Model Behavior and Me (Trigger warning)

I was once a model. It was super right? Right? Nope. It was horrible. I was deemed a plus sized model yet as I look at a photograph taken at that same time I see that I,  having dyed my hair to be LESS red for this opportunity, was stunning. I actually still am of course in a more mature way. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I have done the modeling, and really existed in that body. Before I knew my body was a betrayer.

Kat Fury, with her hair at her shoulders, a rich chestnut color, square glasses, blue eyes, and reflective make up. The photo was taken on a cellphoneThis was before the giant mole by my nose was removed and turned out to not be a mole. This was before I had learned food was my friend. This was long ago. I look at this picture though and I see more pain emotionally than I face now. Yes I am in pain as I write this but it is purely physical, the emotional pain is sort of numbed tonight. In that picture my jaw is dislocated so that I could escape my double chin. In my post about jaw dislocations Amanda made some comments about her own jaw issues and I realized, I have been unhinging my jaw for years. I didn’t even register it. I  just DO it.

When I was a model, work was horrible. Not only was I exhausted but I was shamed if I ate before work. I couldn’t lie either, they ask and I would say yes. The other models told me at times how AWFUL I was because I had no issue with a donut. I wasn’t aware of my allergies yet, in fact I would eat what I wanted which usually turned out to be meat anyway. I was always hungry however, and started to give in to the shaming, starving my body more and more. I’ll just eat less of this, I’ll just miss this one meal. This was dangerous territory.

It seems odd to be that people DREAM of having this job. The clothing, if it does not fit is forced to, even if it hurts. You are always warped out of shape. My breasts were almost always shopped to look less like real breasts. The shape of a real breast is forbidden in modelling. I also was told more than once at a call in that it was a shame my bosom was real and that it was the fault of my breasts that my belly was not perfectly flat. No one’s is before photoshop, a six pack is not flat unless you paint it on after all.

I was told too that my red hair was just wrong for me. I prefer it. Even in pictures where I am not looking my best I prefer that hair to dyed. Right now I am mourning it. I realize it may be three years or more before all traces of this black dye are gone.

Here is a bit of a time stream, and yes one of these pictures has a lot of cleavage. You can also watch my jaw line and you can see when I am and am not dislocating my jaw. (For those of you wondering, the headband is my fangirlism for Naruto).

Kat Fury at the age of 21. her hair is red, long and was nearly to her waist. Her shirt is pulled up really high to cover her chest.

Kat fury at the ate of 21 wearing a leaf village headband. The shirt button has popped and her very ample chest is not hidden at all. Her long red hair is nearly to her waist

Right here you can see the jaw issue, It’s exhausting to hold it in a specific place and it slipped back some on the bottom.

Kat Fury and Sprite at her wedding in December 2008. Kat's hair is a little dirty and is darker. it's only shoulder length.

In all of the above pictures my hair is red. It changes how I feel. I feel good in all of those pictures. I do not feel good in others where my hair was stripped of color. The red hair for me is a flag of identity. I am a redhead, I am gorgeous, I have glowing skin. It doesn’t glow with darker hair nearly as much. I should mention this is my favorite wedding picture and it’s candid. The photographer was supposed to be taking pictures of my niece (she of course did but she snapped this too).

I find it interesting in some ways that when modelling I was told my skin wasn’t clear enough, wasn’t good enough. My skin is actually WORSE now but it looks fine to me. I  have a surgical scar that is rarely visible but there splitting my face in half. It’s like Two Face but without the cliche and inaccurate portrayal of mental health disorders. The wedding photograph is actually of the side where the surgery was done and my face was peeled off due to a tumor. I felt so gorgeous. Sprite was a bit cranky but she always is when I am upright too long.

I was a sex symbol even if in a small way. Modelling by default means you must be sexy and gorgeous unless the ad campaign focuses on the ugly or weird. I never did any of those, though that was what I applied for. I was deemed too pretty to be ugly and weird. I remember feeling so out of place because this notion contrasted with my previous experience of being deemed too ugly and weird for society, love, food, or any semblance of an education. It shook me to my core, and I began to wonder, what if being a model meant I was about to be raped again. I was so afraid during that time.

I do not have any pictures of me modelling now, they were lost via illness, homelessness, and abuse. In some of the pictures I wore a bathing suit, and frolicked with other girls. I remember asking a model about being the only asian around and she commented that was how she got work. Being the only one around. She had to be the palest, the prettiest and the most non Asian looking in the group. I noticed too in every ad we were in even I was photoshopped to be whiter. I expected thinner but, I am so very white. There are times when I had to have reshoots done because my skin reflected the light too much. Most of my home photos have elements of this. My own photosensitivity likely plays a part.

I remember some of the lies about food we were told, I remember girls crying. I remember always feeling in a daze from pain and working extra hard to not be lazy because pain was laziness. I remember when I was caught eating a hamburger walking in to a shoot and the photographer screamed, “We can see the burger in your stomach.” I remember too, a sense of relief when I didn’t have to model anymore. When I was done with it.

I didn’t model for long, about a year. I did model clothing for free first, and then there were ads for more clothing. I was always reminded that in every photo I must be an object, I must not be a person. A model is a hanger for the clothing and must do nothing to distract from it. Another reason my hair was de-redded was this claim. Red hair makes it harder to match clothing. Since I dislike pink, and never actually had to wear colors that would’ve clashed with my hair this seems bogus to me.

I am left to wonder, was I ever so much the ugly duckling? I have as I have aged eschewed more and more of society and it’s lies and pain. I seek outsider groups. I seek outsiders. I seek my people. I no longer feel the urge for fame just fortune, and really fortune for me is more having enough to eat, and not having to be afraid of losing my tiny income should a glitch happen in a computer. I hold my breath at times and pray.

Modeling did help me to realize that any rape I endured at the hands of the four “men” who did rape me was not because of looks, and that rape is not about sex. In fact when I was raped each time I was never near my finest appearance. I was a minor child, I was the fat kid who was in so much pain and so angry she was cutting her body apart, and I was a prisoner in my home being starved in the hopes that I would start looking like a minor child. None of this had to do with appearance. It had to do with my being vulnerable, it had to do with my being “out of control”, it had to do with my bisexuality, it had to do with my not conforming to the actions a “wife should” and instead seeking things that satisfied me, effected society and would open doors for other people with disabilities.

Modeling challenged my supposed bulimia. I am still not positive this was a misdiagnosis or was a correct one as a child. I think it was both. I do know that I have not lost a battle with it except during attacks of PTSD since I was 17.  The urge to purge is almost non existant and when it comes, it is again with PTSD. Even then I can usually stop myself from obeying the ghosts of fathers and failures past.

Modeling is not something I would ever expose a minor child to. I think with the societal body dysmorphia that is considered normal we need to be hyperactive about who models, and we need to protect our children from the dangers of photoshop and unrealistic beauty. I rememebr not even recognizing myself in a few ads. Most of them I couldn’t quite spot the Kat.

Modeling helped me find who I am, in the worst possible ways. I denied for years that I was beautiful during that time. I was not the token fat chick in so much as I was not fat. I was actually amid the thinner girls there. I was deemed a plus size model because I thought I was fat. I denied my own wants for my body. In the next few years I will obtain contacts, I will reclaim the red to my hair even if the follicles no longer add it, and I will do a sexy photoshoot for me. No photoshopping, just my body as it is. I don’t plan to shave my legs for this photoshoot either. I will model my inside with my outside.

Now you have it, my dirty little secret. I took part in mass media!

UPDATE: Forgot something, yes I got paler over time. The pictures in the middle have me with what passes for a “tan” in the summer. I haven’t let myself get that much sun in years. The only pictures with make up beyond lipstick are the wedding photo and the first model age photo.

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2 Comments

  1. Aw, you are soooo adorable!
    I’m so loving your smile and the pic with the geeky headband.
    Thanks for sharing all these stories from your life. I’m also looking forward to the pics of YOU. As you are.

  2. I am looking forward to those pics too. Partly because there will be no photoshop. If Rita Hayworth didn’t need it why should we now? (I love her, she was a Latina and often as she was older talked about how painful it was to be made to look white. She also was a sex symbol for the entire US during the second world war. I find it a bit ironic so many racists love her too ignoring her race.)

    I kind of was shocked to see how young I was in all those pictures. Not that I am particularly old but I was someone else mentally.


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