Last weekend I saw something extra-ordinary- a photo shoot for a bikini label. No, I wasn't asked to model (I wish!)) I was just a friend helping out.
On a beautiful beach a couple just north of home the weather was very hot. Stripping down to a bikini when there is a swimwear and underwear model in a close vicinity isn't great for the old self esteem let me tell you. Well, so I thought, at first, anyway.... Read on!
This model was stunning! Her body was pretty much flawless to the eye. I was actually comforted to notice a tiny pimple in her chest and a few little stretch marks on her bum. But her features were beautiful and she had the perfect look to be a swimsuit model. She credited her good looks and toned body as being "genetically blessed"
When I got taking to her she was absolutely lovely and really easy to chat to. I spoke to her about The Girl Campaign and she was telling me that she had many issues with her self esteem when she was a teenager. She said she fluctuated in weight a lot and wasn't at all happy with her skin. She remembers times where she was the victim of ridicule from boys. She stated "Being a teenager is such a confusing time and with social media it would only be getting harder."
The model (I should have given her a fake name shouldn't I?) ate pizza the night before the shoot, a packet of Jellybeans while driving between shooting locations, and mixed nuts, lollies and liquorice between clicks of the camera. At a late lunch after the shoot she ate a burger, chips, salad and a juice.
That evening we were talking to the photographer (who has worked with Miranda Kerr and the likes of!) This particular photographer always tries to avoid too much editing and was saying that he didn't think he would need to do much to the days shots. Seriously the model required no editing in my books!
He got his computer out and was informing us of the tools and techniques he can use to edit any images he took. We look at editing techniques at The Girl Campaign so I was naturally really interested in this. He demonstrated editing techniques on one of the days images-making the model's bust bigger, stomach smaller, legs a different shape, edited marks on the skin, changed the colour of her hair and used filters to completely change the look compared to the original image. Very clever. Definitely can be art not reality!!!
The day got me thinking. So many females make judgement on models. It could be that you are flicking through the pages of a magazine or scrolling online and see a model and then we automatically make comparisons- wishing so much that you could look like her when of course she may not even look like this. Remember in some cases art not reality!!!!!
Also when you look at the images in a magazine we make assumptions. That the model is pretty, financially well off, happy and loved. Again we don't know any of this. Models are real people and have issues too. Oh boo hoo you might be thinking but seriously everyone has a past and we have no idea of theirs.
We may also stereotype models that look "skinny, toned or perfect" as restricting themselves from certain foods, being an obsessed exerciser or being 'stuck up' but I assure you this wasn't the case. I was actually shocked by the foods that this girl ate but at the same time a little relieved that other girls sometimes can't resist chocolate, lollies and deep fried chippies and would choose them over a piece of fruit! She said she enjoyed daily exercise but wasn't fussed if she couldn't make it to the gym. And I definitely wouldn't say the model was 'stuck up'. I got the impression that she was friendly, funny and compassionate.
To put yourself in the models shoes how would you feel having a photographer, stylist or owner of a label be critiquing and sometimes being critical of your features in front of you. "We will have to edit those stretch marks later" or "having a larger bust would suit that top better." Be empathic when the model gets the proofs emailed to them and can see all that has been edited. Talk about getting a complex. I guess models would have to try and shake it off.
The day was long. I was in awe of both the model, business owner and the photographer to see just how much preparation and hard work went into the day. The weather was beautiful but very hot, we had to lug equipment and walk decent distances and we barely had a break all day. Plus she did about 300 costume changes I reckon! I get tired and cranky going clothes shopping!!!
I started to think that even if I looked like that, I'm not sure if want to be a model. Guess it's not for everyone. Although maybe we all could be model something! After all I truly believe we are all beautiful in our own way.
So when I took off my shorts and singlet and was left in my bikini at first I felt envious, jealous, and frankly like a fat cow next to the model but during the course of the day and after much thought I felt comfortable in my own skin, appreciative for my body and the amazing things it has done and a little a ease knowing that all females have had or do have body image issues.
Now- just to change that!!!!!!!