Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Be a Model or Look Just Like One by Jeannie Watt

When I was a teen I desperately wanted to be a model. Why? I haven’t a clue because, when photographed, I was the queen of the frozen smile, I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-my-hands crowd. I was not deterred by that small problem, however, and I used to longingly study those ads in the back of Seventeen magazine. “Be a model or look just like one.” Finally one day, disregarding all my mother’s warnings about never sending for anything out of a comic book or a teen magazine, I clipped the little add, filled in the information and stuck it in the mail. About two weeks later, I got a call. From the modeling school. Scared the heck out of me. The caller, aka the salesman, wanted to know if I had a whole bunch of money to pay for modeling school.  Money? Pay? I didn’t want to pay money. I wanted to be a model or look just like one. For free. Talk about innocence lost.

I eventually got the salesman to leave me alone and my mother never found out that I was being “recruited” by a modeling school. And when photographed, I continued to freeze and my hands continued to become gigantic clumsy things that I couldn’t control, until finally, around the time I started college, I had to face the truth—I was never meant to be a model. In fact, I was darned glad not to be a model.

Note how expression problem has been cleverly solved by photographer.
Fast forward many frozen-smile decades. My husband decides to take up photography as his hobby. The kids are gone. He doesn’t like to photograph animals, because we have so many it would be easy to do that. He doesn’t like landscapes, because we live in a pristine desert environment with spectacular mountains and sunsets. No. He likes to photograph people. Uh, person. Guess who?

I’m such a bad subject. I can’t give another expression, as he often requests. I only have two that don’t look like Popeye—happy and blue steel. When my photographer is demanding that I relax, I tend to lean toward blue steel. Eventually, though, after a couple years of being a subject (a word I prefer to model) I have learned to relax. Kind of. I still have only two expressions, but sometimes my husband can Photoshop it so it looks like I have a third. I'm happy to report though, that my hands are finally under control. I've found pockets to be a godsend.

Did any of you have dreams that, looking back, you can see you were not suited for? Such as the potential vet student who hated the sight of blood? (Uh, me again.)  I'd love to hear that there are others out there like myself...hint, hint. I'll give a Kindle download of any Superromance or a copy of one of my backlist to a randomly chosen respondent.

40 comments:

Donya P said...

I wanted to be a famous actress. I had my HOLLYWOOD lofe all planned out. Alas that never happened, so I am now going after my second dream of becoming a published author. Hopefully that one will come true one day!

Natalia said...

I actually followed through on my impossible dream. I do remember wanting to be Rainbow Brite for a short time there though around 1982 – that one didn’t work out.
Modelling wasn’t something I dreamt of because I hate being photographed. Also, the fact I’m about two feet too short killed that dream before it had time to grow!

(I don’t know if you realise, but many Kindle books – including the majority of Superromances – aren’t available for people whose Kindles aren’t registered in the US.)

Snookie said...

I dreamed of being a long haul trucker and driving across the country with my brother as my partner. Never happened, but I'm happy with the way my life has been :)

Jeannie, that's a great shot of you! Has he taken photos of you with your ponies? or with a spectacular high desert sunset as background?

Kaelee said...

Jeannie ~ I love your photos. I've seen quite a few shots of you here and there and I think you are more photogenic than you give yourself credit for.

When I was young I wanted to attend dances in fancy ballgowns. I played with cut out dolls and just wanted to be Katy Keene in person. I spent many hours designing my perfect dress. I did get to attend a few dress up events with my husband when he went to conventions. However he doesn't dance much and I am only a so-so dancer so I'm never going to be the belle of the ball.

Note ~ One of my earliest sad days was when I had to give my collections of Katy Keene comic books away because we were moving. I think that's why I have so many books in my basement now.

Jeannie Watt said...

Donya--I also had a dream of acting. I had a meaty supporting role in our 9th grade production of "A Feudin' Over Yonder." But acting didn't work out for me, either.

Good luck in the pursuit of your new dream!

Jeannie Watt said...

Hi Natalia--Too bad about that Rainbow Brite thing, lol. And no, I didn't know about the Kindle limitations. I officially change my giveaway to a Kindle download or a copy of one of my backlist. Thanks for letting me know. Now I have to try to edit my post wihtout making it evaporate...wish me luck.

Jeannie Watt said...

HI Snookie--Long haul trucker would be interesting. I think we have a reader here who has done that. You'd certainly see a lot of interesting places and country.

My husband has taken photos of me with my ponies, but what he really likes is me in a stark landscape or inside an old building. I've been in some scary old shacks, posing. The photo above was taken at an old mine across the valley from us. That was what was left of the living quarters.

Jeannie Watt said...

Kaelee--I love your dream. Fancy ballgowns are so dreamworthy. I used to go to the department store fabric department and look at the evening and bridal dresses in the pattern books and fantasize. So sorry about your Katy Keene collection.

EllenToo said...

I wanted to be a famous violinist and play all over the world with an orchestra. I started out playing a violin in a junior symphony orchestra for several years and actually did travel with it several years as a teen but then my family moved and there was never a chance to play again so that was the end of that....besides the fact that I seriously doubt any big name orchestra would have hired me because I wasn't star material.

EllenToo said...

Oops forgot to say don't enter me in your contest as I have all of the Superromances from waaaaaay back.

Mary Brady said...

Hi Jeannie, I wanted to be a stewardess ("flight attendant" hadn't been invented yet). My mother wasn't keen on a child flying all over the world, as that's where I wanted to go, so that career dream failed before I left high school. It was a great one to dream about though!

liztalley said...

Love the picture. Your husband has a good eye...even if he did cut off your head. LOL.

At first I wanted to be an archeologist. I read an Amelia Bedelia book where that's what she wanted to be and it intrigued me. Then I was set on being a fashion designer. Got up every Saturday morning to watch Style with Elsa Kliesh (I'm probably murdering her name) and I constantly drew outfits adding dramatic shoulder pads and little bows everywhere - it was the eighties and I was 13. Demanded lots of bows.

I also thought seriously about pursuing photography, but when researching the hours and travel, I decided against it.

That left teaching, so that's what I did.

Nice topic :)

Virginia said...

I never had any big dreams that I can remember. I do know one time I thought I would enjoy working in a doctors office so I went to school for it, hated working in the doctors office. I just wasn't for me.

Your pics are awesome. I also hate to have my pic taken, so modeling wouldn't be for me either.

Kristina Mathews said...

Jeannie,
This blog cracked me up. One, because I actually attended the school that promised to make me a model or just look like one. I quit sometime after the makeup class, but I was able to put my skill to good use when I dressed up as a Robert Palmer Girl for an 80s dance.

I also had to laugh becasue my husband is the photographer on all our trips. But he doesn't like to take "posed" pictures. So on every single one of our trips there is a shot of me lookng off into the distance. After re-tracing some of the steps we took on our honeymoon, Yellowstone looks the same but my backside is no longer that of a 23 year-old.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Great post! I loved Seventeen magazine when I was a teen. Although I never had dreams of being a model, I enjoy watching America's Next Top Model. I used to dream of being a business person. Have no idea why, but I soon found that was not for me. I suppose writing could be seen as a type of business, but with a huge creative side.

Regina Duke said...

Regina Duke chiming in. I wanted to be a rock star & musician. LOL! Well, after years of studying piano and violin, I realized that musicians have to work nights! I am a morning person. Not a good fit!

You look great and very relaxed in your photo. :-)

Rula Sinara said...

Wow, I love that photograph! Liz is right. Your husband has a great eye for photography and composition. Of course, something tells me that your being the only other person for miles isn't the only reason he likes taking photos of you ;). It's incredibly romantic.

I had many dreams that I ended up not pursuing for one reason or another (for some, external forces were at play). I wanted to be the next Jane Goodall. Then after watching Hatari with Audrey Hepburn and John Wayne, I wanted to be a wild animal vet somewhere in Africa. I watched another movie and wanted to join the National Guard too. Architect and teacher were on the list too. Notice a trend? One thing they all had in common...I tended to romanticize the career, LOL. The only dream that was a common thread through it all...becoming a writer. However, as a kid I was told it was a hobby, not a valid career. I guess that led me to dream wander a bit ;).

I have to add that Kristina made me laugh :)

Jeannie Watt said...

Ellen, Too--I am in awe that you played well enough to travel with a junior symphony orchestra. I played the violin for two painful years--painful to me and painful to those listening. I love, love, love orchestra music, but lacked the discipline to actually play well. I explained to my husband the other day how much the chin rest could hurt and how we padded them in practice. Did you have a padded chin rest? I seem to remember foam and rubber bands.

Jeannie Watt said...

Mary--I always thought being a stewardess would be so romantic. Imagine getting to fly to all those cool cities. Remember when there were all those requirements for being a stewardess and they could get fired for being pregnant etc? We've come a long way.

Jeannie Watt said...

Liz--An archealogist? Cool! That was one of my near miss college careers. What stopped me was the lack of employment. I became a teacher, too. At least there's a steady paycheck and we didn't have to get doctorate degrees in order to have a job.

Jeannie Watt said...

Virginia--I have to agree that working in a doctor's office wouldn't be for me, either. I've seen doctor office employees deal with some situations that would make me jump off my desk.

Jeannie Watt said...

Lol, Kristina--I think most of us have left our 23 year old backsides far behind. Also, I can't believe you actually got to attend "that school". I still wish I could have gone to the makeup and hair classes. Took me about 15 years to figure all that stuff out.

Jeannie Watt said...

Hey Vonda--I enjoy America's Top Model, too. I find it interesting that many of the women who are not conventionally beautiful in person, photograph so wonderfully. Also--did you read Seventeen back when the magazine was oversized? I still have several giant issues somewhere and my daughter was amazed at the size of it.

Jeannie Watt said...

Regina--Another violinist! Wow. Too funny about wanting to be a R&R star until you discovered the hours. So glad to have a fellow Nevadan chiming in!

Jeannie Watt said...

Rula--I absolutely love Hatari! It inspired romantic dreams in me, too, as did Flipper. I wanted to work with dolphins in the worst way--or perhaps I just wanted to date Sandy. One of the two. I tended to get career ideas from movies, too. Like you, writing has long been my number one dream, though.

Jeannie Watt said...

Whew! Caught up on all the posts during my lunch half hour. I had a little extra time, since I left my lunch at home...:-( I'll check back in after school and see what's shaking.

linda s said...

I, too, wanted to be a stewardess but on cruise lines. Unfortunately, I lived in the landlocked interior and no cruise ships to be seen. Which is to the good for I discovered that I get unbearably seasick.

JV said...

I dreamed of being a clinical psychologist, but time and circumstances have convinced me that I would not have fared well had I succeeded in achieving that goal. I'm too soft, too empathetic, too easily reduced to tears. I'd have been a heap of weaping goo after hearing the sad stories of too many people. I would probably have wound up in therapy myself.

I never had much aspiration to be a model because, at 5'0" tall, I knew that was never happening. Even so, I spent some time preening in the mirror as a young teen, thinking about how cool it would be to be a sought after model or maybe rock star. (Ha!) Oddly though, my daughter, at only 5' 1.5" tall, is suddenly being recruited as a model by a number of photographers (none of them for big magazines or anything, but...) She is quite lovely, but we never expected this because fashion requires tall and painfully skinny, as a rule, and because she never wanted to model, particularly. She has even been invited to participate in, of all things (height considered), a run-way fashion show. Go figure! And she's enjoying it, even though it still isn't "what she wants to do."

EllenToo said...

Jeannie,
I can remember having to pad the chin rest off and on....I think it depended on how long a concert we were playing but we had some kind of special padding that the orchestra conductor provided...seems like it was made of some kind of foam cover with cloth.
I only played for about 5 years before my father was transferred to another town and I haven't played since.

Jane said...

I wanted to a gymnast after I saw the summer Olympics, but I have not athletic abilities at all and can't imagine getting up on the balance beam.

Cynthia Woolf said...

Nice blog. I loved to look at those magazines, still look at the fashion mags, but never wanted to be a model, till they had plus size ones. Even then the plus size models are just regular sized women. I like the your hubby is using you as his model and you've learned how to relax. I love the picture you posted with the blog.

Jeannie Watt said...

Linda S.--Talk about a bullet dodged, lol. I can see where sea sickness would have been a major bump in the road.

Jeannie Watt said...

JV--How interesting about your daughter accidental modeling career. It sounds like a lot of fun.

I'm sorry--I laughed at the mental picture of you listening to your patients and dissovling into a weeping pile of goo. But many people need empathy. You may have been very sought after.

Jeannie Watt said...

Ellen--Too bad you had to give it up. I picked up a violin about ten years after I last played and discovered that I'd forgotten everything I knew. Not that I knew much.

Jeannie Watt said...

Jane--I was a gymnast and I stayed far away from the balance beam. That thing is evil. I so admire the Olympic gymnasts. It takes a long time to get moderately good in gymnastics, so these athletes have accomplished a lot, considering their ages.

Jeannie Watt said...

Thank you, Cynthia. I have learned to relax more. That photo is one of my favorites, too. I'm a huge fan of black and white.

Marcie said...

WooWoo! Check out the flash of thigh! I like black and white photos.

I did go to Barbizon modeling school when I was in my teens. They took us to lunch at McDonald's of all places. But alas, too short and that cheese on my thighs has never gone away.

Oh - do me a fave - tell everyone on the Super thread hello - I'm locked out and I don't know why. Tried to log on and nothing happened. BooHoo.

chey said...

I dreamed of being a pilot but my vision wasn't good enough.

Jeannie Watt said...

Marcie--another would be model--that's three models and three violinists. (I am the center of this venn diagram.) Lunch at Macs, eh? I hear all the models eat there. ;-)

I will alert the powers that be that you're locked out of eharl.

Jeannie Watt said...

Chey--I'm so sorry to hear that your vision stood in the way of your dream. That's rough. I hope you found something equally fulfilling.

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