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My Model Life Didn’t Resemble ABC’S “A Model Life”

If you caught the recent ABC special on modeling in New York, you got a heavy dose of turmoil. First there was the girl scarred, emotionally anyway, by the photographer who asked her to give him a lot more than a cute smile. Even a teen should have had enough judgment to know that the sleazeball was lurching way over the line with his request. She should have hightailed it outta there not obliged him! To put parents at ease, let me just say that nothing like that ever happened to me or any models I know.

Then there was the gloomy punker, Ehren, determined to keep modeling even though her debt to the agency was growing and she didn’t seem to be having a grand time. All the rejection clobbered her self-esteem because, she claimed, “It’s so personal. It’s not like you’re a carpenter and they’re criticizing a chair you made. They’re criticizing you.”

Ehren’s got it all wrong. It’s so not personal. How much did she have to do with creating her looks? Aside from her haircut and fashion style, very little. It’s all about genetics—a crapshoot. Are you going to cry and feel worthless if you lose the lottery?  I’d be much more upset if someone criticized something I created—something that took talent and effort—than my face. Looks and self-worth should not be linked, and that’s the first lesson a model needs to learn in order to handle the constant rejection that is part of the job.

Ehren Dorsey   Credit:  Mother Model Management

That’s not to say I didn’t weep at times when an empty chart and bank account threatened my modeling career, but only because I wasn’t quite ready for my carefree international adventure to end—not because I felt like superficial flaws were shaking my sense of self.

Come to think of it, I have written an essay about my rear that hints at my self-esteem drooping along with my posterior. The ABC producers and I must have had the same hunch: this kind of frailty makes for good drama. In reality, it’s better to stop sniveling, get off your imperfect butt, and get to the next casting.

Most of the models chiming in on ABC.com agree.