Beauty Part 24:06 PM
I would say it was a little over a decade ago that I learned a very important lesson in terms of beauty. At the time I was slightly aware of it's importance, I knew how to apply it, but I didn't know what a great shift in thinking it was.
It was my first year at FIT and as I was going back to my dorm, two ladies stopped me and said they wanted to use me in a profile for New York magazine. The profile was to show students from different colleges in NYC and would be featured in the September issue of the magazine. Cool, right!?! Truly a NYC experience! So they gave me the directions to the studio and the date and time.
On the day, I made my way downtown on the west side and trust me this was authentic. The studio had this artsy NYC feel and here were all these beautiful people. Talk about intimidating. Just a note to those interested in modeling, keep in mind that there is a lot of down time, especially if there are a lot of people being photographed. Basically, bring a book, bring music, anything to keep the nervousness at bay.
Eventually, it was my turn and I can't even remember all the details, but I do remember that I was nervous as hell and the photographer kept telling me to relax. A couple pictures were taken, I was told the same thing from before and I left as they focused on the next person to be photographed.
Time flew, summer came and went, and I was on my way back to college. As soon as I was on American soil, I went on the look out for New York magazine. I found one at a newstand and I flipped to the feature and............ I wasn't in it.
I won't lie, I was bummed, but I took it in stride and remembered what I did wrong. If you wrong would be the correct term, seeing what I did was not correct. Basically, I let my fears and nerves get the best of me, paralyzing me and that is one thing the camera does it picks up your emotion. Plus it doesn't help that my face is an open book when it comes to my emotions. I think at that point I decided to just have fun when it comes to taking my photograph, not make such a big deal about it. Little did I know that an opportunity to try my new way of thinking would arise a little under two years later.
The day of the shoot was a brisk and cool day, so I threw on my favorite orange cardigan and went to classes and the photo shoot. As usual, a lot of waiting around, at one point the photographer was taking pictures of this gay, Arab guy who was such a doll, that you either loved him to death or hated him because you were jealous of him. When it was my turn, I had fun, I smiled like crazy, I think I even jumped around, I had crazy fun and I photographed well. After me, my friend was photographed and that went well as well. Because I was so at ease, I was able to have a conversation with the photographer. I guess once again my face showed my emotion because he told me to hold still and took my picture.
Like all things, the experience came to an end and it was back to school, classes, projects, etc. Eventually, the experience was just a pleasant memory, until one day I was in the building that housed the Library and the Administrative offices and I saw the photographer in the company of the faculty member. They were very happy with the pictures and there was talk of Polimoda using the photographer to take pictures for promotional material for the college. I was told that they would let me know when they would be doing it.
A few weeks later, I was in the park to the back of Polimoda with a lot of Italian students. A lot of who I had categorized as the beautiful people. In the beginning the photographer was setting up his camera to take pictures of the students on a bench. When he was finished he had us sit on the bench, positioning us where he wanted us. Now, here was I thinking I would be in some corner or to the back, but where did he put me? Right smack in the middle, they gave me a book to pretend to be reading and the Italian students would be pretending to be looking in the book.
So once again, I decided to have fun. I threw on a Valley girl accent and started to make jokes and cracking up everyone and just having fun. I guess it worked because the photographer got his pictures, and moved on to the next scene to be photographed. What really made my day was not the whole "look at me, I'm in the middle of this" thing, it was after wards and one of the beautiful people, this absolutely glam Italian student came up to me in the cafeteria and thanked me for making the experience fun. That made my day.
A couple months later, some friends told me that they saw the photos at one of the tradeshows that Florence hosts. I never went down to look, I just appreciated the experience. Heck, I got a good lesson from it and the Italian students regarded me in a positive light.
From that point on, I realized that you can be gorgeous, incredibly beautiful, but your attitude can make you look ordinary, boring or ugly. People may notice that people who are not that attractive gets all the attention, but it's their attitude that is pulling people to them. Life is too short to be going around with a constant frown and the funny thing is when you are having fun, you forget about what makes you insecure. You become closer to the cool person you think you are and people see you as that cool person, they see you. And if you did not know it, you are beautiful.