Saturday, February 28, 2009

Give me attitude!

This was taken on a shoot I remember really well because I thought the studio was way too cold. That and the fact I never smiled from start to finish. Which was fine by me. I was freezing anyway! Sometimes, you remember a job for the oddest detail ;) Can you imagine I have a girlfriend in modelling (I won't mention your name babe. You know who you are! ;) who was almost NEVER asked to smile.

She did a lot of edgy looking shots with loads of attitude because she had that f**k off sort of expression. That ended up attracting top magazine spreads around the region especially in high fashion. She looked pretty unfriendly when she had to project that sometimes blank expression or half frown (it's funny for me because she's so NOT like this in real person. She's a real sweetie with a quirky sense of humour).

Anyway, she got tired of doing so many fashion shoots in the same vein. She had done so much magazine work but hardly any commercial work which may look all happy and smiling or even run of the mill but can pay big bucks depending on the brand. Models making loads of $ in this way via catalogs, mobile phone or smiley bank ads sometimes wished they could be transformed the way my friend was in high end fashion magazines. Well, the grass is always greener on the other side. It's actually great for any model's portfolio to do radically interesting, different shots which she was doing on a regular basis.

However, my friend needed to make more money to survive but with her 'look', it was hard for her to break into the commercial scene. She was also fully Caucasian and Pan Asians were getting far more work out here in Asia because they could also look local. Having said that, she finally got a print campaign in Thailand. It was for an MP3 player or something like that. Here's the funny thing. She calls me up and says "You wouldn't believe it! Even for a commercial job like this, I'm still hired NOT to smile"

They painted her whole face silver and she had to look utterly miserable. They needed her to actually cry for this because in the ad, she had blue tears dripping from her eye lids! They played weird music the whole day in the studio which they thought would help her get into the mood. It worked, she said. She's never been more depressed on a job. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry myself when she told me this but we definitely laugh about it now!

When I was modelling in Bangkok some years back, she saw me off at the lobby of where we lived and it was hard saying good bye not knowing when we'd see each other again. In this line of work, it's so haphazard with everyone's schedules. And a lot of the models lived in the same building so you get to know each other really well. Plus, I had a toast maker in my room which was quite a hit so I used to make sandwiches for everyone :)
Anyway, there we were hugging each other goodbye and she was saying she would miss hanging out with me. Her eyes were starting to go a bit red (you see I told you she's nothing like her shots! She's a real softie ;)

I jump into the cab feeling a bit sad to go. Thailand was rich in experiences and it was really fun for me. I met so many interesting characters. Well, the Thai chapter was closing with another country and another chapter waiting to unfold somewhere else. My friend was still standing on the porch as I waved to her from the back of the cab till she disappeared from sight.

Here's the funny thing. I see about 3 billboards of her all the way to the airport. She was wearing a wig and she had (yup, you guessed it) that f**k off expression on her face! ;) These shots of her were larger than life and so radically different from the girl on the porch without any make up who just saw me off. I stare at the billboard and marvel at the wonders of make-up and the illusionary worlds it can create. They had totally transformed her. She looked ultra cool but it's important to remember, there's a person under every surface no matter how glossy it comes!


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Such an interesting story, looks like u learnt a lot on yr travels Jojo.

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love the black n white photos. Very stylish! Amy :)

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