Feels like the first time

10 Jan

I’d been a fashion model for years – on and off my entire life, actually, and I thought I’d conquered the universally recurring nightmare of being naked in public. After all, I’d changed in front of countless other people – other models, designers, and (usually) gay men, and it never really fazed me. During a fashion show, models are little more than store mannequins to be changed like living Barbie dolls as fast as humanly possible and scooted back out on stage for another round of looking tragically cool and hiply detached. We’re practically schooled on looking as if we don’t give a damn in order to keep the fashionable fantasy alive.

So when my college professor asked me if I would consider modeling for the art department, I thought it’s be no big deal. I’d been naked in front of people before, right? I gathered together the necessary items: a robe, flip-flops, and a cushion to sit on during longer poses, courage…., and I went into the class only to discover that nothing was the same. With fashion modeling, focus is entirely on the clothes. Your body is merely a hanger to show them off. In art modeling, the body is the focus, and I had nearly 20 students staring at mine. The only fashionable fantasy I had was dreaming I was back in my robe again!

Thankfully, the first class ended and I was able to calm down and realize that they are truly there to learn and create. To this day, I have never had any incidences or feelings of being objectified. Everyone has been completely professional. Art students are the best, and I love the creative process. I feel like I’m learning along with them as I listen to the instructor’s guidance. The thing that terrified me beyond measure has become one of my favorite parts of my work.

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