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Losing My Marbles In A Model House



By Carrie – OnOption Blog

I’m not sure why they call Los Angeles the “City of Angels”.  It’s a lot like those vans that lure kids in with candy-  they look really good at the time, until you’re in the van, when I’m not sure exactly what happens… but I’m assuming its not a chocolate party!  I know my last blog was quite dramatic and about my two day trip to Colombia, so I thought I’d rewind and share a bit of what I had been doing in the mini van- LA.

It was pretty lonely in the model house.  I was trapped in a building with no car and no phone reception- a modern girls worst nightmare!  (Also, this isn’t Rapnuzel, I wasn’t “literally” trapped.)  I spent nearly 3 weeks there attempting to go to castings miles away, relying on friends and my feet.  Work wasn’t as easy as I had hoped for and in a rather desperate attempt to make the most of it, being mostly alone, I spent my time test shooting and learning new, extremely important and helpful life skills!

I got the amazing opportunity to shoot with ex-model and serious photography rockstar Matthew Guion.  The location was spectacular.  The views, more stunning than anything I had seen, and the photos…well see for yourself:

Needless to say, I’m pretty happy with how they turned out.  I have never shot anything like it before.

With no car to get around, and living in an apartment downtown (that only had badass activities on tuesdays, like bingo- my favorite game in the world) I had to spend my time doing something productive.  Enter LIFE SKILLS via Youtube.  Oh yes!  Important life skill NO. 1.  Chinese finger trap assembly.  I taught myself how to make chinese finger traps aka finger prisons.  They are much simpler than I thought, but they can be used in a multitude of situations such as love- when your children are fighting or arguing, slip on the finger traps and lock them together, the more traps the better and wallah… Kumbaya! They can be used for self control in food situations.  When you’ve already eaten half of the box of pizza, and still think it’s okay to eat more, bring out the finger traps.  Example below

Needless to say I was rather bored in LA and even though there was no chocolate party, I had a lot of fun with my imagination… something we tend to lose as we age.  I hope that you all stay young and stay fun.  Just because you’re another year older doesn’t mean the life and adventure has to be sucked out of you.  It’s okay to be weird.  I’d rather be weird than boring.


The Birth


Did i mention he’s lush?

Bring your friend to work day!


Me At The Ball



Every princess has her Ball, right? Well, mine is the Met Ball. It was the event that marked my success… the milestone I had planned for. For years, I indulged in the stories from the proceeding year’s events- hearing other models discuss their time while sharing dressing rooms in shoots the weeks following. I wanted to be there, even if in the background, and this year was my moment.

The weeks prior I had stayed extremely busy. I spent extra time in the gym, doubled up my esthetician appointments and kept my manicurist on speed dial. I had to put my best everything forward if I expected an invite from any designer.   It’s an unspoken rule in the industry that you do not mention the Met if you want to be invited. No one likes a pushy model. So for months, we pull out the claws – taking the competition directly to the runway – no one admitting that they are vying for that invite.

Upon the suggestion of my agent, I booked a lot of work the last few months, but not particularly because I wanted to. I needed to get my face out there in front as many designers as I could. Walking in some pieces I wouldn’t even take a piss in, I gave it my all just so someone would take me to this damn Ball.

I received two invites.

I decided on the designer I had worked with the most. This would be the largest event I have ever worked at, and now wasn’t the time to start taking chances.

When I arrived at the fitting, I was particularly disappointed by what occurred. I’ve been in many hi-profile shows, but I definitely felt like a walking piece of meat at this one. No one referred to me by my name, I was either “you” or “girl in the xxxx piece”. Dresses got names, but not the models. If the dresses could strut themselves, it was obvious that we’d be out of a job.

The night of the event, I wasn’t prepared for the red carpet. I thought I would be, but I wasn’t. The screaming fans and New Yorkers lined the streets, filling the air with excitement. I found myself breathing deeply to stay calm. Why was I acting like some kind of newbie?

Once at the runway, it was business as usual, the same flashing lights, that same clank of my heels beneath me. Although I knew the whole world was watching, I felt at home on my blinding stage.

When it was over and the crowds died off, I joined some of the other models at a few after parties. This was probably least how I expected it. Behind closed doors and without the flashing lights, some of the most popular celebrities let their hair down and acted like normal people. For some of them, it was probably a good thing because they were actually pretty cool. Most of them were complete jerks however, trashing their clothes, treating some of the models like they were their personal assistants and generally leaving a trail of destruction in their path.

If this was what royalty looks like, I’m sort of happy to be normal.

8 Skin Care Musts You’re Not Doing



By Simi A Mira

Your skin is beautiful and unique but you probably aren’t doing all you can to keep it that way. Here are a few things you can do to take care of it.

1. The Double cleanse

If you have a dry-combination skin, it may be helpful to do a double cleanse in the morning and night. Begin with a creamy cleanser to remove makeup and any other products that are on your face then move on to a more astringent product to get rid of any dead skin and dirt deep down in your pores. Your face will instantly feel fresher and clean.

2. Exfoliation

No matter your skin type, exfoliating at least once a week will be beneficial to soft, smooth, silky skin. Using an exfoliating cream or wash on your face will remove dead skin and leave only the fresh skin layers. If you are going to exfoliate everyday, use something that isn’t super abrasive, but if you are going to do it once or twice a week, use something stronger. No matter how often you exfoliate, avoid anything with Salicylic Acid because it will dry out your skin and leave it feeling crinkly and old.

3. Alcoholic Cleansers

You’re dry skin is not a big fan of alcohol much like your liver. When you use cleansers with alcohol, you are drying it out and making it unhappy. Make sure to use a gentle cleanser that is alcohol free and try to follow up with a mask at night to rehydrate your dry skin.

4. Sunscreen

You may remember to put sunscreen on your arms and body, but most people forget to protect their face from the sun. The sun can cause for early aging and sunspots. If you are not a fan of makeup, you can just put some sunscreen on. Thankfully for the makeup enthusiasts of the world, many makeups come with SPF protection.

5. Don’t Let a Drought Stop You

Your skin needs water. No, I don’t mean splash your face with water.Drinking water plumps up the skin cells that would otherwise dry out and become wrinkly. It also helps to clear up the complexion to give you back that rosy-cheeked happy face. Not drinking water makes you age quicker and nobody wants that. So drink up!

Water is not only good for your skin but it does wonders for your health. The best part? It’s free. You don’t need to spend $40 on a special water serum that will last you for a week. You will also see improvement almost immediately. Water helps you lose weight and even helps prevent cancer.

6. Gold

Using products with gold can help rejuvenate your skin. Gold reduces irritation and increases blood flow. But don’t fall for the products that say gold on the label though. Real gold products are more expensive and don’t just say gold but actually list gold in their ingredients.

7. Avoid that Fake Stuff

There are many products out on the market full of artificial ingredients like artificial colour and artificial fragrance. These ingredients are skin irritants that can make your complexion spotty and unsightly. Avoid them like the plague.

8. Don’t Suffocate

Your skin needs to breathe. Don’t be caking on the cosmetics. Make sure to dab the foundation on slightly and cover your face lightly. Putting makeup on too heavily clogs the pores and allows for blemishes and unsightly blackheads.

From Alaska to Australia Part 2: The Cosmo Shoot



By Jasmine Alleva

The taxi driver arrived at 4:30 AM, hours before the sun would help me navigate the path to his car. I rubbed what little sleep I got from my eyes and tiptoed out the door, careful to not wake my flat mates on their only day to sleep in. My call time was 5 AM and because this was my first big shoot, there was no way I was going to be late. The driver and I exchanged small talk as we drove the dark streets of the Sydney morning. I was dropped curbside in front of a high-rise building, the taxi driver had already peeled off before I could even thank him for his service. I took a deep breath and walked up marble steps to the sliding glass doors of a lavish lobby. Fluorescent lighting stung my eyes while I waited on designer couches that looked like they had been ripped from the pages of the magazine I was shooting for that day. Was I still asleep? Was this all a dream?

I found myself lost in thought, pondering all of the steps I had taken to get myself to that couch, and then the sliding glass doors startled me out of my daydream and in walked a stunning 5’10’’ model. She began to introduce herself and I immediately knew we would get along swimmingly. She was from Texas, I was from Alaska, and while our states have a rivalry back in America, we practically became best friends due to our nationality. The editor of Cosmopolitan Bride Magazine came down to greet us in the lobby and led us back to the “lift” that would bring us up six stories to her gorgeous flat. I looked at my Texan counterpart and whispered, “What’s a lift?” under my breath. “An elevator,” she replied. “Oh, duh.”

The make up artist and hair stylist showed up shortly after. They were both so damn beautiful, I confused them for models and almost instantly barraged them with questions about how long they had been modeling and what agencies they were with. The editor laughed at my naivety and offered us all drinks and snacks while the sun started to light up the city below. I was taken aback by the entire process. I had only been in Australia for a week and was already working with a team of absolutely amazing, talented, and creative people. As I would find out over the months to come, this was not a unique situation and the stereotype of Australians being some of the nicest people on Earth is completely and entirely true. It was such a relief. The nerves that had kept me tossing and turning throughout the night had settled in my stomach and I was overcome with ease.
As our every flyaway hair was pinned back and our faces were contoured to perfection, the rest of the models and support team trickled in through the door. Finally, before 8 AM, the entire group stacked into a rented mini van and zoomed off to our first location of the day – an idyllic street corner in one of Sydney’s many suburbs. It was adorable and so were all the people enjoying their Saturday morning coffees at the cafes surrounding us. The models undressed in the street and attracted a crowd of onlookers. I had no idea where I was and had only just met the people I was with, but I trusted them and was ecstatic to be there.

A majority of the day was spent waiting around. I had been cast as a bridesmaid, so I wasn’t the most important person involved in the shoot, nor was I mad about that in the slightest. I was comfortable goofing off with my new Texan best friend, taking silly selfies in the van while the rest of the group was shooting. The locations were strung out all across Sydney, with stops in places that I had seen in books and movies my entire life. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of a place that was an entire ocean away from where I grew up. A vintage Fiat 500 rolled in, male models who looked way younger than they were played our male companions, we faked dined at an Italian restaurant, and we shared more laughs than my abdominal muscles were ready for.

The shoot ended in a Victorian style hotel room, which served as the backdrop for a fake honeymoon. An entire fourteen hours had passed me by like nothing at all and I wasn’t ready to head back to my model apartment three bus transfers away. I wanted to live out the life I was portraying in the shoot. Nevertheless, I had to part from the people I had suddenly become so close with. We said our goodbyes, gave our hugs, and I walked out onto the street with my stomach growling and my feet aching from high heels that were two sizes too small. With my eyes glued to Google maps, I meandered my way through an unfamiliar neighborhood to the closest bus stop.

The bus I waved down came to a halt at my feet and the driver opened the door. It was such a drastic step down from the sliding glass doors earlier in the day. “Wow, you look lovely. What was the special occasion?,” the driver asked. “Oh, thank you! I actually work as a model -” He cut me off, “A model? Why are you riding the bus then, love?” I gave a courtesy laugh and made my way to the back, slumping my exhausted body into a vinyl covered seat. I had gone from modeling for Cosmopolitan Magazine to the back of a city bus in a matter of minutes and I couldn’t have been more enthralled. Ah, the model life.

Feature Image:
Photographer – Thuy Vo, @vophotography
Stylist & MUA – Christine A Eagleson, @xpressionista

Surviving the Modelling Industry



By Pamela Simpson

They say that it takes a very strong person to survive the modeling industry. I consider myself extremely strong, having survived the death of a lover, losing a child, overcoming a skin-cancer diagnosis and coping with countless other lows in life. But still, I was not strong enough to cope as a model, and so my story did not have a happy ending. Then again, that depends on who’s telling the story, and on where the ending begins.

I didn’t land up on drugs or compromising my personal values for the sake of getting ahead, but I started down a horrible journey of self-abuse where I would starve my body of nutrients to the point of suffering illness and berating myself internally for never being good enough. I learnt to hate my body, and began to hate myself. Any form of happiness or fulfillment I thought I might get by being a model simply didn’t exist. And so I failed.

I was the model who never was.

Still, people always used to refer to me as ‘the model’. Even now, it comes up as a defining feature and some will still say ‘she used to be a model’ as though it was the best thing I ever did. No mention of the year I spent working with children in the rural eastern province of Zambia, or how I wrote a book. It’s a label that seems appropriate, given my 6 ft. naturally slender frame, but somehow I’ve never felt like it suited me.

I felt uncomfortable when introduced to new people (outside of the industry) who would say ‘Oh, you’re the model’ as though that summed me up. They had me figured out before I even opened my mouth. Being a model meant I was judged by those I worked for, and by those who had nothing to do with my career. I was judged by everyone I met and it hurt to know that I was automatically the unattainable, even though I was right there.

I felt like a ghost, living inside myself, always being looked at but never being seen.

An impressionable teenager and a late bloomer, I entered the industry when I was in the process of growing up; a very volatile time and extremely dangerous for a woman’s sense of self worth. Young women based on their insecurities make so many mistakes. Doing things in the hopes of gaining someone’s love, changing things about themselves in the hopes of winning someone’s approval. I was no different than every other girl out there, battling with issues of body-image and self-acceptance, but I threw myself into a room full of vultures when at my most vulnerable. I was not ‘strong’ enough to endure it. But that is a strength I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Some people pass through this stage of intensive self-criticism and insecurity by rebelling against everything they are told, refusing to adhere to any form of beauty upheld by society, and others survive and try to make do by doing what they are told. I fall more into the doing what I’m told camp, and that combined with an industry that so often cares nothing for the person behind the flesh, was disastrous.

When they said I was too pale, I believed them and used tanning beds that eventually resulted in skin-cancer. When they said my face was not traditional enough, I believed them and let them spend hours covering my features and contouring with make-up even though I hated having so much gunk suffocating my skin. When they told me I had to be even thinner, I starved myself. When they said that my look was just not good enough, I eventually believed that I was never good enough. I wished that I could look different – then I might feel different about myself, and might find fulfillment. I started to see myself through a microscope that was as unrelenting as it was unforgiving.

Eventually I left that all behind me and swore never to go back again, but I left a broken mass of insecurities. The mirror I held up to myself was shattered, and it took years for me to heal from it all.

I think I eventually overcame it because I stopped trying to work with the old broken mirror, threw it out and found a new way to reflect myself both inwardly and outwardly. Now I am so much happier for it. Instead of seeing myself through the eyes of the media, I chose to appreciate and study the beauty around me till I had a new standard to step into. The look in kind eyes. The way skin flushes when in love. The way smile-lines map out an invitation to trust, and how your partner radiates while doing something just to make you feel better.

I still find myself enjoying the photo’s of the pretty people in magazines and on the runways, because beauty comes in many forms. And I admire my breathtaking friends who still work in the industry and who find the strength to pose for a bloodthirsty audience. But I try never to compare myself anymore.

I was laughing with a friend the other day about how I am so much more satisfied in myself and content with how I look, even though I am now a good 15kg’s heavier, and have lumps, cellulite and wrinkles. I enjoy my body more than I ever did when I was waif-like, and even though I still ‘wish’ I could be thinner (who doesn’t), it isn’t something that seeps deep into the core of my self-worth.

‘I’ am more important to me, and I will never do those things to myself again because I know that the end of that road is empty and cold. I will never starve myself again, but rather eat to support my ever-strengthening body. I will never see exercise as a form of punishment again, but will move my body to feel good, get the blood flowing, and enjoy all the world has to offer someone of privilege (in the sense of being able-bodied). This is why I love doing cartwheels so much!

In my case, the un-happy ending wasn’t the end of it. I found my happiness years later, after dealing with so much of the poison that was left in me from my modeling days. I learnt to accept and love myself, flaws and all. And I learnt to look at the world around me through newer, knowing eyes, and appreciate true beauty for what it is.

I love beauty. I love beautiful things and beautiful people. But it was through the industry that I found how beauty means so much more when found in the eye of the beholder. Beauty that is dictated through media and a societal measuring stick no longer seems beautiful when you are standing on the inside of that circus ring. After coming through it all, I have discovered my own view of beauty, and the pocks and marks of ‘imperfection’ become the most enticing things to those of us who were polished and rubbed to within an inch of our outer layer of skin.

When I look at the models now, I don’t just see beauty, but the beautiful people who are fighting to survive a war I narrowly escaped, and I say a silent prayer for having had the strength to walk away.


Twitter: @PamiSimpson

Blog: CherryBlossomBoutique

Image: By her adoring husband, Bruce Simpson