After my exhaustive and painstaking review of the basics of modeling as I remembered them, I felt adequately prepared to resume my passion to model once again. However, I had a suspicion that, as with many things over the past decades, there probably were some changes to how things were done that I needed to consider. After all, one cannot just buy Cheerios without the advice of a nutritionist or light bulbs without a degree in electrical engineering anymore because of the introduction of so many varieties of these very simple products. So, not forgetting the tenet of adaptability I expounded in an earlier blog, I thought it wise to do a reality check to ensure that I was at least in the same century if not the same decade as today’s models. Thank goodness I did because lo and behold I discovered this foreign concept called social media.
I am 60. I am completely different in shape and look than I was several decades ago. So people ask me if we are Facebook friends. What? Do I have a Twitter account? Is this an animal rights website for endangered bird species? How many followers do you have on Instagram? Now stalkers have their own app? That confidence I expounded upon earlier is now shaken. Am I the proverbial dinosaur in a field of tech-savvy racehorses? Maybe this career relaunch will not be as easy as I thought.
With a tad more research I have developed a rudimentary familiarity with Facebook and Instagram but am oblivious to Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter and the plethora of other platforms that have sprouted like crabgrass. I believe I abhor social media. I was raised that it was conceited to endlessly praise yourself publicly. The language is different, almost unrecognizable jargon. There is Urban Dictionary, smiley things called emoji’s and spell-check. Can you imagine the Declaration of Independence if it were written on social media? We would most likely still be part of the British Empire because nobody would have understood it although they would have all gotten a good laugh at the King’s emoji. And spell-check. Another tool to further erode young people’s appreciation of the English language and perpetuate the lack of success in spelling bees. Not to mention you have to check the spell check so as not to hit send unintentionally offending someone by sending the “corrected” message. Try typing the noun “duck” and see what spell check substitutes!
I do not get it. How on earth am I supposed to live my real life and constantly post pictures of myself always looking glamorous and elegant morning, noon and night? I do not know about other women, but when I wake up in the morning it’s pretty scary. It does not get much better even after I have my cup of coffee. My day starts with training (I said my shape was different, not out of shape and its damned hard work at my age to keep that). I have a ponytail and I do not go to my Pilates reformer, my weight training or ballet classes with makeup on. My hair is in a ponytail, and I go to sweat. I do brush my teeth and hair (hopefully with different brushes), wash my face, apply morning skincare products and (especially sunscreen). My mornings ARE NOT picture perfect.
So now I have to amend my plan of resurrection and figure out:
- 1. How do they do it?
- 2. How do I learn the basics of social media?
- 3. How do I learn which social media platforms to use?
Please fashion gods help this dinosaur adept enough to run with the racehorses!
TURNING 60 (and the struggle to maintain elegance) – Part 2,
How difficult could it be to jump start my modeling career? After all, I did it fairly successfully at a much younger age. I am far more mature and worldly than that naïve young girl of yesteryear. Piece of cake, right? I know what it takes to be a model because I have been there and done that. Or so I thought. So let me recall what it takes in my opinion.
First, it takes good genes. Unfortunately, this is something you have no control over. One either wins the genetic lottery or not of good skin (which you must maintain religiously), runway height and slim hips or a proportionately curvy figure and phenomenal hair (good teeth do not hurt either). Otherwise, success is much more elusive.
Second, extraordinary discipline is required. There are lots of attractive, interesting looking people out there but success only comes with grit and determination and a willingness to make the sacrifices necessary to succeed. This is an element over which you do have control.
Third, above I mentioned good skin. Well, that skin also has to be pretty thick because the life of a model is one of constant rejection. I remember being rejected six times in one day, going home and crying then getting up the next day to tackle it all over again. You cannot let rejection erode your self-confidence. If you do you will not make it very far.
Fourth, when the rejection hits you have to maintain your determination and adapt to the circumstances realizing you exist in an ever-changing landscape. You have to update your look and not become stale or stereotyped. Modeling is a sales job. You are selling your packaging to help sell a product.
So there you have it. Now, let me jump back in the fray. I am ready to compete again. Uh oh, what is going on here? Am I shrinking or are these young models really that tall? Well, not much I can do about that. I now empathize with my husband who tells me he was once considered a tall basketball player but if he played today his moniker would probably be “Tiny.” I see these models eating, not starving, yet they are so fit. Quite novel; training rather than starvation. Well, at least I have that base covered with my vigorous weekly training regimen of ballet, Pilates and weight training. Dodged that bullet. I have updated my look naturally with my silver hair which is very age-appropriate. I have always maintained my skin, particularly when it comes to protection from the sun.
My husband rags on me for being the “sunscreen evangelist” because I go around preaching the gospel of skin protection to anyone who will listen. The grit and determination did not diminish with age. Now that I have come out of retirement and walked a fashion show and sat for several photoshoots the results of which have appeared in several magazines, I am focusing on that self-confidence thing. It’s there, just need to dust it off. I have to remember that “no” is just a word to be cast aside unless of course, I am directing it at my children or husband. Lastly, I am mostly adapting to the new age of modeling, just have to figure out this social media thing. Working on it.
TURNING 60 (and the struggle to maintain elegance)
Turning 60 was a shock. Even with 365 days to prepare for its inevitable arrival on that fateful day I was woefully unprepared. I felt like I stepped through a time warp and my life and universe were inexorably altered, and not for the better.
On that wretched day, I refused all celebratory lunches, dinners or parties preferring instead to sulk the entire gloomy day. I was safely hidden away in my house, sporting my comfortable if not chic ancient Sponge Bob boxers and equally unfashionable t-shirt.
Clearly this morbid self-pity couldn’t last forever if only as a public service gesture to fellow mankind. A plan! I needed a plan to survive this cruel, yet naturally occurring and an inevitable twist of fate.
PLASTIC SURGERY? Nope! My husband thought I had lost my mind and resolutely refused further discussion even to the point of hiding my Sponge Bob’s if I persisted!
WORKING OUT MORE? Nope. Taking three ballet lessons from a private instructor plus two weight lifting sessions with a personal trainer weekly plus daily hour-long self-inflicted Pilates and core exercise sessions pretty much used up my time and energy. Hubby once again threatened to hide my Sponge Bobs if I pursued this avenue.
LOSING WEIGHT? Nope. Through an obsessive healthy eating regimen plus the above-mentioned training rigors, I have maintained a desirable body weight. Plus my husband does like to have a regular drinking buddy and dinner date. What to do? How to survive this soul-crushing, self-pitying and totally self-obsessive and pathetic time in my life?
I know! MODELING!!!
I could return to the career of my youth. The career I had loved with my entire being, heart, and soul. I had even been quite good at it and successful!!
Now how to do it? I needed a plan…. (to be continued…) Oh, and by the way, welcome to my first blog post.