ROBIN GIVHAN – Models do not have to be pretty, classically pretty, will work against you. Because, it’s a bit boring. The very definition of a model is Models do not have to be pretty, classically pretty, will work against you. Because it’s a bit boring. The very definition of a model is someone who has the unique characteristic that is aspirational or is the most extreme, intriguing, representation of something larger than themselves. It’s not enough to be pretty in order to be a model. Let me explain why fashion models aren’t pretty.
Pretty is so general, and generally is easily forgotten. In fashion, the idea of pretty is uninteresting and it’s not particularly marketable. Jym Benzing, casting director support the statement of Robin Givhan. “Pretty. How do I deal with pretty is not well? Because there’s a lot of pretty girls out there, most of them are on television, and it’s not necessarily about being pretty. It’s about can you take the pretty and put something else behind it and I’ve doing these for a quite long time. What we’re looking for, depends on clients, it differs because some clients are a little more edgy, say high fashion, they may want someone, say of a little more serious, a little more harder, a little more unique”
If you’re selling fashion that is meant to be edgy, and subversive and rebellious, you pretty much don’t want someone who looks like, your next door neighbor’s debutante daughter. If you’re trying to sell something that is meant to be super sexy, you don’t want someone who looks like the soloist in a church choir… Pretty is not at the edges, pretty is right in the middle. So, for a designer who is looking for, let’s say, a model to really represent a brand, you want that face to be memorable. A model is a rarefied creature. He or she is a fluke of genetics and timing and pop-culture enthusiasm.
And in the 1980’s, when we had models like Cindy Crawford. She had a sort of classic, American beauty look. She was tall, and had this big mane of hair, and she was also curvy.
Jym added “I help find models for advertising and runway show.”
The quintessential waif of the era was Kate Moss, and she really sort of rose to mainstream prominence through the advertisements for Calvin Klein.
“What I’m looking for is uniqueness. i am looking for someone who does not look the same in every picture.” Jym said.
The main reasons that Mark Wahlberg was in those Calvin Klein ads back in the day is because Mark Wahlberg had a really striking physique. He had like, what, a twelve-pack? I mean that was the point. And he also had a little bit of an edge to him. There was some, very particular, standout feature.
Jym stated, “I’d like to start a small conversation, solely for the fact that I’m looking for personality. Can they come out of their shell; some girls are like, No! I don’t, I don’t do that. If you don’t do that, sorry, well you’re not versatile. A director’s not going to want to work with you, because as a model, you are asked to do crazy things.”
“I think it’s amazing when you see some girls like Yana, who just comes in and she knows the language, she can go from e-comm to high fashion, and she had a great walk. There’s a girl that can go everywhere.”
“And then you see a guy like Sebastian, who comes in, and he’s just masculine, he’s strong, he’s sexy but relatable. Like, I could see him doing consumer brands all over the place.” He added.
The current state of the fashion industry is a good one for models of color, but it’s taken some time to get there. “Diversity has impacted the industry a lot recently, because now we’re looking for more people, more African-Americans, more Asians.” Jym said.
“Can pretty hurt you as a model? No, pretty won’t hurt you as a model. It’s only the very beginning of what they have to do. Because you have to be pretty and smart, pretty plus unique, pretty plus professional, pretty plus versatile, pretty plus an actress. There’s a lot it involves.” He explained.
It’s an industry that deals in fantasy, and dreams, and aspirations. In order to tap into those emotions, you really have to come up with ways that transport people. And that’s part of what a model does, to take a person to someplace that is very different from the reality.
Jym mentioned how does pretty should go with a package. “Are you pretty and are you the right size, the right height; all those things come into play as well. When you put somebody pretty out there, they have to do much more, it’s not just pretty.”
What’s does the word model means? It’s not necessarily something that’s reproducible, they’re unique. The whole purpose of a great model is creating this images that are unattainable, but I think, that is part of what makes fantasies so enticing.
You need some kind of tension, and to get that kind of tension, you need to have something that’s unexpected or out of the ordinary, or in some way provocative. And pretty is sort of simple, and calming, and easy, and just not that interesting. I just explained why fashion models are not pretty.
“LET ME EXPLAIN WHY FASHION MODELS ARE NOT PRETTY.”
Robin Givhan – The fashion critic of the Washington Post. read more about Robin Givhan www.robingivhonwriter.com
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