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Model Television: Shallow as a Petri Dish

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2011-01-09


The fashion industry is bizarre. They champion individuality, but lord help you if you’re fat. So why am I watching America’s Next Top Model? Because I love watching drama, ramped up to the nth degree. It’s a little personal for me. My niece is doing modeling in New York, probably living the life I wish I could lead if I were 5’ 11”, bone thin, and gorgeous.

But I’m not, so I live vicariously through her photos posted on Facebook, and the occasional viewing of ANTM. It was hilarious to see the judges pick apart two young women, Chelsey and Ann. I felt more sympathy towards Ann, who said she’d been picked on. Chelsey felt that she herself was the “whole” package, and I guess my suggestion to her would be to have that gap between her teeth fixed. Ann seemed to have an odd Adam’s Apple that made me think, “possible tranny?” It was downright distracting. I guess those two things would fall under the umbrella of “uniqueness.”

However, the host of the show, Tyra Banks pointed out how much she liked Chelsey’s freckles in her Cover Girl mascara photo, and I had to wonder where these freckles were. Maybe on a 42” HD television they would have shown up, but on my old Mitsubishi analog, they just weren’t there. In fashion, the tiniest “flaw” is blown out of proportion. Depending on how the model works it, it’s either an asset or something that needs to be taken care of quickly. Five extra ounces makes a model either “voluptuous” or “absolutely cow-like.” A sprinkling of freckles can add “innocent charm” but woe is you if your freckles stand out in sharp relief like urine on snow. I’m not fond of tooth gaps, but it didn’t seem to stop Lauren Hutton.

I tend to think people in the media, particularly actresses and singers, look alike and sound alike to the point where I can’t keep anyone straight. That’s why I was so thrilled that Susan Boyle got a break and is selling millions of records. She sure doesn’t look like any other singer out there, and thank goodness for that. There’s a weird sameness to most actresses/singers these days, like shampoo bottles on a drugstore shelf. Men seem to get a break; if they are fat or unconventional looking, it’s okay. But a woman who doesn’t fit into the cookie-cutter definition of “beauty”, well, she’s SOL. With the exception of Boyle, of course, and even she got a makeover as soon as people realized she wasn’t going away anytime soon.

That won’t stop me from looking at Vogue and envying that particular lifestyle. I glance at $1,000 purses and $38,000 fur coats and I think, “well, it’s affordable for SOMEONE in this world,” but as for actually buying something like that, even if I did have the money, I’d skip it. I’ve learned that having an expensive-looking bag on your arm doesn’t mean you’re rich. As my brother said when I commented on one of my niece’s photos in a regional magazine and not recognizing her (her classmates didn’t either) “it’s all an illusion.”

Except for Chelsey’s gap and Ann’s Adam’s Apple. I wonder how THOSE looked in HD.

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