by Diesel? Why wasn't the contest period thought out so that it didn't have to be pulled back, impromptu, by two weeks? Why was there a major open call for models throughout the USA DURING an online competition? Why were the final three lumped all together in the rankings online, nos. 949-951? Why did the location of the final selection change both in date and location (from NYC to LA) during the competition? The fickle nature of the rules may also just be symptomatic of the fickle nature of the industry...

All that said, there were definitely a sizeable number of stunning guys in this competition. Flip through the pages yourself: http://www.vmagazine.com/vmanmodel_topten.php. In the end, the look someone searched for in the competition can go any way. It is subjective, it is unpredictable. If these three men that the panel of judges selected is the look the industry currently seeks (because, you and I both know their personal statements didn't win them the competition), I am fairly confident that I will continue being myself until elegant, classy and intelligent comes into vogue.


Anonymous said...

you have to keep in mind that these models were for Hedi Slimane, and he only goes for chicken-chested waifs who appear to have eating disorders.

That's what's "in" right now, but these things are cyclical.

Tia Nichole said...

love it. id vote for you.

morten_g said...

7 and 8 were awesome. Other than that... nah. Not really any guys I would wish upon my most mortal enemy photographer.
And the three finalist guys - not really that scrawny considering that they are 18-19 years old. That is what guys look like at that age... If you want horribly small then look to the Dior mens.

Anonymous said...

I know you might be upset, but your comments are incredibly elitist. While they appear similar in some regards, they hardly look like they have eating disorders - I know perfectly healthy people who look like that. These are kids graduating high school, not drug-addled street urchins, so you shouldn't really level complaints at them when you really have issues with the organizers of the competition.

Stefan said...

All fair comments. I do concede. I think, mostly, I take these three finalists as figureheads of the organizers of the competition (or at least the judges). The specific type of guy they chose, I admit, is a specific taste. I personally feel that they all look a little washed out. As for body type, they're slim, I have no problems with that. I guess I just had higher hopes for the outcome of the competition. Welcome to the real world Stefan.

Anonymous said...

I just love your weblog! Very nice post! Still you can do many things to improve it.