Thursday, September 22, 2005

America's Next Ex-Model

I genuinely don't understand this outcry over a picture of Kate Moss doing coke. I take it you've all heard about this, as clearly an aging stick-figure shoveling drugs up both nostrils in a studio simultaneously outdraws Hurricane 2: Electric Boogaloo and the appointment of a new Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court in terms of newsworthiness.

What it is exactly about this story that people find so fascinating? Kate Moss promised to stop doing coke and then didn't go through with it? Folks, that's why cocaine is dangerous in the first place. Because it's hard to stop doing, even if you want to. Not to mention that it alters behavior and personality, so a normally-honset person (assuming Kate Moss is normally honest, which is unlikely) might be willing to be dishonest if it means scoring more coke.

So, it's hard for me to believe people are shocked that a coke fiend might want to keep doing coke, despite the fact that she's a mother and she promised not to do it any more. I mean, she was, until very recently, fucking Pete Doherty, the guy from The Libertines! That man is, I would guess, now composed of 75-80% illicit narcotics. If he were to suddenly spontaneously combust, everyone within a five mile radius would get loaded off the fumes.

Barely a teenager and posing topless in a Calvin Klein underwear ad, Kate Moss sashayed her way onto magazine covers 15 years ago amid criticism of her uber-thin "heroin chic" image.

Now recent pictures of Moss allegedly snorting cocaine in a London studio have turned the 31-year-old fashion icon into a pariah, with fashion companies canceling or not renewing contracts worth millions of dollars.

Moss was dropped by Burberry, Chanel and Swedish clothing giant H&M. The British cosmetics company Rimmel London said Thursday it was "reviewing" her $2.3 million contract.

A pariah? How can someone be a pariah in the world of modeling because of drug use. That's like saying a guy no longer fits in to the world of mechanics because he has a grease stain on his jumpsuit. A trendy drug habit is not just a possibility when you become a model; it's a goddamn neccessity. It's right there in the handbook, right after the chapter on suggested vomiting techniques and before the one about weaseling out of conversations with Ben Affleck when you find yourself at the same party.

Because normal girls who don't do 50 rails before 11 am don't look like this:

People, there are only two ways to cultivate this particular look.

(1) Swallow a whole handful of tapeworms and hope for the best
(2) Stop eating and start snorting

It's a sad reality of the fashion industry, and of the world in general, I'm afraid.

We start by teaching every young girl that they want to grow up to be a model. Then, we push models towards this ideal that's not particularly attractive or healthy. And then when they cheat a little bit to reach their goal, we ridicule and mock them relentlessly, and act as if they're the worst people on Earth for making those decisions.

I don't know if any of you watched the season premiere of "America's Next Top Model" yesterday. Okay, I'm sure most of you did. Anyway, once again, I was stunned at just how much these girls want to be models. And only models. There is no other career prospect that could create this kind of giggling, adrenaline-fueled insanity in young American women.

"Congrats, girls, you're still on your way to becoming neurosurgeons!"

Most can't even elucidate why they want to be models. One girl did seem to have it figured out - she answered that she wanted to be a model because she wanted to get her "hair and her nails done" all the time, and to wear nice clothes. That's a reasonable answer. But the other girls all fall back on the same extraordinarily telling phrase: "This is what I've wanted since I was a little girl."

ATTENTION PARENTS: If your pre-adolescent daughter wants to grow up to be a model, you fucked up. That's all there is to it. I know you're gonna read this and think, "It's the TV glorifying Paris Hilton!" But I don't want to hear those kind of lame excuses. Hell, I didn't tell you to spawn; you did this on your own. Wanting to dress nice and strike poses all day is not ambition, even if you are well-paid, and your kids should grow up knowing there's more to life than that nonsense.

But that's not even the best part about that show. I'm constantly delighted by how the producers, host Tyra Banks and her panel of "fashion experts" have been forced to invent, literally from scratch, a complex and nuanced conception of the "art of modeling."

Because really, really, when you get right down to it...there's not that much going on. A model is a woman with an attractive but unique look, with a frame and body size that's ideal for wearing contemporary fashions (this is where the coke habits come in...), who have the stamina and patience to capably pose for photographers over the course of several hours. Oh, and they have to be able to strut down a runway, and then turn around and strut back behind a curtain, often while wearing feathers, beads or other stupid crap no one generally wears in public.

That's it.

But that's not really enough for a whole show. That's not even enough for a half-hour episode. The prospective models would show up, most of them would be kicked out immediately for not being tall, thin or pretty enough, and then the remaining few would look at a camera and walk down a little runway in some ridiculous get-up made entirely of highlighters and industrial-strength adhesive. Done. You're a "top model," a job that, going by the show's example, consists of making brief appearances on the next season of "America's Next Top Model" and, occasionally, Tyra Banks' chat show.

But on the show, there's a lot to it. A LOT. For example, last night, on the season premiere, I girl tripped while walking down the runway not once but twice. Okay, now, that's the entire job, is it not? Walking in high heels? If you can't do that, you're probably just not qualified. But she's not the girl that got cut; they cut some other (and more attractive) girl for no good reason. Huh?

The UN doesn't hire Swahilil interpreters that don't speak Swahili, networking companies don't hire IT guys who have never used a computer and George Bush doesn't hire anyone who doesn't have ties to wealthy, corrupt industrialists. So why would Tyra Banks want to hire a model who can't walk around?

Oh, right, cause it's funny and I'm here talking about it on my blog right now...Right...


Konrad said...

Stupid modelling world. I think even being a porn star can be healthier (if with condom I presume, but this is not the rule obviously).

Random Aggression said...

Great post. Modeling is hardly a talent. Most of those women seem so sad anyway.